Music festivals and the need for escapism

I went to Tokyo Disneyland. It was on my bucket list and as it is my last time in this grand city the decision to go was an easy one. Already on the train there I spotted several people dressed complete in Disney gear. It made me wonder why people dress up like that. It’s not just Disney. You see the same at events like ComicCon and also at festivals. People like to go out of their way to dress up.

Not me. I’m a bit boring when it comes to this kind of stuff. I’m up for Santa Con but that’s about it. Dressing up really is “a thing”. Escapism it is called. Escapism is, according to the dictionary, the tendency to seek distraction from unpleasant realities, especially by seeking or engaging in fantasy.

Disney has it own fans that go “Disneybounding”. That’s the word used for dressing up like a Disney character by wearing regular clothes. To give you an idea, there was a guy dressed like Donald Duck. Wearing yellow stockings, white shorts, a blue sailor shirt and a blue hat. His girlfriend wore the Daisy Duck version. I suppose compared to them my blue shorts and grey t-shirt were a bit boring….

Music festivals and escapism

A study from 2013 found that going to a music festival is not about the music anymore but about escaping the real world. Another study found that 90% of the people interviewed, said that they were at a festival to forget real life. At a festival they found the freedom to be who they are and they can do what they want.

I’ve been to festivals where attendees do dress up in shiny outfits, husky hats, furry legwarmers or mankinis. And neon outfits…very 90s, I know. So why do people do that? According to some it has to do with any of the following:


You are a fan of a particular music genre, or festival, and you dress accordingly. Metal fans wear something black, like an Iron Maiden t-shirt. EDM festivals in the early naughties meant you had to wear neon outfits.


Dressing in a certain way gives you a sense of belonging. Disneybounding is an example of this. On the other hand you can think of the different dress codes at different festivals. Coachella's fashion is a bit more upmarket, for a better word for it, compared to that of Glastonbury.


Some people just want to stand out from the crowd. Good for them in doing so. Go wear that mankini. GQ Magazine wrote an article about festival fashion. The article Fashion mistakes to avoid at music festivals suggests you wear Giorgio Armani sunglasses worth £220 to a music festival. Don’t do that, please!

Honestly, you will lose or break those sunglasses on your first day. Also do not wear the £105 Alex Orso necklace to a festival. It’s nice stuff but you do not want to lose it!


You can dress up however you want, just because you are at a festival. Be yourself and be comfortable with yourself. Dress up, dress down, or don’t dress… whatever floats your boat.

The great thing about festivals is that you can seek distraction from the daily grind. People are happy to leave “real life” behind when they go to a festival. More and more of us are using their time at a festival to digitally detox. No phone and no WiFi, just you and your friends. Apparently there is now a new problem as people have a desire to show to the rest of the world that they are digitally detoxing. Just let that sink in… I’m sure there’s a marketing idea in there somewhere.

For those who still have a few festivals lined up this year: enjoy it. With your phone or without your phone, dressed like whatever you want. Just enjoy yourself!

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