The music festival season is upon us, but do you have a thing to wear? Whether it's the hippie chic of this weekend's Field Trip indie rockathon (June 6 and 7, Fort York and Garrison Common) or the more costumed flair of next weekend's eclectic British-import Bestival, music lovers are invited to tune in, drop out and dress up. We spoke to Bestival founder Rob da Bank about sounds and style.
Toronto's summer festival schedule is quite heavy. How important is it for an incoming festival to offer a 360 experience, rather than just a strong bill of artists, to stand out?
In the U.K, where there are hundreds and hundreds of festivals, there are some that are much more about the experience. They don't book huge lineups, but they still get about 25,000 people. People know they can go and have a good time. We have that same philosophy, but we also like to have the big headliners. For Toronto we have Florence + the Machine, Nas and a healthy lineup for the ticket price. We're not trying to break any records, but we're trying to get 20,000 people a day.
And being a first-year festival here, it's easier to sell the talent than it is the experience, right?
Exactly. They need a reason to come. Once they're here, I think they'll realize there's a lot of stuff here for people who don't necessarily want to watch music all day.
They may wish to watch people all day, because Bestival encourages people to dress up.
People dress up, get on a ferry and take on a different persona. They lose themselves for the weekend. We've done it for 12 years in England. In Toronto, it's just about introducing the idea. I hope people embrace it.
There's a festival look that is prevalent these days. I'm no fashionista, but can we agree that hats look better on women than on men?
They definitely do, yeah. I've got some images in my head, from looking at Coachella photos, with girls wearing a nice black or brown trilby or fedora, with a scarf. It's kind of classy. Hats on men are tricky. I kind of avoid them myself.
When Arcade Fire encouraged people to dress up for their shows, there was a bit of a push back from fans. Were they just party poopers?
It's very much a choice. No one is obliged to dress up for Bestival. You can wear a suit, or a fancy dress, or you can come naked.
I got the sense that Arcade Fire wanted an elevated experience – to treat a concert as something special – as opposed to a costumed gimmick.
Yeah. I think some people think costume parties are just something involving a plastic Elvis wig. But it's not really about that. It's about making an effort. It could be just wearing a great hat that you found, or a pair of trousers that you've never dared to wear normally. I don't really care, as long as you come to the party.
Bestival, June 12 and 13, gates open at noon. $69.50 per day (weekend passes, $129.50 to $299.50). Hanlon's Point, Toronto Islands, bestival.ca.