Music Festivals & Fashion: A Love Story

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It's music festival season, and our fashion maven Gazello Paulo offers his tips for choosing the perfect outfit — no matter where the music takes you. (© Daniel DeSlover/ZUMA Press/Corbis photo)
It’s music festival season, and our fashion maven Gazello Paulo offers his tips for choosing the perfect outfit — no matter where the music takes you. (© Daniel DeSlover/ZUMA Press/Corbis photo)

The very first music festival I attended was actually the first Rock in Rio back in January of 1985 in Rio de Janeiro, where I had the privilege of watching Queen on opening night. I was too young to even understand the importance of what those nine days meant since I was about to be exposed to Nina Hagen, The Go-Go’s, The B-52’s, Yes, AC/DC, Scorpions, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake and other music stars that were also joined by Brazilian artists.

What did I wear? Tennis shoes, a Rock in Rio T-shirt, denim shorts and a nylon backpack. I couldn’t have been dressed more appropriately for the occasion, especially when the rain came down and mud settled in the arena.

It is rather impossible to list the many musical festivals around the world, each catering to a different music crowd with its main mission to provide a hell of a good time. Of course, fashion and style will play a big part since attendees employ the spirit of festivities, moments and locations. So we here at TheBlot Magazine created a fun style list with options to dress for certain festivals both here in the U.S. and around the world because no matter which music festival you will attend, you can can make believe you are having your own Woodstock private moment.

It is always important to keep in mind that comfort should always come first — shorts, hippie skirts, denim, sunglasses, large hats and floral headpieces are already part of that mental vision we came across when we thought about what to wear to a music festival.

CoachellaIndio, Calif.

Held every April, Coachella is the unofficial kickoff of music festival season, and more and more, it’s setting itself apart from other festivals. The look is relaxed but well thought out, and yes it “can be” designer all the way and back. Fringes, crochet, grunge chic, Aztec prints, white lace (or any lace), floral extravaganza, big jewelry … I mean, the possibilities are unlimited, but whatever style path you might go, I advise you not to don a massive Native American headpiece — unless you are looking for press attention. Coachella was held April 10-12 and April 17-19. No word on 2016 dates yet.

Primavera Sound, Barcelona

If there is indeed a stylish crowd at a music festival, you will find them at Primavera Sound, but they’re not so over-the-top that they would miss the joy and the reason they’re at the fest in the first place. Anything seems so permissible here, but no matter what you wear, comfort is the point of reference. May 28-30.

Governor’s BallRandall’s Island, New York

music fest2Fashionably speaking, this is a very charming music festival — or as if some dare to say “our Coachella.” Keeping the now-unpredictable New York weather in mind, be prepared for rain and mud. So keep those colorful galoshes and rain ponchos on standby. I have enjoyed seeing a lot of floral prints, pajamas pants, maxi dresses and super-cool cross-body bags. And, of course, nobody can match a hat and sunglasses like New Yorkers. June 5-7.

Field DayLondon

As the name suggests, this is two-day festival in a very fashion-forward city. So it is a perfect opportunity to bring your own fashion sense to a musical festival. I have seen everything from statement summer jackets to long dresses to interesting layered ensembles to happy prints on pants all worn with carefully picked shades … by very fashionable hipsters! June 6-7. 

BonnarooManchester, Tenn. 

Get that bikini ready and, naturally, your best colorful Woodstock-inspired looks. It is on … June 11-14.

Electric Daisy Carnival, Las Vegas

music festAll the neon colors you can get and more, including tutus, rave pants, colorful wigs, swimwear, light-up gloves, furry boot covers, masquerade masks and you can finish and polish the look with a “el wire bra” … because it will be easier to find you in the dark. June 19-21. 

Summerfest, Milwaukee

What do you wear to the biggest music festival in the world? A short dress and cowboy boots is a classic at any music festival, but Summerfest in full-force summer requires oversized tees and tank tops. Large hats and bags can be also a good combination with embellished sandals for the day. And, of course, a light poncho or a chic shawl for when the temperature falls at night. June 24-28, June 30-July 5. 


One thing is for sure: Be prepared for the rain and, as a consequence of that, be ready for mud. Also, this is an in-town music festival, so the style has a certain urban feel to it. Black is a favorite color in the fashionable crowd with accents of color used as accessories. Tennis shoes with funky socks can be a great statement; I have seen a lot of them there. July 31-Aug. 2.

Gazelle Paulo is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine. Follow him on Twitter and FreakChic.

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