Monday, August 1, 2011

Survival Style - Summer Music Fests

[ Not all fests are created equal. Outdoor music-style two ways: Hillside (lft) and Osheaga (rt) ]

My wardrobe is pathetic based on my current lifestyle. I have plenty of pretty, work-appropriate duds, sure. But they don't come in too handy when it's 30+ degrees outside, and my coworkers (men, predominantly) are most fond of unwashed shorts and flip-flops. It's the uniform.

I've also come to realize that the majority of my closet is more fitting of a girl who picnics in parks and flits about farmers markets and lunches with ladies and shops-shops-shops and spends weekends in resort towns. That sounds like a lovely, lovely life. Siiiigh. But in reality, I am usually biking through urban centers, walking dogs, taking road trips, sleeping on the ground and parking myself in front of a sewing machine or a laptop in the backyard. And it's not one of those English Garden-type backyards either.

I also lack appropriate outfits for summer music-fest hopping. I've just survived number three of three fests on my schedule this summer (currently writing this thanks to wifi on the train en route back to TO). It was only after Bluesfest (stop #1) in Ottawa last month that I realized I should rethink my gear. Esthetically, I loved the outfit - high-waist ode-to-70s wide-leg denim, boat-neck navy and white striped tee, jute and leather wedge sandals, red leather tote - but it was logistically not smart.

  [ with mum @ Bluesfest ]
Let's dissect:
  • Ditto's Denim - too heavy, too hot
  • Jute wedges - although the most comfortable of all elevated shoes I own, still not ideal for being on your feet all day
  • H&M Striped tee - light and not too hot, but too much fabric under the arms
  • Leather tote (Winners) - I will never again wear anything but a hands-free crossbody bag to a festival
  • Half-up hair - even minimal dancing (OK and standing still) produced sweat, and hair loves to stick to sweat
So I got smart. S-M-R-T. Our next stop was Hillside: a fest I'd never attended despite the pushing of my 9-year veteran volunteer friend. I will be going back every year! Much fun! It's a waste-free fest with a peace-love-and-music vibe. No jock rock. No duuuuudes. Very chill.

My experience was made even better by careful outfit selection. I went with minimal, flowy, airy:
  • Everly maxi jersey tank dress in an appropriately psychadelic print (via Skirt)
  • My trusty Birks
  • Jessica Simpson crossbody fringe purse
  • Vintage belt (via Common Sort)
  • Handmade leaf earrings (via Etsy)
  • Up-do!

Aaaaannnd number three: This weekend I parked myself on friends' couches to check out Day 1 of Osheaga in Montreal. Learning even more from fest #2, I went with a bit more sun cover - an Everly kimono-sleeve top that I could easily pop on and off. I paired it with a cotton Wilfred bustier tank and a bias jersey American Apparel dress (in my fave peach-y summer shade) which I wore as a skirt. I only regretted my shoe choice: sandals (flat or otherwise) are not Osheaga-friendly. The fest is pretty trash-strewn and the mainstage groundcover is gravel. I longed for my chucks or a pair of Toms.

[ fest-date Philam outfitted wisely too: oversized cotton tee and high-waist cuffed shorts looked adorbs and were super comfy for chilling on the grassy knoll ]

Despite my shoe-fail, I certainly had a leg up on the chicks in stilettos and Eminem tees. No, really: stilettos. At an outdoor music fest. OK, this was Montreal after all.  And Eminem.

We contemplated  hitting some of Day 2 and 3 of Osheaga this weekend, but opted for low-key bumming around the city and lounging poolside instead. 

Yes, some of my very favourite artists were in the Day 2/3 lineup: Death Cab, Sia, Mother Mother... but I'd had my fill. But next year (next year!) I'll be really equipped. I'm a pro now, obvs. 

And, since I'm just so nice like that, I'll share some other learned-the-hard-way tips:
  • Get cash in advance - the ATM lines are longer than the toilet and beer lines put together
  • Bring kleenex and hand sanitizer - the porta-facilities tend to run out of TP and water by the third act
  • Wear a hat - scalp burn is the WORST
  • Check the fest website prior to attending. Some are prison-like, where food, water, cameras and other perfectly innocent items are forbidden and confiscated
  • Don't pick fights with your musician husband - he's "working" and your bandwife primadonna routine is wearing thin (OK, that's just for me ;)

More easy music-fest style:

 sam & lavi $155

toms $45

 anthropologie $375

urban outfitters pipette dress $139

top shop sandals $47

tylie malibu bag $185

 anthropologie summer ballad dress $198

 toms $55

[ images via:, anthropologie, toms, urban outfitters, American Apparel, Aritzia, Top Shop, Dorothy perkins, Ray Ban, shopnastygal, my iPhone, Dad ]

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