A Hipster’s Guide to Summer Festivals

Coachella has come and gone, and with it starts the summer of hipster-infested festivals. Although they’d love to maintain their pale physique, they love smoking American Spirits with thousands of people more. Tis the season when they show their feathers, as though a bird of paradise strutting its stuff during mating season. The calculated outfits accentuating their best assets; their intentionally-messy hair (yes, with feathers!) proving they don’t care just enough. Females, admire the mustaches! Males, admire the five-inch bangs!

Are you prepared for the season? Bonnaroo, Pitchfork, Sasquatch, and Primavera are fast approaching. You can’t be merely another Zooey in the crowd. You must out indie the indie kids. Are all of your new Urban Outfitters shirts cropped? Are your Oxfords polished? Have you purchased the entire stock of lace camis from Forever 21 to match with your too-small black bra? Have you raided your mother’s closet for her old jeans? They better be shorts by now! Have you teased your hair just so? It takes money to look like you care that little.

And men, show your best mustaches. No ‘stache? No chance.

If your hair follicles aren’t cool enough to grow the manliest of facial hair (that is, of course, negated by the feminine jeans and obsession with fashion), dudes, you better have the right attire. Now, if you have both … you will be the most favorable male in attendance.

Here is a firsthand example of how you need to behave to be accepted, and therefore find the Jenny to your Johnny. I overheard this at Coachella this year:

  • Male 1: “I like your Iron & Wine shirt.”
  • Male 2: “Thanks. I’ve actually never listened to them, but I figured I should wear a shirt like this since it’s Coachella.”
  • Male 1: “Well, you should only listen to their old stuff. Their new stuff sucks.”

Guys: this mostly applies to you as girls would hate to be mistaken for teenage boys. Every hipster knows you cannot wear a shirt of any of the bands playing at whatever gig you’re at. This is problematic when there are a hundred bands playing, but this shouldn’t be a challenge for a true music lover. If you break this rule, hipster apathy will be forgotten for only a second, and you. Will. Be. Judged.

Don’t forget to act like you don’t care, even though you spent $300 on a three-day pass and at least double that on airfare. This is the most important fact to remember this summer. Caring ain’t hip. Caring is death. You might as well openly listen to Katy Perry (she totally stole Teenage Dream from Beach House. So unoriginal. *cue eye roll*).

Forty thousand closet Kanye West fans watched and sang every word to his songs. The following Monday, the people went back to denying they own (and love) My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. I mean, only that one song with Bon Iver is OK, right? (Eh, it’s too mainstream for me. Justin Vernon sold out. And it’s not Bon Iver, Kanye. Sheesh. It’s not like the whole band recorded with you.) And it wasn’t like Kanye rising out of the middle of a crowd of thousands of people only to rap 100 feet above everyone was awesome or anything. No; he did not fulfill your greed. It’s important to tweet how unimpressed you are right then and there. “Yeah, you have great energy but no guest performances for #Coachella? Really @kanyewest? Really? #bored #fail.” That’s what Pitchfork would do … and you must do as they say.

In fact, festivals are a competition to see who cares less when you are talking to others and avoiding eye contact in between performances. Never admit to a performance being the best you’ve ever seen … even if Kings of Leon made you cry when they played their older, better songs. Whatever band you saw, they were better when you saw them before their first album came out. Do not slip up! You cannot afford to appear like you have emotions. You are a robot that ingests music and spits out information when necessary. It’s important to always appear cold and pretentious. It is a fact that you are hipper than the general population.

Going to Bonnaroo this June? Quote this: “Robert Plant was so much better in that one YouTube video of the Zeppelin performance from ’68.”

Sasquatch Music Festival? Sacrifice seeing a band you’ve always wanted to see for that obscure band no one’s heard of yet. You have to be the first to know, or else you’ve failed.

Primavera? Sorry, I can’t be apathetic about this one. Screw you if you’re going.

Now you know the essentials. You may be wondering if I’m qualified to give such advice, or if I’m a hipster at all, and I often wonder this myself. I do have all this useless knowledge of all these bands I’ll never have time to listen to. And I do have bangs, and I like thrift shops, and I own a Polaroid camera. But I don’t have those non-prescription lenses … I sense an identity crisis a-brewin’. Ah, who cares? Get thee to a festival! TC mark

image – Dmgultekin


More From Thought Catalog

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh


  • Björn

    I enjoyed reading this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=641216758 Oweinama Biu

    Can we stop talking about “hipsters”? Getting real old, real boring, real cliche.

    • ghostboy2112


    • Hotmail

      embrace it

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=641216758 Oweinama Biu

    PS: Fuck all those bands.

  • http://twitter.com/jessdutschmann Jess Dutschmann

    isnt there a post hipster yet
    that sounds happy :)

  • http://notatoaster.tumblr.com marymonica

    can one even self-identify as a 'hipster'?

    *i* sense an identity crisis a-brewin'…

  • Guest666

    nigga wear whatever the fuck you wanna wear and be seen wherever you wanna be seen. please stop perpetuating this lame, self-conscious, too-smart cause i see how faux-cool you are behavior.

    ain't nobody rockin an iron&wine shirt. lies.

  • http://twitter.com/thedeaddino Jobson

    KoL are terrible. They are the Nickelback of hipster bands.

    • brononymous

      no hipster listens to kings of leon bro

  • Caaalebbb

    Thank you for not bringing Arcade Fire into this.

  • Boss

    ONCE AGAIN, another article that is drinking too much hater-ade. And i agree with 'OWEINAMA BIU' The hipster jokes arent funny anymore.

    • greg

      There may be a tinge of 'hater' in this article and yes this has been done before….BUT the author is 100% correct…flip through this year's coachella photos online and try not to feel some sort of disdain at the irony of paying upwards of a grand to look and act like a clown….especially when so many attendees of these festivals are straight mainstrm haha

  • http://twitter.com/bsdf BEN ENGLISCH


  • Alya

    So far my favorite blog. I love you hipster trashing, never gets old.

  • Amie Festa

    Coachella Coachshmella – check my festival inspiration outfits – http://beautifulfall.blogspot….

  • http://twitter.com/joshliburdi Josh Liburdi

    Bonnaroo is full of wookies, not hipsters. or it used to be wookies. if it is full of hipsters now, then I will rage.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jjamesskatzka Jeffrey Skatzka

    the article went over my head but i really like live music & sweaty people/people. rage forever people.

  • Anon

    hahaha. this was gorgeous.

  • Jetsetfool

    I loved this article. Well structured, informative, funny and down right truthful. haha

  • greg

    I liked how the crux of the article was that festivals are just as much, if not more, about getting laid than listening to actual music….With that being said…this 'rich hipsters spending outrageous amounts of cash too look and act like they have none' article has been done a million times already..Still liked the piece

    • Ruthlezz

      thought they were about doing drugs. feel like the success rate is greater than that of getting laid at festivals

  • Ford Tennis


  • TO

    My god, I hate articles like this o much more than the supposed hipsters in bashes…

    • TO


  • Jessica

    Yah, you could feed into the aspect of coachella or you could just be grateful to be there and enjoy the music.

  • Kack

    Was this your first Coachella? Hipsters have forever been present at Coachella, they make up the festival.

  • Elaine

    So being a parent of a hipster…….I need clarification….what is the difference between a hipster and a hippie from the 60's or is being a hipster another word for being cool or do hipsters just think they're cool? Excellent writing skills and humorous!

  • JonQ288

    People making fun of “hipsters” implying they are cooler than “hipsters” because they are just as aware of the social rules “hipsters” live by are just as elitist.
    ps. the hipster is dead

  • yogi

    was this written in 2006? i honestly feel like i was forced into a time machine and made to swallow a handful of boredom pills by a mad scientist bent on ruining my saturday..

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