Music festival season is rounding the corner. To some, the outfits might be as big a deal as the music itself. Festival culture emphasizes no judgement and freedom to be unique, so it’s the ideal time to showcase some funky fashion. Depending on your style and the festival’s vibe, there are infinite ways to take the outfit. Here’s a brief breakdown on what to wear to each festival. And don’t forget to take pictures — Instagram is waiting eagerly.
Regarded as the “world’s premier electronic music celebration,” Ultra Music Festival comes to Miami every spring, bringing established and emerging electronic musicians. This year, the lineup included Marshmello, David Guetta, Zedd and many up-and-coming artists.
Given the high-tempo and heavy beats of EDM music, Ultra’s vibe is unequivocally rave. From March 23 to 25, hundreds of UM students pile onto the metro, dressed in vibrant colors and dazzled in rhinestones.
Kate Pickens, a junior nursing major, spent her Saturday with 15 of her closest friends at the festival, having decided to attend last minute.
“The culture of music festivals seems to revolve around people’s outfit choices,” said Pickens, who found herself searching through her friend’s closet the day of for an outfit, given the spontaneity of her attendance. Pickens borrowed her friend’s see-through and eccentrically printed dress and wore a bikini top with a matching skirt underneath.
Also in attendance on Saturday was Chloe Stemerman and her ever-expanding group of EDM connoisseurs. A junior majoring in marketing, Stemerman is also a practicing DJ who estimates she attends three-to-four EDM festivals annually.
When choosing her Ultra outfit, Stemerman searched small businesses such as Euphoric and Lumi Shop for pieces that matched her already-chosen color concepts. Stemerman considers bold makeup and accessories a staple at Ultra; however, she values the music much more than her outfits.
“I love doing extravagant makeup and accessories at festivals,” said Stemerman. “But in the end, that doesn’t matter. What matters is the time you have, and not how fancy your outfit is.”
Many guys throw on a jersey with some patterend shorts and call it a day. Spice up this combination with a pashmina, cool glasses, and even some body paint. A little accessorizing goes a long way.
Rolling Loud returns to its roots in Miami each July, bringing major rap and hip-hop artists with it. While the lineup has yet to be announced, the festival has previously featured artists such as Travis Scott, Kendrick Lamar and A$AP Ferg.
The festival, which has expanded globally since its start in 2015, is taking place from July 21 to 23 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.
In true Miami fashion, the tone for Rolling Loud Miami is vibrant and eccentric, but the vibe is much more casual than Ultra. Think of pop-of-color bodysuits, tank tops and jean shorts accessorized with funky sunglasses and statement jewelry.
If popping colors are not for you, don’t worry. Black-on-black is all the rage right now; try leather miniskirts and black tops or, even better, matching black sets.
Valeria Barbaglio, a sophomore majoring in psychology and media management, attended the festival in 2021 and wore a bright-pink snakeskin bodysuit from FashionNova — an online storefront which she recommends for music festival clothing options.
“Rolling Loud is definitely less rave than Ultra, but people still dress anything but boring — the opposite of minimalistic,” said Barbaglio.
Looking for a song to take you home to those country roads? While it’s not exactly located in the countryside, Tortuga is held every spring on the beaches of Fort Lauderdale and features the biggest names in country music.
This year, the festival is being held from April 14 to 16 and will include headliners Shania Twain, Eric Church and Kenny Chesney. Unlike other South Florida music festivals, Tortuga doesn’t follow typical festival fashion norms. Olivia Sayegh, a sophomore majoring in exercise physiology, noticed the difference in attire while attending Tortuga in 2022.
“I would love to say when picking an outfit I go for comfort, but that is not the case most of the time,” said Sayegh, who recalls wearing a bathing suit with a flannel for a cover-up and a cowboy hat. “I also wore cowboy boots which were not the comfiest to wear on the beach, but they matched the vibe.”
Are you not going to be in Miami this summer? Music festival season goes far beyond the Florida borders. Lollapalooza is held in Chicago every summer — this year from Aug. 3 to 6.
This year, the lineup spans many genres, featuring artists Lana Del Rey, the Red-Hot Chili Peppers, Dom Dolla, A Boogie Wit A Hoodie and over 170 others. Given the name, Lollapalooza outfits oftentimes taken on a whimsical and flashy nature.
Morgan Fry, a freshman majoring in business, attended the festival in 2022 and wore a crop top with shorts since she wanted to wear an outfit that could withstand the summer heat.
“Lollapalooza outfits consist of bra tops, glitter, fanny packs and unique hairstyles,” said Fry. “Festivals are a great time to show off your creativity, and I love planning an outfit that I wouldn’t wear in my day-to-day life. I loved seeing the outfits that everyone put together.”
Fry specifically recommended wearing sunglasses to Lollapalooza, calling them both cute and practical since they block out the bright sun rays that beat down in Chicago during the summer.
“Sunglasses are an excellent way to spruce up your outfit,” said Fry. “I love my heart-shaped and kaleidoscope sunglasses,” she added.
If you attend UM, chances are that you’ll be returning home to the tri-state area this summer. If so, check out tickets for Governor’s Bowl in Flushing Meadows, Queens, N.Y., a three-day festival that rivals Memorial Day weekend in Coney Island for the crown of best way to kick off summer in the city.
From June 9 to 11 at Corona Park, Governor’s Ball will showcase a wide range of popular musicians including Lizzo, Diplo, Lil Uzi Vert and Kendrick Lamar.
Vivian Brunke, a sophomore majoring in exercise physiology who attended the festival in 2022, recommends wearing a fun statement piece — specifically butterfly-shaped or disco-tile tank tops — to spiff up jean shorts or a cargo skirt. Brunke, who went to see acts such as Chelsea Cutler, COIN and Quinn XCII, ending up wearing a halter mini dress with a bright pink and yellow swirl print and the vintage pink round sunglasses she bought from Amazon.
“The vibe is jean shorts and a fun, quirky tank top,” said Brunke. “I noticed that many people lean toward comfort over flashy.”
The climax of the music festival season, Coachella, is the most well-known festival with almost every celebrity and influencer living to post about it incessantly. The festival features a broad range of the biggest names in music, with a lineup featuring Calvin Harris, Blondie, Dominic Fike, TV Girl, Rae Sremmurd and many others.
Coachella is held in the desert, specifically in the Coachella Valley of Indio, Calif. With art installations, dance parties, a plethora of food options and even a Ferris wheel, the festival typically hosts around 250,000 people during its two three-day weekends in April.
In anticipation of the highly awaited festival, FashionTok recommends Coachella attendees go for one of three aesthetics: utility sports vibe, black-on-black or wild-west, since all three styles look great in the desert. Remember, Coachella is the end-all-be-all music festival, meaning trends we see at Coachella will trickle into other mainstream music festivals and wider summer fashion trends.
Think green cargo pants with a nude, white or black crop top for a utility sports vibe. You can accentuate the look with loud silver jewelry and chunky black sunglasses.
Black-on-black entails anything elevated for clothes, as long as it’s all black. This could mean fishnet dresses and matching black sets with anything leather fitting this aesthetic. Remember, black-on-black is not necessarily biker-esque; it is sleeker, elevated and voguish. For this kind of look, clunky black boots are a must; rimless Y2K black sunglasses also go super well with them.
The Wild West aesthetic in the music festival world must be amplified; simply dressing up like a cowboy will not suffice. There must be some flare to it. Cowboy boots and a cowboy hat are a must, preferably bedazzled to any extent. Denim-on-denim is an option, as is anything fringe or knit.
Each festival has its unique venue, crowd, lineup and, most importantly, vibe. It doesn’t matter what you wear to a festival, as long as you have a blast and make memories that will last forever. Regardless, curating an outfit specifically for your Instagram feed is paramount to the experience.
Where to Get Rave Fits
- White Fox
- Freedom Ravewear
- Euphoric Ravewear
- Lumi Shop
- Princess Polly
- Tasteful Girl
- Nasty Gal
- 12th Tribe
- Lipt Label
words_caleigh russo. photo_lizzie kristal. design_marita gavioti.
This article was published in Distraction’s Summer 2023 print issue.