‘Tis the season to be groovin’ to whatever spins your discs. Ruth Spencer on the ‘other’ festive season.

The sun is shining and it's time to sip warm booze in a paddock. Summer is music festival season and, just like music, there's a festival to suit any taste.

The Flower Crown

She's the boho queen of whatever jumble of acts counts as our local Coachella this year. Despite living on tumblr and Instagram, she's still not woke enough to avoid a culturally appropriated headdress if it looks bae with her balayage. She cultivates her 70s hippie vibe by looking poor in Free People rags from Jetset Bohemian, or if genuinely short of cash, a bralette from Glassons' Festival range. She's hoping to meet someone who got shredded in prep for the festival, because shredded is flower crowns for boys. Music? What music?

The Noble Vintage

Loaded with blankets and wicker baskets like wartime donkeys, they troop through the gates of the vineyard. Arranging themselves on the grass into little independent nations, they stake out borders with cheese and cushions, some inadvertently initiating hostilities with their neighbour-states with their full-size folding chairs. They look forward to seeing an ageing hitmaker who looks vaguely familiar and is playing something vaguely familiar. Another chardonnay and it's all pleasantly blurry — or perhaps they've mislaid their glasses in a cowpat.

The Black Tee

He's lost his mates but everyone's mates here. At least, they all look pretty much alike, in black band T-shirts. He's not going in the mosh pit just yet, because he's got a hard-won plastic tumbler of generic lager and he's not keen to spill it. There's a small, bird-like girl swearing at a security guard and he might be falling deeply, painfully in love. Or it might be the dodgy hot dog he ate earlier. The band is screaming at him, at her, at everyone and it's exhilarating, louder even than his stereo goes at the flat before noise control comes. A cloud of burning rubber is drifting over from the donut contest in the carpark. It's a good day.


The Mudlark

She doesn't care that it's raining. Her entire body is covered in mud and she's been dancing with a rainbow-coloured art installation made of prayer flags and Pak'nSave bags for an hour already. Shefeels like a beautiful wraith in the mysterious, cloudy atmosphere, although she's read about the health risks of incense smoke and it's spoiling things a bit. She's thinking of initiating a spontaneous hugging circle when the moon rises, perhaps near the bonfire, perhaps even nearer that man in the flowing cheesecloth shirt and felt bowler hat who's juggling so fascinatingly.


They know. You don't know, but they know.

Their music festival has no set location, no advertised acts, no guarantee of adequate portaloos, but it's nevertheless the place to be should you accidentally stumble upon it. They will. They'll casually rock up to it in their retro coffee caravans, which double as tiny off-the-grid homes and leather suspender repair kiosks, to form a knowing, amused gathering for a few days. There's probably a totally unironic moustache grooming station. You know Them.