For many, festivals are equated with the warm summer months. We often think the carefree, concert-filled desert-dwelling days are reserved for those between the months of April and August. While good times are definitely to be had during this season, let us assure you that fall festivals are also definitely a thing, which begs the question: Why should the party end after Labor Day?
Yep, these days, weekend extravaganzas of music, art and quality eats are to be had year-round and are available to everyone, no matter your musical preference, personal style or background. From the vibrant Afropunk Fest in Brooklyn that “creates a safe place to freak out in” to Kaaboo’s seaside wonderland in picturesque Del Mar, California, the options to let your hair down in the cooler months are aplenty.
All that said, we should point out that sartorial planning for a fall music-filled weekend is very different from planning for one amidst the dog days of summer. In plain terms: You’re going to need to pack more than just a couple bikini tops and sandals. Fall evenings are cooler and require some strategic layering and practical footwear (that’s still chic, of course). It’s important to pack accordingly.
So if you’ve been dreading the final days of summer, it’s time to turn those lemons into musical lemonade. No matter where you hail from, ahead are the five music festivals that will make the upcoming season feel like an endless summer vacation, as well as the outfits that will get you through seasmlessly. Party on.
Kaaboo: Del Mar, California
When: September 14-16
What: Wanna party in paradise? Try a seaside getaway to picturesque San Diego. Kaaboo festival in Del Mar combines an oceanic backdrop, tastemaking events and good ol' rock-n-roll for a weekend that feels like the ultimate, laid-back California experience. Acts like Foo Fighters, Imagine Dragon, Katy Perry and Robert Plant are all set to help you perfect your head-banging technique.
What to wear: Since you'll be frolicking in sunny California (and typical fall weather does not apply here), you'll want to pack lightweight layering pieces like flirty mini dresses and denim jackets as well as comfy accessories that allow you to run around carefree, hands-free and, most importantly, comfortably for hours on end.
Buy tickets: https://www.kaaboodelmar.com/
AFROPUNK: Brooklyn, New York
When: August 25-26
What: If you want a musical experience that embraces creativity and a little rebellion, this two-day soirée is for you. With events in five major metropolitan cities around the globe — including Paris, London and Atlanta — AFROPUNK is steadily becoming a festival force to be reckoned with. In addition to the established acts on its roster (Erykah Badu and Tyler The Creator are scheduled this year), the festival embraces new talent via its Battle of the Bands program, which awards one lucky act the opportunity to perform on the festival's main stage.
What to wear: Set during the tail-end of summer, AFROPUNK takes place amidst the final breaths of the season, so the temps are still riding high. Show off your style and most creative self with an unapologetically vibrant ensemble that also provides ventilation. Our recommendation? Opt for a comfy jersey midi skirt that allows you to move and pair it with cropped cami and funky bomber jacket to throw on if and when the evening breeze kicks in.
Buy tickets: http://afropunkfest.com/brooklyn/
Life Is Beautiful: Las Vegas, Nevada
When: September 21-24
What: Yes, there's more to Vegas than The Strip, and this three-day bash proves it. Set right smack in the middle of the historic downtown area (on Fremont Street, no less), Life Is Beautiful has rapidly gained a following of loyal festival-goers, thanks to its curated mix of dynamic musical talent (Florence And The Machine and The Weeknd are slated for this year's event), artistry and delicious eats. If you have an eye for art and need to refresh your creative spirit, this is the playground for you. Oh, also, slot machines are just a few feet away if you're feeling lucky.
What to wear: This is not your typical Vegas affair of glitzy dresses and sky-high heels. The artsy, bohemian vibe of this festival leaves the door open for a more laid-back, easy-breezy aesthetic. Keep things comfortable yet sleek with a bodysuit-shorts combo, topped off with on-trend sneakers. For some cool-girl edge, pack an elevated leather jacket that will wrap things up perfectly.
Buy tickets: https://lifeisbeautiful.com/
Austin City Limits: Austin, Texas
When is it: October 5-7, 12-14
What is it: What better place to experience good tunes than in the live music capital of the world? Set in the always "weird" and eclectic city of Austin, this rising star of a festival delivers what Texas is known for: music and food. Attendees can expect nothing less than feasting on locally sourced eats like homemade BBQ and burgers against a backdrop of iconic musical talent like Paul McCartney and Metallica. They had us at BBQ.
What to wear: When in Rome, er, Texas: Try a fun and lighthearted Americana vibe by pairing an easy chambray skirt with a checked bodysuit and distressed boots. See if you don't get mistaken for a local.
Buy tickets: https://www.aclfestival.com/
Voodoo Music + Arts Experience: New Orleans, Louisiana
When is it: October 26-28
What is it: Consider your Halloween plans made. There's no better way to spend the spookiest night of the year than at a true-blue voodoo festival. With more than 65 bands lined up, Voodoo is a self-proclaimed "musical gumbo stirring together music, art, community, cuisine and all the mystery and adventure that Halloween weekend in New Orleans conjures up." Musical acts run the gamut of iconic to spectacular, with this year's big names including Mumford & Sons, childish Gambino and, of course, Marilyn Manson.
What to wear: Since it's Halloween weekend, anything goes. However, for those sartorially inclined, try riffing off the Dia De Los Muertos aesthetic with a sheer floral maxi, durable boot and gypsy-like accessories.
Buy tickets: https://www.voodoofestival.com/