Music festivals are kind of like fashion weeks–if you look hard enough, you can almost always find one in progress.
I was excited to attend this weekend’s Governor’s Ball on Randall’s Island. If not because I will almost never pass up on an opportunity to see Kanye West live (and, frankly, too, I’d probably be a fool to miss Guns n [a half] Roses in concert,) than certainly because I was eager to learn if the music festival dressing formula is a costuming choice indigenous to Coachella or if those floral reefs, plentiful fringes, and crochet crop tops could find themselves multiplying in excess in the tri-state area, too.
An interlude for anecdotal idiocy care of yours truly: While, sure, I really shouldn’t blame anyone else for this–I have twitter, I use Instagram–no one offered appropriate dressing advice (see the “Hey! Leandra! Heads up, mud everywhere. Don’t wear your silly ass wedge sneakers!” that never came) or divulged the muddy delineating the state of Randall’s Island. As a result, I wore the aforementioned silly ass wedge sneakers and as I walked into the festival, show goers–who were knee deep in mire–gawked at my footwear choice until, like an angel from Paris, an old friend of mine, Rose, descended upon what was inevitably about to become a crime scene. She had the brilliant idea to wrap my shoes in plastic from an unused poncho that was occupying space in her purse. The result? What I will call a really creative homage to Rick Owens–and the overpriced sneakers left undefiled.
Once I was comfortably able to let my heels sink into the enormous swamp, drink in hand (thank you, Skyy Vodka, for supplying the tickets and keeping me pleasantly hydrated,) I took a moment to look around. Where was the music festival panache? Maybe the rain had besmirched the joy of costume-party dressing, or maybe this was a New York thing.
There were denim cut offs, yes, and I could locate a dozen fringe infiltrated messenger bags in a single blink but I think there’s something about having a festival occur in New York that keeps it far too close to, er, home (it’s kind of home for even tourists, no?) for us to plausibly slip into the different identities we’re so keen to take on elsewhere. And while, of course, the sporadic flower crown and wholly inappropriate mini dress found its way to Governor’s Ball, (even in spite of the mud making it near impossible to think fashion before utility) even I, who had absolutely no idea that I was actually entering a swamp, could recognize how plain, old, and “me” I was dressed (striped blouses, regular t-shirts, run-of-mill denim shorts.) No white diaper, no one-shoulder eyelet, no caged cat-eye sunglasses.
Because, I don’t know, maybe when all is said, done, and sung along to, we know there’s too short a time span before we must cross the bridge again, head back home, and be who we are.