Your guide to festival fashion
By Sophie Isbister, Life & Style Editor
Maybe you went to Coachella (lucky you). Maybe you’re preparing to attend the Squamish Valley Music Festival, Pemberton, Sasquatch, or even Osheaga if you can get yourself to Montreal. Those events all have three things in common: Outkast, Chvrches, and festival fashion clichés.
And that’s just the indie rock festivals. British Columbia is also host to a number of electronic music festivals, most notably Shambhala in Nelson, and Basscoast (also known as Babecoast for the high quantity of babes), which takes place in Merritt. So, festivals abound, and with festival season comes an uptick in sales of fuzzy legwarmers, tutus, fanny packs, faux (or real) fox tails, and animal onesies.
There’s nothing wrong with festival-goers having a specific code of whimsical dress, but for the rest of us, here’s a handy guide to the types of clichés you may find dancing in the mud, drinking a yerba mate, or deliberating between seeing Outkast or Chvrches.
First, the scantily-clad earth hippie. This look can be seen all over, but is most common at Shambhala, or on Commercial Drive loitering outside JJ Bean. The earth hippie doesn’t wear much, but what they do wear is black, brown, or dark green—it may also include some kind of animal tail or antlers. They probably have twigs in their hair, and go by River or Amethyst.
Sticking for a moment to electronic festivals, we also have the candy pixie raver, famous for ‘90s-throwback neon clothes, tutus, and giant fuzzy legwarmers in various rainbow colours. Their male counterparts are what I like to call generic techno male, a designation which highlights exactly how much more time and effort women put into their festival outfits than men. Generic techno male wears cargo shorts, a fanny pack, a SpaceTribe t-shirt, and LSD-face. At night they throw on a Pikachu onesie. Truly a five-minute-look.
In a class of their own are the cybergoth ravers. They rock lots of purple, black, and lime green. They can be found at all festivals, having a predilection for both dark psychedelic trance and Nine Inch Nails. Their defining feature is their hair, usually decked out with massive, synthetic hair dreadlocks, and sometimes containing other materials such as rubber tubing.
On the indie festival side, look out for the Coachella bro. This festival cliché is named after and born out of the epic festival-to-end-all-festivals, in California, land of the bros. The Coachella bro is likely shirtless and enthusiastically slamming a Four Loko or Lean. They rock American Apparel, fedoras, and ironic t-shirts when it gets cold. They’re actually super nice dudes.
Woodstock throwback hippies have been a firm fixture of festival life ever since, well, Woodstock! These kids-from-another-era rock political slogan tees (handily available at your local Topshop and Forever 21), wooden jewelry, ‘60s frock dresses, and oval John Lennon sunglasses. They’re the ones hanging out at the acoustic stage, or handing you a single flower. Bless them, and their close cousin, that one guy with a guitar. He’s great too.
And finally, showing up at practically every festival and club night in the known universe, is the club kid. They can be found wearing Black Milk legging, those bras that can hold two bottles of wine, and crop tops adorned with inverted crosses. They shop at Ardene and are usually the ones at the end of the night twerking on top of a speaker. They are the life of the party, the heart and soul of good times everywhere, and they can probably spare you a key bump of blow.