All through junior high, I begged my parents for Lollapalooza tickets. I envisioned standing on the blacktop in the sun, swaying back and forth to the music, signing up to Rock The Vote, securing phone numbers of long haired boys and connecting with thousands of like-minded concert goers; concert goers who read riotgrrrl zines and wore green Doc Martens, i.e. who represented what I wanted to be and were the antithesis of my fellow classmates.
I had seen aging rockers past their prime at the local fairgrounds and had attended operas with my parents but I wanted the real deal – bands I loved, playing loudly.
Needless to say, my parents were not in support of their 13 year old daughter traipsing off to Chicago for a rock festival, nor did they understand my tearful argument that Kathleen Hanna and I were meant to be friends and therefore my attendance at Lollapalooza was required.
Whereas I saw a sea of music fans, a symphony of rock and a life affirming experience of togetherness, my parents saw costly tickets, pick-pocketing, a two hour drive, riser collapse and heat stroke.
Luckily, a divine angel in the form of my former nanny, a beyond hip graduate student at the University where my father taught, swooped in to save me. Seeing the borderline hysterical state I was entering and the exasperation it was causing my parents, she offered a solution.
Syd Straw was performing an early afternoon show as part of a day long culture festival at the local college and she had tickets; I could attend the show with her (on the grounds I chilled out about Lollapalooza) and be home by nightfall. I could still attend a festival and see an actual stage show, albeit one without the commitment.
My parents said yes just to get me out of the house.
Leading up to the big day, I fretted about my outfit and being properly attired for what, in my mind, was to be the most important experience in my lifetime. Flannel? Short baby doll t-shirt with my strappy dress from Merry Go Round layered over it? Bell bottomed jeans with a baggy t-shirt and Docs?
I finally settled on a pair of birkenstocks (according to my cousin Karlin, who had read RayGun Magazine’s style issue, flats were best for concerts because of comfort) and a long sleeve t-shirt over cut-offs that had paint splatters on them. I think I also wore Ankh earrings and a cord necklace that had an Earth charm with a bell inside (hello mid-90s) but that’s a different post for a different time.
I couldn’t tell you the setlist, or what Syd told the crowd, but I remember tying that shirt around my waist when I got hot from grooving in my seat, kicking my birkenstocks while picnicking in the grass and clapping until my hands burned. Total perfection.
Almost two decades later I am proud to report that to this day, I still attend concerts and am a regular at festivals. In fact, as a publicist with a large music clientele, they are essentially part of my paycheck. And while I can drive my own self to festivals and no longer need permission to attend late night concerts, I am still always on the search for get ups that are attractive but can withhold the sweat, liquor spillage and endless dancing that goes hand in hand with live music.
Entrance wristbands are always a concert and festival do. If only an outfit was included.
Luckily, my search is over for the time being as I stumbled upon this little number from Aritzia
. Literally, this is the perfect concert going shirt.
It is off white so you wont get gross yellow stains at the armpit, even if you are baking in 100 degree sun or sprinting from one stage to another. The price means you wont have to gag if someone spills local handcrafted ale on it in the crowd. The length and asymmetrical cut makes it super adaptable.
Toss it on over a bathing suit for lounging by the pool at Coachella. Pair it with liquid leggings and a pair of day glo heels for Ultra. Rock it with cut offs, boots and a light leather coat at Bonnaroo. Wear it with a body con skirt and shredded tights at Mayhem. Combine it with your best face-paint for The Gathering of the Juggalos (JUST KIDDING YOU WONT BE GOING TO THAT FESTIVAL). Hell, the jersey material is so soft you can even pair it with boy cut shorts for a night-time romp with that cutie in your sleeping bag.
Oh and that drape? Perfect for all that good festival dining. Who ate a cornmeal crusted vegan hot dog, sweet potato fries and a funnel cake, washed it all down with four vodka soda chasers? Well, definitely not you. No ma’am, no bloated tummy here.
I love it so much it has already gone to see the Yeah Yeah Yeahs with me, chilled at an ambient electro late night party and kept me company at SXSW. The sucker didn’t wrinkle and kept its shape in my teeny suitcase and dries quickly, a must for a multiple day festival.
Most of all, it is comfortable as hell, which is important. After all, you aren’t at the concert to suffer. You’re at the concert to live.