It’s hard to believe that once upon a time, the term ‘festival-style’ for guys didn’t really exist. Now here we are, it’s 2016, and festival fashion is headline news with bloggers and celebrities flocking to music festivals across the country. It has even gotten to the point where stores have special pop-ups shops for festival goers to stock up on suggested pieces for specific festivals. Regardless of how commercial festivals have become, it’s an opportunity to experiment with your look and have some fun!
Aside from avoiding the cheesy gimmick t-shirts and shutter shades, if you’re a regular festival goer you’ll know there isn’t much in the way of style rules. Personally, I think it’s a great time to venture into printed floral or graphic short-sleeve shirts. It’s an excellent way to express your fashion-forwardness in a subtle, yet sophisticated way. Or if you’re someone who is afraid to be adventurous with your wardrobe, there is no better time to take a chance. For my festival look, I paired a pink floral print shirt from Burberry with some jade green shorts from Topman. For a few finishing details, I added some beaded bracelets, mirrored sunglasses, and gladiator sandals.
To help you spend more time catching up on your favorite bands before the festival and less time worrying about what to wear, I’ve curated a few of my favorite shirts and what to expect from 5 of the most popular festivals in Chicago this summer. So get your look, find your music scene, and let’s rock the Windy City.
When: June 10-12
Where: Addams/Medill Park
Headliners: Expanding to two main stages—one for DJs and another for live electronic acts—headliners for Spring Awakening include Above and Beyond, Deadmau5, Zeds Dead, Kaskade, The Chainsmokers, Steve Aoki and Carnage. Other notable performers include Dillon Francis, Jamie XX, RL Grime, Flying Lotus, Nicky Romero, Crystal Castles and more.
Vibe: Chicago’s largest outdoor all electronic dance music festival, featuring top producers and DJs from all over the world. Cue the lasers, neon shirts, and fist pumping…it’s time for the bass to drop.
When: July 15-17
Where: Union Park
Headliners: Beach House, Carly Rae Jepson, Brian Wilson, Savages, Sufjan Stevens, Miguel, Shamir, the Sun Ra Arkestra and Super Furry Animals are among some of the festival’s headliners.
Vibe: Known internationally as an indie-rock centric festival, Pitchfork spans three days and attracts more than 50,000 concert goers annually. The festival draws performers from various backgrounds, including alternative rock, rap and hip-hop, electronica, avant-garde rock and hardcore punk. Expect bearded dudes in overalls and girls wearing flower crowns.
When: July 28-31
Where: Grant Park
Headliners: Lollapalooza turned 25 this year, so they had to go big. Some of the headliners this year include Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, LCD Soundsystem and J. Cole.
Vibe: Palm Springs has Coachella. Chicago has Lollapalooza. It’s one the country’s largest and most popular music festivals and that equates to A LOT of people. With 170 artists and bands spanning 8 stages, there’s bound to be something for everyone. If you’re looking for something more authentic, this probably isn’t the festival for you. Expect a lot of corporations trying to stay relevant with their millennial audiences here, which may not be a bad thing.
When: September 2-4
Where: Union Park
Headliners: This year, EDM acts such as Bassnectar, Odesza and Zedd are scheduled close out each night.
Vibe: The second to last music festival takes place over labor day weekend. Since it attracts a diverse pool of performers ranging from hip-hop, folk, EDM, and indie rock, you can expect to see the most eclectic crowd of any Chicago music festival.
When: September 16-18
Where: Douglas Park
Vibe: Riot Fest has had a huge success in Chicago. So huge that it’s now the second largest music festival in Chicago after Lollapalooza. For the most part, the bands that play at Riot Fest fall somewhere on the punk spectrum with punk rock, new wave and hardcore punk being the most heavily represented genres with a little bit of hip-hop thrown in.
Photography: Marc Parroquin