Arbitrary Criticism

Festival Fashion for Amateurs

Keeping it classy when you're about to spend three days covered in dirt.

By Catherine Martin April 16, 2015

Keeping those glasses on her face is going to be more challenging than she thought.

This past weekend I put aside some of my unnatural disgust for our nation’s capital of Austin and attended Euphoria Fest, a three day EDM concert with camping. Hanging around so many dirty hippies for so many hours was quite the learning experience for me, and I’m eager to share my new-found knowledge with you. I haven’t quite taken to bathing in patchouli, mind you. But I do now understand the value of a good partner acro-yoga session. Let’s go over a few helpful tips before your next music festival.

My first festival recommendation is croakies. For those of you who are unfamiliar, these are the straps that you affix to each end of your glasses, to keep them on your head while playing tennis or yachting or looking like you have more money than style. I was under the impression that these were only for frat guys, and that legally you were only allowed to wear them with short shorts, Sperry’s, and koozies from Panama City Beach. Then I had one too many Red Bull vodkas.

It’s a little unclear what happened next, but I am an SAT tutor, so I look at the situation as a slightly deranged math problem: If Catherine runs at a speed of 3.7 miles per hour for two minutes before her frustrated boyfriend and a stranger named Raj catch her; and the process repeats itself half a dozen times as Catherine’s feeble, intoxicated mind fails to comprehend that a music festival is not gym class and we aren’t running right now, sweetie; and at an unknown time her glasses fall off her face, what is the area of grass that must be searched the next morning for the lost eyewear? Answer: just forget it, you’re never going to find your glasses again. Shoulda worn croakies. 

Maybe we don’t all wear glasses, so let me give a tip that’s a bit more universal. Well, the sad fact about music festivals is that they are dirty, filthy places. It’s not just the hippies; it’s the accumulation of more than a dozen people in one place. Thousands of people cohabitating in the dirt, and only so many Porta-Potties to go around. By the end of the night, feces and used tampons bathe in a pool of stale, beer-scented urine. That much raw humanity and you can be sure that, at the very least, the hand-washing station is out of soap. Combine this with messy food truck food and multiple hours spent on all fours, horking up vodka Red Bull, and you can expect a bit of dirt to cake underneath your fingernails.

Ladies, this is literally why fingernail polish was invented. To cover up any improper hygiene. Gentlemen, music festivals were invented so you can do effeminate things in a safe, judgment-free zone. If my new  friend, pink-dress-guy, can wear a hot-pink, tie-dyed, straight-waisted wrap dress, you can certainly paint your fingernails in rainbow colors and call it “funky.” (Though just between the two of us, that guy’s hips were a little narrow for the style; next time I’d recommend an A-line.)

Finally let’s discuss the biggest challenge of a music festival – matching your tan lines. This past weekend I was lucky enough to attend a music festival where it rained for three days straight. Not only did the rain keep me from having to shower regularly, it also hid the sun, protecting my vampirically pale skin. I’ve always appealed to a Victorian aesthetic; that is, my skin is so pale that I have a second job at George Bush Intercontinental helping airplanes land at night, my glow-in-the-dark flesh leading airplanes onto the landing strip more efficiently than glow-sticks. My music festival wear – my outdoor wear in general – trends more towards a parka and blue jeans and SPF 1,000 than the painted breasts and underwear other women so confidently pull off.

I did notice a trend of women wearing geometric tops, the straps across their shoulders and back creating x’s and o’s. Would they have been so bold in their clothing structure if they’d known two days in the sun would generate a losing game of tic-tac-toe? We can’t know for sure. For the sake of your own skin, I would recommend at least planning your tan lines in advance. Put on all of your tops at once and inspect the overlap. More advanced students of this art can end up with beautifully shaded portraits of Marilyn Monroe baked into their flesh. Less advanced students can only hope to not appear like a blind person applied their sunscreen.

Obviously there is more to attending a music festival that just these items. Contact me personally and I will be sure to send you a Youtube tutorial of the new dance move I invented. Also, if someone tells you they have lost their friend Molly, don’t direct them to the nearest police officer; they can find her on their own.



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