By Ivan Yaskey
Perhaps you had a chance to chill out to the tropical sounds of Klingande at the recent Tomorrowland, or maybe the pop house of Martin Solveig is more your thing. In any case, there’s more than a month of festival season left – Moonrise and Electric Zoo take us through August and into September – and if you haven’t yet been prepared, now’s your time to get ready.
Music festivals, whether you prefer strictly EDM or opt for the multi-genre medley that’s Coachella, have a few definitive characteristics. You’ll be out in the sun for hours – unless, if course, it rains. There’s always a large crowd. And, whether you’re walking, dancing, or simply relaxing, it’s always over dirt and grass.
In this context, your clubbing clothes need to stay at home. Instead, be sure to bring the following:
Festival Style- ASOS
Your first rule: Keep it light. It doesn’t matter if you opt for a short-sleeve button-up, a tee, or even a bro tank. It’s expected that you’ll be sweating under the sun, even if you’re not dancing and moving around, and few things are worse than a soaked-through shirt once the evening rolls around. Get ready for an uncomfortably damp feeling accompanied by chills.
Secondly, think about dirt. Or, more specifically, wearing something you won’t mind getting a little bit dirty. Whether you’re staying in a hotel or camping out somewhere, you’ll finish off the night wondering why all your skin, hair, and clothing has a dusty film on it. As such, avoid that silk or linen shirt, no matter how ultra-light it feels. A festival’s the sure spot to ruin anything remotely high-end.
Third, neutral’s the most versatile path – for instance, solid-color tees or a small, neat-print shirt – unless you plan to go in the opposite direction. If that’s your approach, think about those all-over, Hawaiian-style prints, neon hues, or metallic, sequin-covered pieces. For this latter option, ASOS aces the bedazzled festival look.
With pants or shorts, take the same approach as your shirt. As such, chinos or joggers are preferable to denim, and brown, gray, or navy blue over anything white. And, with plenty of patterned choices out there, why not hint at some old-school rave style?
Along with this these factors, avoid anything skinny. Sweat increases the chafe factor, and even with the lightest cotton, anything soft soon starts to feel like sandpaper, and you’ll be thinking about going home. Instead, go for something with a bit more space, and as backup, have a stick of Body Glide on hand.
Around 2012, everyone wanted to have one of those Deadmau5 headpieces, but after a couple of hours, it meant lugging your DIY creation around. Instead, be practical. No, that doesn’t mean opting for a dad cap – unless, of course, that’s your thing – but be ready with some kind of hat – at least a six-panel cap with a bill in front. It’s a reliable and unobtrusive solution that’ll keep the sun out of your eyes and reduce the glare. As a step up, go for a bucket hat, a staple of SS18 collections and a style that screams “’90s rave” without being a pair of bondage pants.
This scenario, too, opens up the opportunity for tech features – think moisture-wicking sweatbands, breathable panels, and UV-resistant materials. The result, even when just enhancing a standard cap, reduces sun exposure and fully keeps your head cool.
Weekend-long festivals rarely provide seating – the live tent at Ultra being one of the exceptions. So, be prepared to be standing on your feet all day, if not walking around between the stages or getting jostled by the massive crowds. Considering this context, comfort is paramount, followed by a design that’s either scuff resistant or that you won’t mind getting a bit dirty.
Boots are out, and sandals pose too much of a risk. Rather, standard sneakers or even a running shoe gets you prepared with enough support and padding. For effortless breathability and a lightweight fit, canvas shoes often do the trick. In any case, go for darker shades that can handle all that dirt – after all, you’re not just ambling along the sidewalk. Your solid-white kicks, unless you have an after-hours excursion planned, should stay home.
Now that your basics are out of the way, what else should you bring along?
Hydration, considering that water costs at least five times what it would at a convenience store, involves taking a strategic approach. Some festivals are known to confiscate reusable bottles at the gate, so check ahead of time to make sure you can actually take that Hydro Flask or Nalgene in with you. If not, a lightweight hydration pack seems to make the cut. In this instance, for a two-for-one idea, opt for a pack with at least a 1L bladder and some storage space. It won’t be a full backpack, but you’ve got enough room to hold onto your basics.
Not bringing a hydration pack? Still have a small bag, anyway, for your ticket, wallet, keys, sunscreen, and a rain shell. Over the past couple of years, fanny packs and crossbody bags seem to be the go-to solution. But, any smaller-size backpack, really, is good enough.
As well, prepare for any rain by having a water-resistant or waterproof shell ready in your bag. Packable and light, they weigh next to nothing, and barely take up any space. But, once the storm arrives – and you still plan to stay at the festival grounds – it proves to be one of the most important items in your pack.