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Festival fashion through the eras

2020 has been a strange year but now it’s come to an end, we are hoping that this year will bring back festivals. Not only do we need some social interaction but we also need an escape from our strange ‘normal’ quarantined day-to-day lives. We want to dress up in our festival gear, wear our muddy wellies and an oversized ‘waterproof’ mac. Festivals are a way of expressing our best selves and being able to get away with unorthodox outfits.

So why not start the year by throwing it back a few decades and looking back at what festival goers used to wear. Here are a few of our favourite pieces that have been picked out from our volunteers at Wastesaver that represent the trends through the era’s.

60s & 70s – The Hippie era

The music festival scene dated as far back to the 60s and 70s, with the Isle of Wight being the first music festival that was hosted in the UK in 1968, and then Glastonbury Festival in 1970. This was the era that precipitously changed the revolution of music and assisted with the inaugurate cliché of festival fashion, the very famous hippie trend that we still seek to wear now.

These clothes had flower power prints, psychedelic colours, tie-dye style, flared pants (that became the rage in the 70s), peace signs, paisley prints, John Lennon style sunglasses, suede fringing and embroidered details.

80s – The bold era

This was the era that brought a memorable and unforgettable festival called Live Aid, which was a concert that raised millions towards famine relief for Ethiopia.  The line up included Elton John, Queen, Madonna, Sade, Sting, Bryan Adams, David Bowie, Mick Jagger and Tina Turner and many more huge acts.

It was an era that marked bold statements in particular Madonna’s delivery of her striking style, which included mini skirts, lots of lace, fish net everything, signature headscarf, shoulder pads, beads, pearls and stacked gold chains. Also prevalent in the 80s, leather and denim or bold print jackets, men’s tank tops and stone washed edgy rock-style denim jeans was the norm.

90s –Grunge era

The 90s brought the first ever T in the park in 1994 and Creamfields Festival in 1998 and countless other festivals across the UK. The grunge look had taken over and every look required flawless head to toe styling. This era was about plaid patterns, ultra baggy trousers or jeans, dungarees, crop tops, bucket hats and bumbags.

2000s – Boho-chic era

By the 2000s, festivals were the thing and Glastonbury had become one of the biggest festivals in the world. We had the first Download festival in 2003 and the first Latitude Festival in 2006. The 60s and 70s hippie style had come to be the expression of bohemianism (but with more glam) with the unconventional ways, loose fitting clothes and florals.

The boho style is all about the natural fabrics like delicate linen, chiffon and cotton, leather, sheepskin, fur and suede. Oversized clothing was very popular, with kaftan dresses and tunic blouses served with scarves and belts to shape your look. Lots of embroidery, floral, crochet and patchwork patterns and don’t forget the suede fringing stolen from the hippie era.

Today – OTT era

In the 21st century today the music festival scene has become a social experience and the popularity in the UK keeps on growing. Festival goers take the opportunity to express themselves and wear absolutely anything that goes. Festivals are the perfect place to articulate our creative minds whether this includes sequins, bodysuits, co-ords, neon and metallic colours, cycling shorts and headdresses.

Check out our Depop and ASOS Marketplace for some of these items – link below.


As the Oxfam Festivals Team, we have felt the effects of Covid-19. For nearly 30 years, we have been taking thousands of volunteers some of the biggest and best festivals in the UK, however in 2020 we had to put our packed summer on hold.

Credit: We Make Events

Normally, our volunteer stewarding and wonderful travelling second hand shop would raise hundreds of thousands of pounds to help us end poverty, and our on-site campaigners reach out to thousands of festival-goers. These losses come at a time when the vulnerable communities we work with need this support more than ever.  On the 30th of September, we stood in solidarity for the global action day and want to thank everyone who also got involved.
We stand in solidarity with our community, friends and colleagues in the UK live events sector. The UK live events sector is made up of a huge supply chain, many of whom are self-employed or freelancers and have had no work since March with little likelihood of restarting any time soon.
They need your continued support, which is why we support the We Make Events Campaign who are calling for urgent support from the government to help the events sector survive the Covid-19 crisis. To find out how you can help, visit;
We also want to share that last week The Arts Council announced the first and second round of awards from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund. 1972 organisations have been awarded this funding including DMF Music (who organise Beautiful Days), Bearded Theory, WOMAD and NASS who we proudly work with during summer.


We want nothing more than to see you all in a field in 2021, please do all you can to help us get there. Continue to show your solidarity for everyone who supports our wonderful sector.

Festival Throwbacks 2020

This summer may have been turned upside down due to COVID-19 but we want to remember all of the great times we have had at festivals over the years. For each festival, we will be doing a #ThrowbackThursday and would love for everyone to share their favourite stories and photos.

You can share your photos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Or you can comment your memories on this blog in the comments below.  If you do not have social media and would love to share your favourite photos then you can email them to

Stay safe and well!

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Take care of yourself and others

Since our last blog post, the world has changed significantly and our lives are almost unrecognisable from how they were just a few weeks ago. Now more than ever, it is important to take care of your wellbeing during these very uncertain times. Make sure you keep in contact with loved ones, friends and people in your community. It is times like this we are so thankful for our Oxfamily community, so continue to keep in contact with each other and support others wherever you can.
We have collated lots of useful resources that have been shared over the last few weeks that we hope you find useful. Stay safe and take care!
Photo credit: Steve Pulvernis

Look after your mental well-being

Taking care of your mind, as well as your body, is really important while staying at home because of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Here are some resources from a number of organisations:
Photo credit: Sam Baggette/Oxfam

Get active!

It is really important to stay physically active whilst at home. Please make sure you are following government guidelines when exercising outside. 
  • 10 TodayRecently launched by Sports England to encourage people of all ages to be active at home. 
  • P.E with Joe the Body Coach– Great to do if you have children at home, by yourself, or with others in your household. 
  • NHS free workouts-  Some fun equipment-free workouts for everyone.

Stay connected

With some of this summers festival cancelling, we know how upsetting this is to our close-knit community who look forward to seeing friends and meeting new people. So why not keep in contact with the Oxfamily virtually using some of these suggestions:

Photo credit: Steve Pulvernis
  • Oxfam Festivals Chat reach out to our fantastic Oxfamily community.
  • Facebook group call if you have an active Facebook group chat, you can make groups calls right from there. Great for birthdays, or just to checkin with everyone.
  • Other apps/platforms- Skype, Zoom, Houseparty there are lots of great apps you can use to meet up with other people if they are not on Facebook
  • Or just pick up the phone or drop someone a text. Reaching out can really brighten up someone’s day. 
Photo credit: Sam Baggette/Oxfam

Stay safe and well! 

Volunteering at WOMAD- By Hannah Parry

Have you ever wondered what it is like volunteering as a steward with Oxfam? Well, Hannah has written an amazing blog talking about her first time volunteering at WOMAD with Oxfam this summer. Keep reading to learn more about her experience.

Photo Credit: Hannah Parry

“Want to have an amazing, music filled summer but you’re on a budget? Love meeting new people? Want to support a great charity? Then you need to volunteer for Oxfam. 

Me and Rebekah were volunteers at Womad festival, held at Charlton Park in Wiltshire. This world music festival has a super-chilled vibe with so much to do and see for people of all ages, it was a great first volunteering experience for us. We worked as stewards, we did three 8 hour shifts in exchange for free entrance to the festival, exclusive campsite and meal vouchers.”

To read more make sure to head to Hannah’s blog here.

Do you fancy write a guest blog for Oxfam Festivals? Yes? Drop us an email at

Festival Upcycling Part 2

The fashion craze of the 1970’s was made popular by the most notable music artists of the time, such as ABBA. The era of the flares was short but well remembered. Some people never forgot flares and have continued to embrace the bell bottoms. Much like all trends, they never quite disappear.! But, be ready to find your inner 70’s style as flares are making a return to mainstream fashion!

My choice to make flares did come from some festival goers love to embrace the weird and wonderful fashions found as you wonder around the array of brightly coloured stalls and marquees. But, it also came from my research into the summer trends we are starting to see emerging on the high street, which includes the flare.

I loved finding that flares are coming back as a mainstream fashion. This is because it shows that even fashion and trends are reused and “upcycled” to suit the current audience.

To make my flares I am using mostly Levi jeans, flowery/Hawaiian style shirts, bold patterned tops and skirts and lace dresses/trims. I want my flares to have a hint towards the hippy 70’s vibe which most festivals play a homage to, but also be fun and appropriate for the festival goers of 2019!

To upcycle the Levi’s, I first pick my jeans and a fabric that goes with them. Then I cut two identical triangles of my insertion fabric leaving seam allowance – if the garments have a decent hem I use this edge as the bottom of my triangles, so I have less hemming to do! I then open the outside leg seams of the jeans to the point at which my inserts will start. It is now time to pin and sew! Once the inserts are sewn in I zigzag/edge stitch the seam allowances of the insert and the jeans together. I then re -hem the jeans, and hem the insert if necessary, where it was opened to open the outer leg seam open. Then if I feel it needs it I add trims and appliques.

I went to bearded theory where my flares were on sale. The stall attracted plenty of attention and we sold 5 pairs. Despite the fact that the majority of people looked at the flares without buying them, it was a positive experience to receive so much interest, especially given that the nice weather meant that people were mostly looking at shorts.

Here’s a few of my favourites:


Festival Upcycling Part 1

While we all may have our own definitions, The Oxford English Dictionary defines upcycling as to “Reusing (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of higher quality

 or value than the original.” 

This brings me to my upcycling placement at the Oxfam Festival Shop. I’ve always had my own ideas and opinions about upcycling, the definition in my mind being to give a new lease of life to discarded garments, changing them to become someone else’s cherished garments. Equipped with the dictionary definition and my own interpretation, I began whipping up some ideas on what I could transform!

Brainstorming and Idea Development

While thinking about what I wanted to do as my projects I gave myself some questions to answer:
What garments are there likely to be a lot of?
What could be fun and interesting to make into unique pieces?
Which festivals have a relevant customer base?

Once I had these questions in mind I did a little bit of research into current trends. Using the research, I then developed my ideas using my initial questions to get started.

I began by answering the first question and deciding on denim as a general area to focus on. I chose denim as it is such a common fabric that most people wear almost every day. I have never worked with denim before and feel this would be a good opportunity to learn and develop my skills further. I then investigated customer bases. This took a little bit more time as every festival is slightly different, so finding something that will fit more than one took a bit more brainstorming. Throughout my research and investigation, I always kept in mind the fact that I need needed to enjoy what I’m doing and be able to learn and challenge myself when I came up with my final ideas.

I eventually decided on flares and battle jackets unique pieces. Both the projects I am doing for my placement can be sold at multiple events. I feel this is important, as it means if they don’t sell as well as we expected at one event, they still have a chance to be sold.

I then made a mood board to visualise my thoughts. This is also a good tool to have around when sorting so that items which may be of use to me are put in one place.

Once I had my plan it was time for the exciting part! Time to start making my ideas come to life….Part 2 coming soon!












Stanley, E. G. (1990). The oxford english dictionary and supplement: The integrated edition of 1989 — the oxford english dictionary (second edition) prepared by J. A. simpson and E. S. C. weiner / A supplement to the oxford english dictionary edited by R. W. burchfield. The Review of English Studies, 41(161), 76. Retrieved from

IWD 2019- Three Ways UK Festivals Are Working To Be More Inclusive

It’s easy to get bogged down in the doom and gloom of the current global climate, so in honour of International Womens Day we decided to bring attention to three great organisations that are working to make the music industry more inclusive of women, non-binary and trans people. It might even help a few of you musicians out!

Keychange Initiative

First off the is the Keychange Initiative, who made headlines in 2018 by getting 45 festivals, including Kendal Calling and our very own Oxjam, to pledge a 50/50 gender split in their lineup by 2022. They are an international organisation dedicated to accelerating the change in the gender divide of the music industry. Glastonburys’ Emily Eavis, responsible for booking all of the main stage acts at Glastonbury, is a Keychange Ambassador. To find out more about the Keychange Initiative and the incredible work they do click here:


Next we have ReBalance, a scheme run by Festival Republic, the company behind Download, Latitude and Reading and Leeds. ReBalance is a three year programme that started in 2018 which offers female artists funding for one weeks recording in a professional studio. A new artist is chosen every month, at the end of the year selected artists chosen by a panel of industry professionals will be offered a slot at a Festival Republic or Live Nation Festival. Not only this, but they’re offering sound technician apprenticeships in order to address the severe imbalance of women in the technical side of the industry. To find out more or how to apply, follow this link

Yorkshire Sound Women Network

YSWN is a local organisation started by women in the sound technology industry in order to address the gender and racial inequality in the industry.  ‘Our mission is to support a flourishing industry which welcomes, encourages and progresses the inclusion of women at all levels from studio floor to board room, and reflects the diversity of its participating communities.’ They provide women and girls with the opportunities and access to facilities that will help them to break into the sound technology industry. They welcome women, non-binary, agender and gender varient people in their meetings. For more info click here

Also have a look at for events celebrating International Womens Day 2019!

The music industry has always been notoriously unrepresentative of minorities, but in recent years steps have been made to lesson the gender divide. These are just two examples out of hundreds of incredible organisations fighting to make the music industry move in a positive direction towards equality.

Venus at Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds
Photo by Amber Morris, @a.m.art_



Need Festival Fashion Inspo? Look No Further

Stuck for ideas for what to wear to your fave festival? We’ve put together some outfits from the Oxfam Wastesaver to help you catch the vibe of the festival you’re headed to, just add wellies (which we also sell)!

All these outfits have been pulled from Festival Shop stock, so if you like something keep an eye out, you might just be able to pick it up.

We’ve started off with possibly the most hyped festival of all time; Glastonbury. This year the first batch of tickets sold out in a record breaking 30 minutes! For outfits think boho chic, Woodstock vibes, Coachella but if it rained in California. We’ve pulled some Levi 501 shorts worn open ala Kylie Jenner paired with a 70’s style paisley shirt and some brown *real leather* cowboy boots. Because all our profits go straight into ending poverty you can get some quality footwear without contributing to carbon emissions caused by cattle farming.

Next we’ve got an outfit for Boardmasters AND Leeds fest. The sports luxe trend is still in full swing at these festivals and we have all the sportswear brands you could dream of ready for the festival shop. Pair some sustainably sourced brands with a fun bucket hat and the pinnacle of practicality: a bum bag, and you’re ready to go!


Next we’ve got Bearded Theory and Womad, where we go for a comfy, practical hippie vibe. It’s all about chilling out and looking after the environment at these two super chill, family friendly festivals. So pick up some airy balloon trousers, we promise they’ll be the most comfortable things you’ve EVER worn and settle down for a culture packed weekend.

At Latitude we’re taking inspo from the queen of style herself, Lana Del Rey. A little bit baddie and a lot delicate fabrics and florals. We’ve paired this super cute floral lace playsuit complete with bell sleeves, with an upholstery bomber to add a little bit of an edge.

Rock isn’t dead at Download Festival, we’ve got a whole range of leather, denim and band tees to take down. Here we’ve paired some on-trend patent snake print with a tee from the Kings of Thrash Metal, Metallica. Throw on your fave leather jacket (or buy one from our shop) and you’re good to go!


We hope you got some decent inspiration from our picks, if you do buy something in the Festival Shop, don’t forget to tag us with #foundinoxfam for the chance to get featured on our page!


‘Drastic on Plastic’

At the beginning of November, members of the office team attended the Association of Independent Festivals Congress in Sheffield, where independent festival organisers gathered to debate the key issues, challenges and opportunities facing the festival sector.

This year, the theme of the Congress was ‘Under the Sea’, and there were a number of talks, workshops and panel discussions based around the sea, water and how these relate to festivals.  A major focus of the 2 days was plastic, following on from the AIF’s Drastic on Plastic initiative that was introduced earlier this year, where 61 member festivals agreed to ban plastic straws from their shows in 2018 and eliminate all single-use plastic on site by 2021.

Kicking off the first day was a passionate presentation from RAW Foundation’s Melinda Watson, who spoke about her research on ‘pointless plastic’ and toxicity in our oceans and her campaigning work to change attitudes towards finding sustainable reusable solutions to single-use plastics.

Photo credit:

Following on from Melinda’s presentation, Day 2 began with a talk from Daniel Webb on his project ‘Everyday Plastic’. In 2017, Daniel collected every single piece of plastic he used over the year – this equated to a shocking 22 x 80 litre bags, and 4490 individual items of plastic.  Of the 4490 items he collected, 4177 classed as single-use plastic. Not only this, but he alarmingly discovered after further research and as part of his report, only 4% of the plastic he collected would be recycled at UK recycling facilities.

So how can you help? Well, RAW Foundation has created this handy ‘Festival Goers Guide‘ to reducing your single-use plastic. Tips include:

  • Bring your own water bottle – avoid using single-use bottled water by bringing your own stainless steel refillable water bottle.
  • Avoid non-recyclable plastic straws, polystyrene takeaway cups, and food containers.
  • Opt for Bio-glitter
  • Take home and reuse your tent!

We look forward to hearing about what you will change to help reduce the amount of single-use plastic you use, both at festivals and in everyday life.

See you in a field!

Oxfam Festivals Team