South by Southwest is over, Coachella is just around the corner and the lineup for Lollapalooza has been released. Stagecoach will wrap up in April, Sasquatch will dominate May and Bonnaroo will kick off June, and before we know it, the Warped Tour will come crashing into 40 different towns across the country. It is music festival season and before you get your start stomping in your gladiator sandals, it is time to review what to wear for every kind of music festival and what things will not be tolerated no matter where you go; that is, unless it’s the Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC), where people are too busy sweating through their MDMA high so anything goes.
Since it is coming up fast, let’s talk Coachella. The hipster-rific weekend-long music and arts festival in fiery Indio, Calif. is having a major throwback moment with the return of OutKast and the Replacements, and will be adding the new, cool kids with Lorde, Disclosure and Chvrches. This leaves you with several outfit options from old-school hip-hop flair to the new school revival of crop tops and leather details. But be warned: This festival is famous for having celebrities attend in masses, so you do want to dress to impress. Men and women alike should bring several pairs of shorts that will keep them cool and comfortable, shirts that are sleeveless in bright, tropical colors and the biggest pair of sunglasses they can find. It is going to be warm and sunny, so wear whatever is comfortable and deceptively stylish. Your celebrity inspiration is Kate Bosworth, who attends the festival every year in perfectly destroyed jean shorts paired with embroidered linen tops in shades of eggshell and cream.
Stagecoach is a whole different style game. This country music festival that occurs on the same lot where Coachella sets up its stages has an all-star lineup this year, with headliners Eric Church, Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan all likely wearing their finest Levi and Wrangler denim up on stage. That means you get to be casual, comfortable and, most importantly, all American, for your outfit. Anything with an American flag on it will be applauded by this friendly crop of music lovers. Sundresses, jean shorts, loose cotton tops and plaid button downs are all great options. Bring out your western best with cowboy boots and 10 gallon hats, and take this as an opportunity to let your country-loving, America-proud side show.
There is an additional list of things to consider not wearing for these festivals. It is absolutely crucial to consider the reality that these multi-day concerts usually include messy crowds, dust all over, muddy grounds from spilled drinks and probably even some concert-goers who might throw up their food truck favorites after one too many beers. This means you should really bring clothes that are either easy to wash or easy replaceable, because at the end of a long day of having things spilled on you and someone else’s sweat drying on your shirt, you might not want the bring those clothes home. The golden rule with this is to never bring or wear anything valuable to a music festival, as there are too many ways the item could be lost, stolen or destroyed. Buy your concert wardrobe at cheap stores like Target and Forever 21, with interesting finds from thrift shops mixed in for extra flavor.
The dash of spice that people try to add in with accessories ranges from cutesy to excessive at most music festivals. Ravers who are ready to fist pump with the best of them gravitate toward too many sequins and faux fur. Unless you are in Vegas for the EDC, you should try and nix those options and stick with neon accessories or clip on hair extensions in fun colors for a little flair.
These shows are not taking place in the Staples Center nor a intimate club. Lollapalooza takes over Chicago’s Grant Park, Bonnaroo will find you kicking the Tennessee mud and Warped Tour usually plants itself right on some camp ground. Forget about wearing those skinny high heeled sandals to any of these shows, for those little columns will easily sink into the ground at these outdoor venues.
Have a little self-respect and wear more than just a bra as a top, ladies. I know you worked hard for that body and you should absolutely be proud of your physique, but a brassiere was not mean for being outerwear. What if you get a little too into that Skrillex mix and have a serious wardrobe malfunction? When you take a chance and wear a bra as a top, you risk not only embarrassment, but citation for indecent exposure.
Finally, I am so sick of seeing flower headdresses. I blame Lana Del Ray for making them look so good, but we all must remember that wearing a halo of fake plastic flowers is going to be uncomfortable and itchy after a while. Additionally, consider that the last time you saw plastic flowers was in your grandmother’s living room. Why would you wear that on your head? That’s right, you wouldn’t. So either tuck a daisy behind your ear, wear a patterned scarf as a headband or wear the more regal option of a beaded or bauble embellished tiara on your head. Your look will match the temperatures and be totally hot.
Noel Hemphill is a junior ECLS major. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @WklyNHemphill.