Music Festivals Are Back — And We Already Know What We’re Wearing To Each One
Like it or not,
music festivals are back. While the pandemic forced many live music events to hit pause in 2020 and the following year saw a timid trickle of performances cropping up at unpredictable times, 2022 marks the decisive return of festival season — and with it, the resurgence of the deliciously polarizing topic of festival fashion. (If, for you, the notion conjures up dated vignettes of half-baked hippie attire; worry not — we’re here to give you much more nuanced style insight on how to dress for whatever weekend-long performance you’ll be attending in the coming months.)
To get you inspired for a summer and fall season jam-packed with melodious long weekends, we’ve put together a short list of some of the festivals that are topping the “trending” list between now and September — and, of course, we’ve already picked out an outfit for every one. From a high-low look to rock at
Coachella to a Scandi-cool frock fit for a European import like Primavera Sound, there’s a ’fit ahead for every performance on your dance card.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. All product details reflect the price and availability at the time of publication. If you buy or click on something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.
We’ll start out with the festival that’s most synonymous with … well, with festivals. For some, the
Indio, CA-based live music marathon is synonymous with the modern-day sonic performance — and more specifically, the flower-crown-touched and distressed-denim-blessed outfit that we have come to associate with “festival” style. While there’s so much more to Coachella than vintage t-shirts and macramé vests, you will fit right if you channel a high-low mix of dusty, desert-ready vintage and evening razzle-dazzle.
When it comes to dressing for Coachella, you can’t really go wrong with a faded band tee that appears to be plucked from the racks of a Palm Springs vintage shop — and this 4.5-star iteration has 51 reviewers very happy with its easy fit. In the words of one Urban Outfitters customer, this top is “oversized, but not excessively.” It comes in sizes S/M (28.5” long) or M/L.
Shop Nasty Gal Urban Outfitters OutKast Ms. Jackson T-Shirt Dress, $, available at Urban Outfitters
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Sexy meets sporty in this fiery, ’90s-inspired festival ’fit — perfect for roaming the grounds and shuttling between shows at Coachella.
H&M Twill Utility Pants, $, available at H&M H&M Cut-out Crop Top, $, available at H&M
Now that you’ve got the casual component of your outfit locked in, it’s time to add some sparkle. A fringed mini like this one from Nasty Gal will help you dance the night away. (We suggest adding leggings to this look, because the desert gets cold after the sun goes down.) The fitted skirt boasts an easy pull-on construction and high waistline, and is dripping with multi-colored beads that will glitter in the floodlights come nigthfall.
Shop Urban Outfitters Nasty Gal Ombre Diamante Fringe Bodycon Mini Skirt, $, available at Nasty Gal
Primavera Sound Los Angeles
renowned European festival is finally arriving stateside after a two-year delay, bringing with it an eclectic mix of fan-favorite acts like Lorde, Mitski, and Nine Inch Nails. We recommend paying homage to the festival’s hometown of Barcelona with a burst of color paired with a silhouette that’s made to move in.
Wray’s aptly-named “acid” floral print will fit right in at the sonic free-for-all. The airy cotton construction will keep you cool in the late-summer Los Angeles heat, and the frock even has side-seam pockets for keeping essentials close at hand.
Shop Wray Wray Rosemary Dress Acid Floral, $, available at Wray
Complement your breezy dress with a bold flat shoe that marries a practical low profile with a stylish silhouette. This affordable D’Orsay flat features a faux-suede upper that you won’t mind getting a little scuffed up, along with a cushioned insole to keep your feet happy while logging steps at the Los Angeles State Historic Park.
Shop DSW Journee Telulah Mule, $, available at DSW
Inspired by the title of a Dr. John album (and a Creole slang term for “good stuff”), the New Orleans-bred, Nashville-area-based campout festival that devotees call the “Roo” offers the opportunity to inhabit nature alongside bands like Tool, Machine Gun Kelly, Roddy Rich, and Stevie Nicks. Channel good vibes with a denim-on-denim look that can double up as pajamas when you snuggle up in your tent after the last act.
A denim overshirt is a crucial layer for festival-going — it will protect your skin from the sun during the day and insulate you at night while you’re slumbering off the last show in your sleeping bag. We plucked this heavyweight option from the men’s section at COS — it’s made from a blend of recycled and organic cotton, for a combination that will fit right in at the sustainably-minded festival.
Shop COS COS Bleached Denim Shirt, $, available at COS
In the past 18 years, Bonnaroo has evolved from its jam-band origins, integrating acts from all over the sonic spectrum. This dip-dyed shorts are a nod to the fest’s hippie roots, but feel like a thoroughly updated take on traditional tie-dye. The stretch-free cotton fabrication and angular tailoring make these a fuss-free option for all-day revelry.
Shop Mango Mango Tie dye shorts, $, available at Mango
This year, the quintessential New York City festival will bring acts like J. Cole, Halsey, and Kid Cudi to Citi Field in Queens. Unlike its far-flung, nature-bound festival brethren, this event has its roots firmly planted in the Big Apple, so we recommend channeling your usual cool-girl summer style when you dress for the ’fest.
A printed scarf is a multi-purpose accessory that will save your outfit (and your skin) at any festival. Tie it to your bag, protect your hair, or soak it in water for a much-needed cooldown midday.
Shop & Other Stories & Other Stories Printed Square Scarf, $, available at & Other Stories
An airy puff-sleeve top is a chic choice for festival dressing; offering a breathable, durable fabrication that can withstand a little sweat. This cropped top is rendered in an ultra-lightweight cotton-tencel blend and boasts a summery check print that’s an elevated take on the picnic-blanket look.
Shop Nordstrom English Factory Gingham Puff Sleeve Top, $, available at Nordstrom
New Yorkers know the power of a roomy carry-all tote, and a straw option is a great bet for summer dressing. This boxy style offers different carrying options, including short top handles and a longer carrying strap for hands-free dancing.
Shop & Other Stories & Other Stories Large Woven Straw Tote, $, available at & Other Stories
This beach-bound music event is a relative newbie — but it’s earning a spot on our list for integrating two of our favorite summer activities: live music and surfing. The oceanside event takes place in Asbury Park, NJ (Bruce Springsteen’s hometown) and will host acts like Stevie Nicks and Greenday alongside a surf contest led by veteran surfers Cory Lopez and Sam Hammer.
Come summer, there’s nothing better than a swimsuit stylish enough to wear on or off the beach. This tie-front maillot is adorned with a swirling, vaguely-mod marble print. The 4.5-star style has garnered accolades from 29 customers, who praise its “extremely flattering” cheeky rear coverage and supportive double-lined fabrication. (Note: larger-breasted wearers wish the suit offered a little more support.
Shop Eloquii Eloquii One Shoulder Tie Front Swimsuit, $, available at Eloquii
If wearing a bathing suit to see live music is firmly beyond your comfort zone, worry not — Eloquii’s eye-catching print is also available in a pair of breezy, wide-leg cover-up pants that will stand up to an all-night party.
Shop Eloquii Eloquii Printed Wide Leg Pant, $, available at Eloquii
When We Were Young
Another extraordinarily buzzed-about, nostalgia-driven festival, When We Were Young features a densely packed lineup of emo and pop-punk bands that many of us cried to after heart-wrenching breakups in high school. We expect the crowd to be a harmonious mix of old-school fans and a current-generation’s crop of emo enthusiasts (North and Penelope, we’re looking at you.)
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