Forget the music, Glastonbury is following in the footsteps of American festival, Coachella, by turning into a three-day mud infested fashion show. By no means the largest catwalk ever – Glastonbury is 8.5 miles in perimeter- the fields are awash with numerous high-profile celebrities, posing in their designer clothes. Snaps are uploaded onto the Mail Online within minutes: ‘Florence wears all white in knee deep mud’ or ‘Kanye wears invisible cloak’ – I can see it already.
While the trendy fashion choices of female festival-goers are becoming increasingly popular – wafty maxidresses and hot pants, all of which can be bought via the on site vintage and retro shops – the male style is less adventurous. Bandanas are becoming more and more ubiquitous, partly to defend from the dust and partly to create a mysterious western cowboy identity. This is all in line with the Coachella ‘style’, where the outfits overshadow the performances. The in-crowd slogan T-shirt at the Governors Ball festival in New York last week – “Go Burn Your Flower Crown” – however, is unlikely to make an appearance here. Females are obsessed with glamorizing themselves in the latest high street fashion, whilst posting their whole experience up on Instagram. Exposing the luxury and beauty of the festival in this way is misconceiving. What the Internet fails to show is people face down in mud at 3 in the morning and passed out ravers on the maddest acid trip since the 90s.
The classic Glastonbury look has partnered the festival throughout its history; cut-off denim shorts, wellies, brightly coloured anorak and a can of cider in hand. However, Glastonbury is also a place where forgotten subcultures congregate in weird areas, you’ll see ravers, of all ages, doused in glitter, feathers and stick on smiley faces in the darkest corners of the night. Whatever the weather, rain or shine, wellies have always been the number one Glastonbury essential. After all, you can’t imagine clambering through the mud in Louis Vuitton’s isn’t the greatest option. Hunter wellies are worn to keep the ‘practical’ but fashionable chic in check.
The only real Glastonbury snobbery is about community spirit. People look you down on if you don’t get into the peace-and-love spirit. Festival boss Emily Eavis explains, “There is a mainstream festival look that gets photographed a lot and has become commodified, but that’s not representative of what you see here. It’s so much more imaginative, a brilliant mix of practicality and fancy dress. There are incredibly dressed people, and you wouldn’t necessarily expect that on a camping trip.” Looking around Glastonbury, it’s hard to tell who’s dressed for a cultured city break in Madrid and who’s off on a party weekend to Magaluf. Despite this, Glastonbury’s fashion sense is an ever-changing cultural dynamic, which continuously exposes the weird and wonderful aspects of the world’s greatest festival.
Words by Bill Edgar