The rush of May music albums have all been released and the summer music festivals are in full swing. What could be better than an early summer escape from the daily grind for a few days of sunshine and live music? Absolutely nothing in my opinion, which is why my BFF and I decided to escape New York's crazy pace this June and head down to Manchester, Tennessee for the Bonnaroo music festival. Road trip!
Before we left, I was warned to leave my designer duds at home. My friend cautioned me, "Don't bring anything that can't get ruined.” "What?!" I thought to myself. "That rules out everything in my closet!" The idea of "functional" clothing is not a concept my brain wraps itself around easily. In fact, it usually makes me a little queasy. But the thought of standing in a muddy field with ruined McQueen boots while Santigold wailed away on stage was enough to snap me out of my resistance. I decided to keep my "couture" at home and, instead, bring functional garments that would hold up to anything the week had in store—a mix of utilitarian garments with some fun novelty pieces thrown in for good measure—and I was ready to go
"So, what exactly do I pack?" you ask. First and foremost, let's talk essentials: rain boots and a poncho are first on this list. Granted, these two items may never see the exterior of your suitcase, but believe me, you'll be happy you brought them should the rain clouds roll in. An umbrella isn't a bad idea either. It will provide protection from the sun and/or rain and can also act as a great marker in the middle of a large crowd. Just be sure to bring one that makes a statement but isn't so large that you have a riot of angry concert goers around you. (A group at the Beach Boys' set had a bunch of children's umbrella's in the shape of ladybugs, teddy bears and other brightly colored animals. They danced in unison except when one would break away to make the inevitable trip to the bar or bathroom.) Lastly, a picnic blanket with a carrier comes in handy when you're waiting for your favorite bands to take the stage. Plus it acts as a property marker as fellow festival goers try to inch their way closer to the stage.
As for clothing, durable and, more importantly, washable items are best. Unless, of course, you plan on chucking or burning everything at the end of the festival. Cargo shorts will hold the necessities and keep you from having to carry a heavy backpack.
French Connection Shirting Cargo shorts
Bright colors are always good in a crowd and always a good choice with a summer tan. Music festivals are the perfect setting for the neon trend that's been so hot this summer.
Orlebar Brown Bobby V-neck T-shirt
American Apparel Le New Big Pocket Tank
There were numerous sport sandals and hiking boots around Bonnaroo, but neither option seemed right to me. The Teva's inevitably left a foot caked in mud and dirt by the end of the day and the boot could not have been comfortable in the blazing summer sun. Instead, I opted for a pair of low-top converse sneakers. They come in about a million different colors and they look even better beaten up. If they do get trashed beyond repair for some reason, they're so affordable you won't mind letting them go.
Gorillaz for Chuck Taylor Limited Edition
Sunglasses. 'nuff said...
VonZipper Limited Edition Frosteez Collection Elmore
And don't forget, functional doesn't need to be boring. Festival style should be fun. Don't forget to have a sense of humor when you dress. After all, one of the best things about music festivals (aside from the music!) is the people watching. The crazy pageantry that walked around Bonnaroo could have kept me occupied for hours. Walking Gumbies, men in Borat speedo thongs and the kaleidoscope of tie-dye that passed by all helped to make for a highly memorable trip.
Over the course of the fest I had been on the hunt for "Bonnaroo's Best Dressed" and after running into my friend, DJ Vito Fun, on the third day of the festival I knew my search was over. He was outfitted in a printed graphic hoodie and a pair of pink Japanese drop crotch pants with giant blue lips all over them. Vito clearly epitomizes the cool, lighthearted attitude toward dressing that makes music festivals so much...Fun! He also kept the Bonnaroo party going until the early hours of the morning with the official Skrillix after party.
If you missed Vito Fun at Bonnaroo, not to worry. You can catch him later this summer at Burning Man and check him out in the meantime at djvitofun.com.
For a complete listing of all the summer music festivals and for everything festival related, be sure to check out: http://www.musicfestivaljunkies.com/