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Article: Music Festival Fashion Trends Over the Years

Music Festival Fashion Trends Over the Years

Music festivals have been a popular form of entertainment for decades. From the legendary Montreal Jazz Festival to newer, more alternative festivals such as Osheaga and Shambhala, there is a festival for everyone. Along with the evolution of music genres, festival fashion has also gone through significant changes. Let’s take a look back at the history of music festivals in Canada and how festival fashion trends have evolved over time.

From the hippie fashion of the 1960s to the current trends of wearing cargo pants, fanny packs, neon colours, and vibrant patterns, festival fashion has always been a reflection of the cultural changes and musical genres. In recent years, fanny packs have made a comeback, becoming a staple of festival fashion. They offer practicality, allowing festival-goers to carry their essentials while still looking stylish.

Cargo pants are also making a comeback, offering a utilitarian yet trendy option for festival-goers. The various pockets on cargo pants provide a convenient place to keep phones, wallets, and other essentials, freeing up hands for dancing and other activities.

When it comes to patterns and colours, neon and vibrant prints continue to dominate the festival fashion scene. From rainbow tie-dye to bold animal prints, festival-goers are not afraid to make a statement with their fashion choices. The 90s-inspired chunky sneakers and oversized accessories are also popular, adding a touch of nostalgia to festival fashion.

The 1960s and 1970s were a time of great change in the world, and music festivals were at the forefront of this cultural revolution. The first major music festival in Canada was the Mariposa Folk Festival, which took place in 1961 in Orillia, Ontario. It quickly became a staple of the Canadian music scene, attracting musicians such as Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot, and Neil Young.

During the 1960s and 1970s, festival fashion was all about rebellion and self-expression. Hippie fashion was in full swing, and festival-goers dressed in flowing dresses, bell-bottom jeans, and tie-dye shirts. It was all about embracing individuality and expressing oneself through fashion.

The 1980s saw a shift in music festival culture. The rise of punk rock and new wave music led to a new fashion trend that was all about being edgy and rebellious. Leather jackets, ripped jeans, and studded belts became the norm at music festivals, with the goal of looking tough and non-conformist.

In the 1990s, music festivals started to become more commercialized, with big-name sponsors and corporate branding becoming commonplace. This led to a shift in festival fashion, with more mainstream styles becoming popular. Baggy cargo pants, oversized t-shirts, and baseball caps were the go-to look for festival-goers during this time.

The early 2000s saw a resurgence of the hippie fashion trend, with bohemian styles becoming popular once again. This was also the era of the rise of electronic dance music (EDM) festivals, such as Veld and Electric Island, which brought with them a new fashion trend. Neon and bright colors, along with tutus and furry boots, were popular at EDM festivals, with the goal of standing out in the crowd and looking as wild and crazy as possible.

Today, festival fashion is a mix of all of these trends, with a focus on comfort and self-expression. Athleisure wear, such as leggings and sports bras, is popular at festivals, as well as crop tops and high-waisted shorts. Accessories such as chokers, bandanas, fanny packs, and statement sunglasses are also popular. Festival-goers are encouraged to express their individuality through their fashion choices, with no particular trend dominating.

Looking ahead in 2023 and 2024, it is clear that festival fashion will continue to evolve. Sustainability and ethical fashion are becoming more important, and festival-goers are increasingly looking for eco-friendly fashion choices. This means that we can expect to see more recycled and repurposed clothing at festivals, as well as more natural and sustainable materials.

Gender-neutral fashion will also likely become more popular, with festival-goers embracing clothing that can be worn by anyone regardless of gender. Gender-neutral clothing is becoming increasingly popular in everyday fashion, and it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple at music festivals as well. This will not only promote inclusivity and diversity but also allow festival-goers to express themselves freely without being constrained by gender norms and expectations.

In terms of specific fashion trends, we can expect to see more metallic and holographic fabrics, as well as oversized statement accessories. Chunky sneakers and platform shoes are also likely to be popular. Comfort will continue to be a priority, but we can also expect to see festival-goers experimenting with more avant-garde styles and pushing the boundaries of traditional festival fashion.

We're living in a time when anything goes. People are combining fashion styles from the past 50 years to create a look that is completely unique. From the rebellious hippie fashion of the 1960s to the neon and bright colors of EDM festivals today, festival fashion has evolved alongside the changing music trends and cultural shifts.

The future of festival fashion is not just about the latest trend or what’s hot right now. With a greater focus on sustainability, ethical fashion, and gender-neutral clothing, festival-goers are becoming more conscious of the impact their fashion choices have on the environment and society as a whole.

We can expect to see festival fashion continue to evolve and reflect the changing values of society. The trend towards eco-friendly and sustainable fashion will likely become more prominent, with festival-goers opting for recycled and repurposed clothing, as well as natural and sustainable materials. Festival-goers may also experiment with more bold and unconventional fashion choices, taking inspiration from runway fashion and subcultures.

Music festivals have come a long way since the Mariposa Folk Festival in 1961, and festival fashion has evolved alongside them. From rebellion and self-expression to mainstream and commercialization, festival fashion trends have always been a reflection of the cultural shifts and music trends of the time. Looking ahead to the future, festival-goers will be free to express themselves through fashion while also being mindful of their impact on the environment and society. Whether it's practicality, nostalgia, or self-expression, festival fashion will always be an integral part of the music festival experience.  
Photo by Wendy Wei

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