When I was asked to blog for P&J about festival style, I was excited! But, I soon became worried after I started writing, because if you don’t know my blogging style, I tend to make fun of everything…even stuff I like. It may not make sense to you, but it’s what I do. So, here is my PC preamble - I’m not trying to be bitchy or to make fun of anything. This is just how I do things, and I’m writing this blog, not you, so there!
So, it’s that time of year again, folks! Time to slather on the SPF 5000 and go to a music festival! “But wait!” you may wonder, “what is the best festival for me? And, better yet, what is my festival style?” Well, fret not music lover, I’m here to answer all of your fashion questions from Coachella to Muddy Roots. I think the best way to go about this is to go in order, from most effort, to least effort, rated by festival feathers, then give you the essentials to pack no matter which one fits you best. Let’s begin!
Coachella - 5 Festival Feathers
Coachella starts us off as the most effort fashion-wise festival of the year. Coachella is a music and arts festival held in California and hosts rock, indie, hip hop and electronic artists. I have never personally been to Coachella, so here is what I gathered after my extensive research: nobody goes to Coachella to listen to music, or at least not anyone who is photographed at Coachella. This festival is known for having a slew of A-list celebrities in attendance, all of whom are dressed as, well, as a celebrity at a music festival. Full face makeup, hair “done” (carefully, so as not to look actually done)…along with heels, dresses, hats, jewelry, the works. I’m not saying you have to dress this way at Coachella, but you’ll be the only one if you don’t. If you are a “normal person” going to Coachella, don’t forget to pack your aztec print, fringe, short shorts and sandals. Many music festivals are kind of “dirty”- this is not one of them. You can opt to be like Kate Moss and sport a pair of $200 Welly boots to appear like you’re ready for a mud pit, but everyone will be the wiser.
SXSW - 4 Festival Feathers
Second on my list of festivals, based on amount of fashion effort required, is the hipster convention of the world, South By Southwest (but you call it “southby” if you don’t want to sound like a total nerd). SXSW has evolved over the years and is now known for being very hip and trendy in the “I’ve been to that” category among festivals. The festival, held in Austin, Texas, even has its own fashion shows, so, it may be a little more difficult to decide what to wear. You have to decide if you’re there for the music, or the fashion, and if you’re still reading this, then duh, you’re going for the fashion. Sorry, sorry, blanket statement. Okay, let’s say you are going for the musical performances. Here’s the SXSW musts: a fedora, terrible sunglasses, something neon, and some Frye boots. Don’t think those mesh well together? Yes, I know, but neither do all of the acts that play at South By. So, you’re good. Just mix and match your days. But always, always, have a tattoo. This shows that you were once upon a time a punk rocker and you’ve grown up to have more dignified tastes and, obviously, everyone will know this from your ink peeking out of your J.Crew skinny jeans.
Warped Tour - 3.5 Festival Feathers
You may be confused why a punk rock tour like Warped is this high up on the list. Well, it’s not so much that it takes a load of effort to get ready for Warped Tour, it’s that you really need to look like you didn’t try at all, and this is sometimes way harder. While reading about festival fashions online, I came across a thread where some poor, unassuming girl was asking other Warped-goers what she should wear because she wanted to look cute but knew she’d be in the heat and possibly in a mosh pit. The responses she got were very heated and angry. How dare this girl expect to look “cute” at a punk rock festival!? Of course, all the people who lashed out at her were probably thinking the same thing, it’s just not OK to say it. So, here is my advice if you’re new to Warped Tour and don’t want to get eaten alive. Wear a tank top, either solid black, or with a super old, or super underground band on it - nothing that could be looked at as trendy or not in the scene (cuz honestly, who the hell knows what those kids listen to now?), some denim shorts, and your hair up! This festival is not a walk in the park and there aren’t many Warped Tours I’ve ever been to that had many shady areas. This festival is almost always held on a black top somewhere between the edge of the sun, and hell, so no cute hairstyle is going to stay for very long (this could really be a general rule for any festival) so opt for a pony tail holder around your wrist. This reminds me, the must have accessory for Warped Tour is going to be some sort of bracelet with words on it, maybe from Hot Topic, and extra cool points if it’s a curse word.
Bonnaroo - 3 Festival Feathers
Ah yes, Bonnaroo. The modern day Woodstock. This festival, which is held in Manchester, Tennessee, has been named the “Best Festival” by Rolling Stone Magazine. I think Bonnaroo is pretty rad myself. Anyone I’ve known who has ever attended, totally and fully went to listen to music, watch artists, and yeah, maybe take some drugs. But really, Bonnaroo has made a name for itself by not buying into the whole “fashion festival” thing. It’s more of a “come as you are” environment, and I really think that’s why so many people love it - its lack of pretentiousness. There are many different styles floating around this fest, but one thread in common is the free spirit, and the knowledge that you’re gonna stink by the time it’s all over, so let loose, bro. The must pack items for ‘Roo would have to be a bikini top, wet wipes, and a flower crown.
Lollapalooza - 2 Festival Feathers
Lollapalooza has two tiny festival feathers, not because it isn’t fashionable, but because, from everything I’ve seen, Lolla is a more loose, more grown-up type fest. No fuss fest, if you will. Somewhere between the style of Coachella and the peace vibe of Bonnaroo is Lollapalooza. Think crop tops, braided hair, boots and *gasp* maybe even a little tinted lip balm! Everyone from Metallica to Ice-T have played Lolla. My personal first glimpse of this fest was when I was in middle school watching the Simpsons. There was an episode called “Homerpalooza” where Homer was a sideshow act in a festival called “Hullabulooza”. It’s always been one of my favorite episodes. There is a scene where all the teenagers are watching The Smashing Pumpkins play, and I still remember their outfits: beanies, plaid shirts, and nose rings. Funny enough, those styles are back now! Who says you can’t get style inspiration from a cartoon?
Muddy Roots - 1 Festival Feather
Last but not least, it’s good ol’ Muddy Roots, held in Cookeville, Tennessee. If you know anything about Muddy Roots Music Festival, you know why it’s at the bottom of this list. Not lacking in cool at all, this fest is completely void of anything “fashion” . I went last year and felt like a complete idiot. I have an excuse, though, I was in the pinup contest, and forgot to pack my camo shorts, Hank III t-shirt and combat boots. Muddy Roots is a new festival, held in a big, beautiful field in Middle Tennessee. These fest-goers have two things on their minds - who’s bringing the beer, and can I share your sleeping bag? That’s it. Don’t worry about being underdressed. Actually, being overdressed is far too easy to do. The general color theme of the fest is mud, so if your closet is lacking that hue, don’t worry, by Sunday you’ll fit right in. Muddy Roots must haves: old boots (it’s better if they’re already muddy), cutoff pants with patches, and a punk rock spirit with a country flair attitude.
Well, that wraps up my guide to summer music festivals. Whichever fest seems to be most like you, remember, these are just basic tips, and not everyone is as cynical as me, so wear what you want! Just do it with style.
[You can find Erin Belle blogging on BUZZNET]