The Music Festival Movement

Posted by Reem
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It’s festival season, and regardless of whether you predominately follow fashion, music, arts and culture or none of the above your social media feeds have most likely been flooded with all things Coachella. Founded in 1999, The Indio California based music festival is hailed for the often covetable and sometimes cringe-worthy fashion it attracts (think cultural appropriation). Before there was Coachella there was Woodstock 1969 and even before that there was the Monterey International Pop Festival where artists like Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix gave some of their most memorable live performances.

The Monterey International Music Festival was known as the world’s first major rock festival. Paul McCartney, John and Michelle Phillips and, Cass and Low Adler, and Mick Jagger were on the board of governors. The lineup was intended to represent all parts of contemporary music. All acts were treated equally and flown out first class. The three-day festival took place in Monterey, California and was a not-for-profit charity event that was intended to demonstrate where music was headed.


(L) Janis Joplin, Monterey International Pop Festival, 1967. (R) The Mamas and Papas, Monterey International Pop Festival, 1967.


Monterey International Pop Festival, 1967. (L) Jimi Hendrix.


Monterey International Pop Festival, 1967.


Woodstock 1969 was the pinnacle of 1960s counter culture, the anti-establishment era of the hippies. Outside of the clichéd sex, drugs and rock and roll, Woodstock epitomized the freedom and fashion of the hippie era. In the time where the war for civil rights was being waged, and there was a great deal of opposition against U.S. involvement in the Vietnam war. The most legendary event in music history took place on a dairy farm in Bethel, New York. While organizers anticipated a crowd of 50,000 concert-goers, they could not imagine the estimated 500,000 who would show up for the concert which ended up having to be a free event. Even when the tickets were being sold prior to the event through mail-order or in select stores, weekend passes to see 32 acts including Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and The Who cost 18 dollars. It was a rainy weekend so mud was a part of the Woodstock fashion statement, as well as nudity, headbands, flowing printed ’70s dresses and wavy tousled hair. There was a Woodstock reunion concert in Parr Meadows, Brookhaven, New York in 1979. One of several Woodstock reunion concerts that year, the event only attracted at most 40,000 people. There was also a Woodstock 1979 concert at Madison Square Garden. In 1989, the concert returned to the Catskills. A New York Times article published on August 14 1989, speaks to the returning, aged attendees giving interviews about their experiences at the original Woodstock for an abundance of media presence, and the commercialization of the iconic festival. In a true nod to a shift in culture, the polar opposite of the peace and love of Woodstock 1969, Woodstock 1999 was hailed by the San Francisco Gate as “The Day the Music Died.” The event was degenerative and violent. Over 60 concertgoers were hospitalized. There were fires, looting, vandalism and an extremely volatile and aggressive audience whose behavior was only inflamed by acts like Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit who riled up the audience further during their acts.


1960s Hippie Culture.


Woodstock, 1969.


Woodstock, 1969. (R) Bert Sommer Ira and Maxine Stone.


Woodstock, 1969. (L) George and Pattie. (R) Grace Slick.


Woodstock, 1969. (L) Janis Joplin. (R) Jimi Hendrix.


Woodstock, 1969. (L) Roger Daltrey.


Woodstock, 1969.


Woodstock, 1969.


Woodstock, 1969.


Woodstock, 1969.


The Glastonbury festival was originally held on September 19, 1970, the day after Jimi Hendrix died. It was initially called the Pilton Festival, and incorporates music, theatre and art performances into the five-day festival. Still taking place annually to this day, the concert donates to organizations like Green Peace and Oxfam. The largest greenfield festival in the world, the concert attracts over 175,00 attendees.


Glastonbury Festival, 1970.


Glastonbury Festival, 2010. (L) Sienna Miller. (R) Emma Watson.


Kate Moss, Glastonbury Festival.


Florence Welch, Glastonbury Festival. (L) Wearing Dolce & Gabbana.


Lollapalooza is one of the biggest live music experiences of the year. In 2013, the concert hosted a record 300,000 attendees. The concert was intended to be a touring festival when it was started in 1991 by Perry Farrell as a good-bye tour for his band Jane’s Addiction. In 2005,it became a destination event in Grant Park, Chicago. Flower crowns and hippie inspired fashion are still seen at Lollapalooza in present day, but in the ‘90s concertgoers were less about the looks and more about the music. Cut-offs were still a festival fashion staple but the fashion was understated functional and basic.  


Perry Farrell of Janes Addiction, Lollapalooza, 1991.


Siouxsie Sioux, Lollapalooza, 1991.


Lollapalooza. (L) Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, 1992.


Lollapalooza. (L) Courtney Love of Hole, 1995. (R) Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, 2009.




Lana Del Ray, Lollapalooza, 2013.


1993, Pearl Jam in their boycott against Ticketmaster and Ticketmaster controlled venues, held a concert at Empire Polo Club for 25,000 fans in Indio California. The grounds had never been used as a music venue previously and this opened the door to the inaugural Coachella event in 1999. The event has since taken on a spirit of its own, where commercial interests meet a mix of nostalgia and modern hipster culture. The clothes and acts that emerge from the events set the tone for summer trends year after year.


Coachella Festival.


Coachella. (L) Miranda Kerr, Alessandra Ambrosio and Candice Swanepoel, 2013.


Coachella Festival.


Coachella Festival. (L) Dree Hemingway in Dolce & Gabbana and a Vintage Purse. (R) Kylie Jenner and Selena Gomez.


Coachella Festival. (L) Beyonce. (R) Dita Von Teese.


Coachella Festival. (L) Dita Von Teese. (R) Katy Perry.


Coachella Festival. (L) Vanessa Hudgens wearing a Vintage Belt. (R) Vintage Chanel Dress.

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