Home Music Music Lists

45 Years of Music Festival Fashion: From Woodstock to Electric Daisy

Dissecting the looks that have defined iconic events in music history

festival fashion robin hallock karen o yeah yeah yeah

Bill Eppridge//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images; Karl Walter/Getty Images)

In the 45 years since the first Woodstock Music & Art Fair, festival fashion has become a cottage industry. From the beginning, attendees' style choices indicated they were part of a subculture, a subset of society hell-bent on bucking the system (and in the case of Woodstock, going buck-naked). Through the years, large-scale music festivals have gradually become par for the course, from Live Aid and Lollapalooza to more current incarnations Coachella and Electric Daisy Carnival, which inspire both fashion magazines and retail outlets to devote significant space to "festival fashion" spreads. And while each fest has had its stylistic hallmark, the original outdoor musical fete has set the tone — everyone's still just trying to recapture the sartorial freedom and irreverence of those original flower children. Here's a look at the flowing dresses, the piled-on necklaces and the literal flames that have comprised music festival style through the years. By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Coachella Kanye West

Tim Mosenfelder/WireImage

Coachella

This is back when Kanye was still wearing multiple hues at once — all the way in 2011. Because Coachella operates in the shadow of Woodstock more than any other American festival, we got to give it up to his friendship bracelets and Hendrixian chest-hair.  

bjork coachella

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Coachella

Imagine if Björk had borrowed George Clinton's Lolla outfit to wear with her pom-pom headpiece? Better yet: a duet.

Coachella M.I.A.

Dove Shore/Getty Images

Coachella

Captain M.I.rAve is in the building and she orders you to dance in the name of revolution, and also her excellent embroidered officer's sash. Handmade, no doubt.

Coachella Karen O. Yeah Yeah yeahs

Karl Walter/Getty Images

Coachella

Karen O's gold-coin dress and oil-slick gauntlet: these very likely are made of materials they had not yet invented in the Sixties. This is the promise of the 21st Century fulfilled.

Electric Daisy Carnival Empire of the Sun

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Electric Daisy Carnival

Empire of the Sun's backup dancer can shred a giant fake guitar with her eyes closed. WAH-WAHH. Sorry.

Electric Daisy Carnival Diplo

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Electric Daisy Carnival

Diplo's taken festival fashion to black-tie affair like the adult man he is, but still couldn't resist accessorizing with — is that a rave inhaler?!

Show Comments