Festival season is upon us! My local festival is T in The Park in Balado, Kinross but this years line-up didn't quite have me excited-(click the link and you'll see why. Coldplay on a Saturday night? Um, no.)
However, for the past few weeks I've been looking at pictures of Coachella and watching the UK festival season officially kick off with Radio 1's Big Weekend on BBC Three, and it has made the little festival section of my heart scream with regret- I just realised one of the main reasons why I love festivals. The clothes.
Last year at T in The Park, it rained for approximately 98% of the 3-day weekend, meaning the mud was literally knee-high and in order to be in time to see an act at the opposite end of the field, you had to leave at least an hour beforehand. Maybe two, because falling over happened quite a lot and not just because of all the beer. So there are several requirements that festival clothes must meet before being packed alongside your tent.
1.- They must withstand all weathers. Especially if you're festivalling in the UK.
Whatever the weatherman predicts for the special weekend will be a lie, therefore your clothes have to suit whatever is thrown at you- rain, wind, mud- maybe even sunshine! The trick is to layer your clothes. Then you can take clothes off if the weather is nice, and put them on again when it gets cold (because it will get cold.) Its always easier to wear something light because nobody likes the guy who tries to take a pullover off packed in the middle of a 20,00 strong crowd. Vests, t-shirts and cardigans are your festival friends, as are anoraks and hoodies with zips. And dresses and shorts. Maxidresses, playsuits, flares and thick wooly knits are not.
2. Sunglasses. Even if its not sunny. Everyone wears them. You're at a festival, you're supposed to.
3. Field-friendly shoes. Okay, I'm going to be blunt here. What really pisses me off this time of year are all the fashion magazines conjuring up magnificent outfits to wear to your chosen festival- (going to Download? wear leather and brothel creepers! T4 On the Beach? a bikini and gladiators!) because none of their footwear MAKES ANY SENSE. Nobody wears sandals to a festival, unless they have a absurd desire for trench foot. Nobody wears heels or wedges to a festival, because there is never ever any even terrain-you will break both your ankles and both your heels and lose your dignity somewhere in between. Obviously the only appropriate shoe for a festival are wellies (preferably plain to go with most outfits, and not from Shoe Zone because they will cut your feet up) or sturdy boots. You are going to be standing in grass, dirt, beer- probably even pee. (if you've been in a festival portaloo, then you know what I'm saying). You need a comfortable and reliable shoe if you don't want to have to sit in your tent all weekend and cry because you've lost a flip-flop to the conditions.
4.Dry shampoo. Necessary. Don't even think about festival showers. You will queue for half a day and miss that one act you desperately wanted to see. Be a true camper and embrace the filth. (But not too much- remember, if you drunkenly roll around in the mud on the Friday night, you WILL still be able to tell by the Sunday night. Trust me.) And besides, communal showers are nobody's friend.
5.Primark, etc. Don't buy expensive clothes to wear over the weekend because they will get ruined. Cheap, disposable fashion items are the safest option- if they do survive, then bonus, if not, then its not £40 wasted. Drinks will be spilled, items of clothing will be lost and by the time you get home after it all, it will be all be a big, crumpled mess at the bottom of your bag anyway.
5.Accessories. Again, don't wear any family heirlooms or Swarovski diamonds. If they don't get lost, they'll get stolen. What you need this year is an Indian head-dress, like Eliza Doolittle. The best thing about festivals is that its socially acceptable to be dressed borderline fancy-dress at all times (or all out, if you're going to Bestival). But if you're not quite brave enough, do headbands, face paints and feathers instead.
The last rule of festivals- have fun. You probably wont get to see all the bands you wanted to, you probably will lose and/or fall out with your friends, you probably will make random new friends you'll never see ever again, you probably will heave at the smell of the toilets and you probably will consume too much junk food and alcohol- for a start. But anyway, if you look good- you'll have a good time.
(The above rules don't apply to festival posers. You know who I mean. The ones who only go so they can say they've been, not because they actually like any of the bands. Who don't actually go and see any of the bands, but lurk around in the nice, fancy camping area with their friends or in the beer tent and use the toilets that cost £1.50 to pee in because they have running water and hair straighteners. Oh and then when they come home, they have four festival albums uploaded to Facebook before Monday tea-time. They wear stupid shoes and playsuits from Zara but thats because they don't have any fun. Festival rant over. See you on the field- from the comfort of my sofa!)