So Australia may not have Coachella, but we do have a pretty eventful and colourful festival scene. A few weeks ago my friends Nicola, Amanda and I road tripped to Canberra’s Groovin’ the Moo and stayed with our friends Bryn and Talfryn in their uni apartment. Autumn is such a gorgeous time for a road trip. The leaves are changing colour, the air is fresh and it’s a perfect way to break up that ‘middle-of-the-year’ feeling. However, there’s a few things to consider amidst the dancing and youthful experiences. Think of this blog post as a vegan map to festival-esque food, fashion, beauty and how to avoid wearing offensive festival attire.
If you’ve ever been to a festival or looked at your Instagram feed while one is taking place, you’ll know it’s a day to wear your most whimsical, bohemian-inspired, free-spirited get up. Funny how achieving that “Oh I just threw this together” look can take a bit of work! But hey, I think that’s part of the fun. I personally love the hunt for something unique and planning out exactly what vibe I want my next festival adventure to be.
My advice for festival fashion is either op-shopping it or visiting Tree of Life. Op shopping is a great ethical option as buying second-hand means you’re not contributing to the supply and demand of clothing, you’re simply buying pieces that have already been used. Op shops usually donate most of their proceeds to charity AND you get an extremely unique (sometimes vintage) hella rad outfit! My halter top, shorts, belts and boots are all from op shops or vintage stores! My necklace is from Tree of Life. I would highly recommend getting to know your closest Tree of Life shop as their products are ethically sourced and so beautifully unique and affordable. This whole outfit would not have cost more than $75, and yes the boots are vegan!
Have a meeting spot. Phone reception often doesn’t work or you can’t hear people over the music. So it’s a good idea to be able to meet up at a particular place if someone goes missing.
Being Autumn, it got quite chilly so I wrapped a flannelette shirt around my waist which was handy particularly on the cold walk to the bus! It can be tricky to dress appropriately for the cold and the sweaty heat of mosh pits. The flannelette was a lifesaver! Speaking of mosh pits, I ended up wrapping the grey scarf (originally around my waist) over my head like a pirate. It kept my hair out of my face so I could focus on trekking the mosh and dancing mah butt off.
The brown belt and the coin belt are from Robin’s Nest Vintage. If you’re a lover of all things shabby chic or vintage treasures definitely check out her store in the Sutherland Shire. She has an unfathomably beautiful collection:
(I took these photos post festival as I didn’t want the actual day to be consumed by taking outfit photos haha! So big thanks to my brother for taking these!)
Now let’s discuss a very relevant issue that all festival-goers should be aware of: Cultural Appropriation. For those of you who are not yet aware, cultural appropriation is the taking of particular cultural rituals, aesthetics and symbols and altering the original sacred meaning. In the case of festival attire, a prime example is the Indian headdress or warbonnet. These items are often worn at festivals to give a ‘free-spirited’ vibe to your look. When worn by privileged cultures in this manner, it is ignorant to the original meaning of these warbonnets and the people who have faced genocide, assimilation as well as continued racism. Wearing an Indian headdress to a festival may seem harmless, but it is ignoring a culture’s marginalized pain and making their culture a profitable trend. Items such as the Indian headdress, bindis and other culturally significant aesthetics should be avoided in order to make an effort to dismantle systematic racism. It is a complicated issue as in some instances a culture may invite some to wear or practice their cultural traditions and it is wrong to assume that everyone wearing culturally significant items is being racist as they may well be part of that culture. It is definitely something to consider when you and your friends are talking about outfits for your festival adventure. Have a think about whether the aesthetics of your look is stealing something sacred. I would recommend craft jewels, colourful face paint, glitter or unique vintage finds to add some flair to your festival get up instead of something culturally appropriated. This issue is important to me as someone who is constantly in a process of learning how to be an inclusive, compassionate and thoughtful person. However, being a privileged white person myself I think it is necessary to hear about this issue from minority voices who can more effectively articulate the issue of cultural appropriation.
Here’s some articles you should check out to further inform yourself:
And here is a powerful video made by Amanda Stenberg (she played Rue in the Hunger Games) about cultural appropriation:
So when it comes to your festival outfit I think the main thing to remember is to not focus too much on the trends. My fashion philosophy is wear whatever the heck you want as long as you’re not offending anyone or killing anyone.
CRUELTY FREE FESTIVAL MAKEUP
- For the makeup, I kept it pretty neutral and popped on some false lashes. I also stuck some blue gems to my face with some lash glue. Believe it or not, they stayed on all day and night! I also stuck them on my gal pals so everyone knew we were part of the same team.
Now, obviously I could of dedicated a whole post to festival makeup. However, this is just a lil summary of some cruelty free beauty recommendations.
-Eco Tools Makeup Brushes
-Ardell False Lashes
-Flash Tattoos from @whitebohemianstore
-Luma Cosmetics Lipstick and Eyeliner
-Lush Lustre Dusting Powder (smells like a garden and makes you sparkle)
-Lush Vanillary Solid Perfume
-Physician’s Formula All-In-1 Custom Nude Palette (eyeshadow, bronzer, blush and highlighter all in the one cute lil box!
Now let’s talk about FOOD! In terms of festival food I’ll just say what we’re all thinking…It’s over-priced, oily and usually pretty mediocre. I managed to have a $9 cheese-less veggie burger, however, I did also notice some vegan Indian cuisine available, which probably would have been the better option. Chips on a stick or good ol’ hot chips are also a safe bet for vegan dinner. What I really want to share with you guys is the whimsical-ness that is Canberra’s ‘My Rainbow Dreams Vegetarian Cafe’. Put this one on your ‘Vegan Restaurant Bucket List’ guys, because you will not be disappointed. They offer vegan rainbow wraps, amazing veggie burgers, soups, curries, desserts, smoothies and coffees the size of your face. Anytime there’s more than three vegan options on a menu I start squealing internally, so this was a big deal for me! Even my omnivorous friends approved…more like thoroughly enjoyed!
‘My Rainbow Dreams’ is located at Shop G1, Dickson Chambers, Dickson Place, Canberra
My final road trip/festival advice:
- If you are driving, be safe and take turns if possible.
- Plan ahead but keep a bit of spontaneity
- Don’t spend too much on accessories, jewelry or sunnies-they’re likely to break!
- Try not to worry about how pretty or immaculate every other girl looks. I of all people know that self acceptance and moving past jealousy is a journey, but I guarantee you’ll have a better time if you avoid comparing yourself to others.
It’s moments like these that you’ll remember for a long time, so make the most of it and have fun!
So there you have it! Trelby’s comprehensive guide to being animal friendly and culturally conscious at a music festival. Of course I’m not perfect when it comes to ethical living, but we can all make informed choices to avoid being cruel or insensitive to others in our everyday lives.
I am a 19 year old student at Sydney University studying a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Cultural Studies and Art History. I have been a vegetarian since I was eight years old, and a vegan for almost two years. I love getting creative with makeup, fashion, DIY and most recently edible art in the form of vegan cooking. As a lover of all things beauty, I have made a promise to myself to only use cruelty free, vegan products and share this knowledge with others.