Festival season is finally here, in all its messy, magical, sweaty, glittery glory. Whether you’re a seasoned pro with mud-caked Docs to prove it or a newbie dusting off your dad’s old tent for the first time, 2023 is one for the history books. From the fields of Leeds to All Points East in London’s Victoria Park, you best believe the headliners will go ten times harder than ever. It’s not just us who love this time of year!
Novice or not, packing for a festival can be more than a little daunting; it’s the normal panic-buy-before-the-event kind of stress, times a hundred. So to ease you in, we’ve planned the outfits that we would wear to every kind of festival happening in the UK this summer through to early autumn. From day events to weekend camping, beach to field, city to countryside, this is Refinery29’s no-stress guide to festival fashion. (Note: this is minus all the essentials every festival calls for — watch this space for our practical festival packing guide.)
What to wear to a camping festival
What to wear to Download festival, 8th – 11th June
It’s time to go all-out in your best rockstar glam. The UK’s biggest rock-only music festival is celebrating its 20th birthday this year with some serious big-hitters like Metallica, Bring Me The Horizon and Slipknot. Your usual gig wear won’t cut it in the middle of a field or muddy mosh pit (so no leather jackets or fishnet tights) but you can get the same vibe with black-on-black outfits, mesh separates, plaid shirts, band tees, chunky boots and studded accessories.
What to wear to the Isle Of Wight Festival, 15th – 18th June
Inspired by the Isle of Wight Festival’s countercultural roots, we’re swaying towards a modern hippie look: a peasant skirt refreshed with a graphic tee or a statement-print midi dress layered up with a crochet knit. As one of summer’s earlier festivals, make sure to pack rain gear, warm fleeces and a pair of jeans to stave off that seaside breeze.
What to wear to Camp Bestival, 27th – 30th July
Dorset’s Camp Bestival, held in the grounds of Lulworth Castle, is a family-friendly festival and ties neatly into a seaside holiday. We’re channelling a relaxed, coastal vibe with pieces that work on and off the beach. This pastel set from Damson Madder can be worn separately with a dungaree dress at the arena or together over your bikini by the sea. Team a festival-ready beach dress with wellies or trusty combat boots, make it boardwalk-ready with sandals, and don’t forget a bikini that doubles up as a top with loose shorts.
What to wear to Wilderness Festival, 3rd – 6th August
Hidden away in the Oxfordshire countryside, Wilderness has a reputation as one of the fanciest festivals with its boutique feel, glamping options, foodie-fave stalls, picturesque surroundings and focus on experiences (previous years have included lake swimming, woodland foraging and arts and crafts). So we’ve gone a little dressier with our options here, focusing on the festival’s glam boho vibe with patterned minidresses, flowing skirts and kimonos and bell-sleeve tops.
What to wear to Reading and Leeds Festival, 25th – 27th August
Reading and Leeds is traditionally your rock, indie, alternative and punk-focused festival so with that in mind, we’re going for a grungier look. This one works for sunshine and rain — all you need to do is pack different shoe options (sandals and rain boots). An oversized T-shirt over a midi skirt or cycling shorts is easy to throw on in a tent, plus your tee can double up as PJs when you stagger back to camp, too tired (or tipsy) to change after a long day of dancing.
What to wear to a beach festival
What to wear to Boardmasters, 9th – 13th August
If you’re a fan of Malta’s Lost and Found or Croatia’s Ultra Europe but can’t make it that far, allow Boardmasters to satisfy your beach cravings this year. Taking place in and around Newquay, it’s a chill mix of live music, surfing and skateboarding — the perfect opportunity to break out your summer-best surf and Hawaiian-inspired pieces. Think hibiscus flower prints, crochet accessories, Bermuda shorts and tie-dye.
What to wear to a dance music festival
What to wear to Creamfields North, 24th – 27th August
Cheshire-based Creamfields is the UK’s biggest EDM festival so this is definitely where your rave wear comes into play. We’re talking your funkiest prints, neon brights, metallics, sequins and mesh, finished off with chunky boots or trainers, a classic bum bag and (of course) a rain jacket.
What to wear to a city festival
What to wear to Parklife, 10th – 11th June
The weather forecast is looking good but we’re still preparing for showers at Manchester’s Parklife festival. Short dresses or skirts are best (bare legs dry quicker) and chunky rain boots and a quality raincoat will keep you warm and protect you from the wind as well as the inevitable downpour.
What to wear to TRNSMT, 7th – 9th July
Keeping one eye firmly on the Scottish weather, we’ve picked a rain- and mud-friendly outfit for Glasgow’s TRNSMT festival. Chunky rain or hiking boots will keep your feet dry and protected from the elements, while a cosy fleece is a must for chilly nights. Just add your favourite rain jacket and a hands-free bag.
What to wear to Wireless Festival, 7th – 9th July
London-based Wireless is well loved for its unfailingly brilliant R&B and hip-hop lineups. This is another festival to really amp up your outfit, whether you go for bold colours, fun prints or a cool co-ord like this amazing crochet set.
What to wear to All Points East, 18th – 28th August
All Points East is once again taking over London’s Victoria Park, this time for six days of music packed with big-name headliners like Stormzy, Haim and The Strokes. Channelling the east London edge, we would opt for clashing patterns and prints pulled together with white accessories — something you can risk at a day festival in the city.
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