Get schooled on the live music scene, from the ’60s to now.
If you’ve been to a music festival in the last decade, then you’ve definitely seen her. That girl that looks like she’s a seasoned pro, trekking through mud like it’s no big deal while still managing to look cute about it (sidenote: we’ve got all the stuff for that). But while flower crowns and wellies are all well and good, it’s the experience itself that makes it. And that can be as high-brow as rubbing shoulders with everyone who’s anyone or as low-brow as roughing it at the campground with a case of beer and your closest friends (showers optional). At the end of the day, music makes the world go ’round. Now let’s brush up on your history before you hit those grounds:
Rolling Stones Fan by Josef Szabo (2015)
The Rolling Stones, Philadelphia, 1978. This undoubtedly epic concert-turned-iconic moment in history is the subject of Josef Szabo’s beautiful 128-page photography book. The former high school teacher was invited to attend by two students in his class and captured all of the denim clad, free loving Stones fans on 35mm film. If you’re at all into music, or iconic festival style for that matter, this book belongs on your coffee table.
Small Town Talk by Barney Hoskyn
This one’s about Woodstock—the town, not the festival. “Small Town Talk” centers around the rock ‘n roll community that takes over this tiny New York town in the ’60s (think Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix), digging deeper into the area itself and the lesser-known characters than the other stuff we think about when we think about Woodstock (like psychedelics).
Just Kids by Patti Smith
If you haven’t read Patti Smith’s masterpiece of a book yet (really?), then you’re in for a trip in the most literal way. In it, she recalls her time spent in New York in the ’60s and ’70s, waxing poetic about her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe, the start of her rock ‘n roll career, and the buzzing artist community at that time. It’s the definitive nostalgic music experience outside of any festival situation.
Festivals are Good by Cheryl Dunn
Photographer Cheryl Dunn focused her lens on the attendees of major festivals from 1994 onward. This 128-page coffee table book features a mix of black and white and color photographs, all raw and completely candid. Feast your eyes on the fans.
Slash by Slash and Anthony Bozza
Ok, now this one’s just for fun. The reclusive Guns N’ Roses guitarist wrote a book, and it’s a deeply personal account of the group’s hardcore, stripper-laden past, with commentary on the rock world and all of its grit. “Slash” has it all, from hitchhiking to gigs to going on drug-fueled benders to finally starting a family. Long story short: it’s a hard rock must-read.
No, Joni Mitchell was never a festival girl or groupie but her songs set the soundtrack for a restless generation. She was California, and she captured its essence in her hit album, Ladies of the Canyon, which is an homage to L.A. in the ’60s. Touching on everything from love to politics, Mitchell’s music is nothing if not timeless.
Pamela Des Barres
The former OG rock ‘n roll groupie and “friend” to icons like Mick Jagger, Jim Morrison, and Jimmy Page had one hell of a youth. Growing up in L.A. in the ’60s definitely didn’t hurt. She was a regular on the Sunset Strip and babysat Frank Zappa’s children for years. Oh, and she wore a flower crown well.
Remember when that 2005 photo of Kate Moss at UK’s Glastonbury Festival became an unofficial ad for Hunter Boots? It’s her “no shits given” disposition, perfectly disheveled appearance, and natural ability to pull off short shorts that drove slash drives the world crazy. Seeing that traveling the world and getting artist passes for every festival are basically in a model’s job description, it’s no wonder Moss became a seasoned festivalgoer (you know, before it was a thing).
Speaking of Brits who are also babes… Sienna Miller’s years-long bohemian uniform of cutoffs, boots, and a low-slung belt in the ’00s set the standard for that West Coast look that you know like the back of your hand.
Vanessa Hudgens, aka the queen of all things boho, knows a thing or two about committing to a look. Her annual presence at Coachella typically involves a crochet top, body jewelry, tiny pajama shorts, and bare feet. She reps California harder than anyone and apologizes to no one—what’s not to love?
Often attributed to the California girl, boho, short for Bohemian, is the modern equivalent of hippie in the ’60s, but with way more crochet. See: Vanessa Hudgens.
A key component of any cliché Coachella look, the flower crown is basically a halo for the boho-like. Whether handmade with fresh or fake daisies, all that really matters is that it looks as ethereal as possible. If all else fails, there always that Snapchat filter.
Those rubber rain boots that Kate Moss and everyone else wears to muddy festivals like Glastonbury. Also the only type of shoe that still looks cool covered in mud while remaining useful for all those port-o-potty moments.
There’s something about festivals that makes girls want to pair up and hold hands. With their bff, significant other, new friend as of 10 minutes ago—it doesn’t really matter. Festivals are generally happy places, and sharing that with someone (ANYONE) is a right of passage.
Oh, and you’re probably gonna need some strong looks. We’ve got you covered.