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Dressed in my Star Wars pyjamas atop Orange Camp hill, I enjoyed a serene moment to myself, observing a small crowd of dishevelled zombies pottering around the festival village below. The hint over a hangover was starting to creep up on me as I finished my breakfast which consisted of a £7 bacon butty and a warm can of Strongbow. With the sun beating down from above, all of the ravers from the night before slowly began to struggle out of their baking hot tents around me. Despite the smell, the headache and the growing fear that I soon may have to use the toilets, I felt a familiar calmness and happiness that I hadn’t felt for a long time. I was home, and I had caught festival fever.
To some people, the thought of spending five days in the middle of a field without access to any home comforts would be their worst nightmare. But to the folk who attend festivals such as Reading and Leeds, there is an unescapable and concentrated sense of love, community and friendship which keeps us coming back every year. We are all there for the same thing – to have a good time. In such divided times, festivals offer the freedom to escape from the outside world. No politics, no responsibilities, no boundaries – just good music and good friends. Being a part of such an amazing, loving atmosphere for those five days really gets you thinking; why can’t every day be like this?
Obviously, we all have responsibilities and life often gets in the way of having a good time, but why can’t we talk to each other the way you would at a festival? Why can’t you dress the same way that you would at a festival? If I walked down the street in a bucket hat, Hawaiian shirt and Darth Vadar slippers I would be shamed and heckled from every angle. At a festival however, it would go something like, “love your slippers mate, I need to get myself a pair of those!”
It has now become somewhat of a tradition to unshackle the cuffs placed on us by the fashion police when it comes to festivals. Festivalgoers now regularly attend in fancy dress and hold “shit shirt” days whilst most of the clothes stalls now choose to sell retro, funky or “out there” products. It’s such a breath of fresh air to see men and women express themselves through their attire and see through preconceived notions about what is acceptable to wear.
At Shores, we’re huge believers in individuality and your sense of style being a reflection of yourself. To me, it seems people are at their happiest when they aren’t confined to fashion trends, rules or boundaries – like when at a festival. If you want to nip to the shop in your mesh crop top and Billie Eilish-inspired, neon green knee socks, do it! Wear whatever makes you happy and don’t let the opinions of those who complain bring you down. If they don’t appreciate you being your true self, they probably aren’t worth keeping around anyway.
As our good friend, Albert Einstein, once said: “The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever seen before.”