It struck me whilst watching a documentary about Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock in 1969, that the styles worn by those first festival-goers were very similar to those worn at many festivals throughout the world today. If I was around in America back in ‘69, I would have done everything in my power to be at Woodstock; 3 days of Peace and Music sounds idyllic. The clothes and music went hand in hand with the freedom to express in any way shape or form without judgment, even embracing nudity. 2015’s summer trends were very much based on the 70’s bohemian influences with the classic round sunglasses, whilst introducing a culture clash that grasped traditions from around the world, spun with a mix of fashion innovation. We saw a sense of freedom to express individuality in hair, clothing and makeup, whilst still following trends that were evidenced in the high street.
This set me thinking about festival fashion trends over the last five decades, since those first beginnings on the farm in Glastonbury in 1970 right through to the multi million extravaganzas that have become so popular in recent years. Looking back, each reflects the culture of their time through links with fashion, music and politics. The 60’s taught us the hippie way of freedom, they expressed themselves through creative clothing, fringing, flowers and long hair, a major part of their culture and an essence that has been revived, Janis and Jimi icons of their era. From sophisticated cat eye sunglasses to care free vintage frames, no longer restrained they rebelled against the war to create their own army of peace and love, something we could learn from today. Fashion and music continue to coincide as they have previously, in particular the 80's with genre's and styles such as punk, rock and pop, adorning retro sunglasses with angular frames and dark lenses, a huge contrast to the 70’s oversized pale tints, the 80’s showed no mercy.
More recently I have taken particular notice of trends at festivals I have attended. Fancy dress will never grow old to some, sitting in a field and observing a herd of animals trundling along, fully equipped with beer and cigarettes, is all part of the experience. Neon face paint in avatar or native styles with glowing wayfarers are a popular choice for the ravers, but for those looking for a more sophisticated look opt for glitter and intricate crystals below the eyes paired with some chic vintage glasses to combine native boho dress with a twist on cultural beauty. Sunglasses for men are a key style piece, but don’t shy away from the sparkles there’s no reason men shouldn’t also embrace the glitter, glittery beards have become an increasingly popular hipster trend at festivals. This summer expect to see more lace, more sparkle, daring sheer fabrics, high octane colours, dusted florals, washed loose fit denim, palm patterns, and hothouse Latin ruffles.
Festival fashion has become a culmination of styles from the 60's onward, with each generation of festival-goers continuing to express themselves freely, using style as an outlet to do so, we learn from those who have walked before us and relive the past in our own unique way. Bring on Summer’16.
Every year a new festival is born, spoiling us for choice and creating clashes left right and centre. Festivals are all about living in the moment. As soon as that wonderful summer season comes around, we catapult ourselves into a whole different lifestyle, forgetting our worries and leaving work behind. Non-discriminative, there's a festival out there for everyone and anyone. Glastonbury is known for it’s artistic essence (alongside it's incredible line up of course), Download is for the rockers, Rewind for the retro lovers, Creamfields for the ravers, Reading and Leeds for rock, alt, indie, punk, and metal and Secret Garden Party for those seeking an alternative music and arts party experience, to name but a few. These are just a small handful of well known UK based festivals, there are also plenty to choose from around the world if the English climate is too temperamental for you, such as Hideout, Global Gathering, Soundwave, Coachella, Benicassim, Sziget and many more.
As I reminisce over my first festival many years ago, a small family event based in Bignor, I can remember the different assortments of people, all like-minded in search of a creative outlet and musical escape for a few days. The mud and rain still haunts me, but the atmosphere and energy still buzz in my mind with the memories of bright lights, chanting crowds and happy faces. A steamy mist floated above the crowd, infused with wisps of smoke, weaving through a rainbow maze of raincoats. Water droplets sparkled like diamonds in the dazzling beams from the main stage, as the music echoed through the crowd. The rain endured the weekend better than most, with the fashion statement of choice being wellies, shorts and ponchos, a now classic British festival look. But of course there’s always that one guy that wears his shades and a smile no matter the weather, it could be the beer or maybe he just knows how to party.
Get hip and join us this year once again as we dive into thick of it for the first weekend in July at Winchester for Blissfields, where you can expect to see a diverse range of musicians from Dizzee Rascal to Everything Everything.
We look forward to seeing you there.
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