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Festival Fancy Dress

By Sean Mahon

Posted: 23rd February 2015 12:07

As much as crowd surfing and not showering, fancy dress has become something of a ritual of the festival scene. Most of the time you can dress up in whatever you want and no one will blink an eye, even if you are wearing a Scooby Doo onesie or are rocking a superhero cape. However, some festivals organise set fancy dress themes or inspire particular costumes, so you’ll going to have to put in far more effort than just borrowing a sweaty morph suit or nicking your sister’s neon tutu.

If you’re going to a festival this year that encourages a fancy dress theme, you’d better take it seriously. You don’t want to be the only one dressed as Captain America if everyone else looks as though they’ve just arrived for a pirate convention, because you’ll find yourself ostracised from the fun; shunted to the main stage side lines and forlornly cropped out of every picture. Ok, so we’re exaggerating slightly, but you do need to believe us on this one – even though your mother has been trying to convince you that it’s ok to be different for the last five years, on this particular occasion, it’s better to go with the crowds. 

Epic fancy dress can be your ticket to (five minutes of) fame. If you’re attending a festival that’s televised, you should pick a costume that’ll help you get featured on TV; overpaid presenters regularly pick out their favourite costumes and present them in all their glory to the world, so it’s a good idea to put your best creative foot forward.  To help get the creative juices flowing, we’ve put together a guide of some costumes to consider if you’re visiting a themed festival this summer. The best costumes can obviously be a little pricey, so don’t be scared to experiment and make your own. 

Standon Calling

Lost in Latin America

Engulf yourself in a world of mystery with the Mayans and the Incas. Embrace the rhythm of the Samba beat. And drink tequila at the cantina with your fellow mariachis or lucha libres (Mexican wrestlers). This year the Standon Calling theme is Lost in Latin America which gives you plenty of scope from the 26 countries that make up this region. For those in need of a geography lesson, these includes: Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Cuba.  Think colour! Think heat! Think salsa!

Mayan Queen

Brazilian Carnivale

Mexican Wrestler

Bandit / Mariachi / Tequila Shooter

Viva la Revolucion! (Che Guevera or Fidel Castro)


Desert Island Disco

Think Saturday Night Fever with palm trees glimmering in strobe lighting, and divas in coconut bras with sparklers stuck in their pina coladas. It’s the only dance floor that will leave you with sand in your pockets and it’s coming to Bestival; go for the hula theme, stick to 70s disco, or why not merge the two? Imagine if Castaway had been set to a soundtrack of Boogie Nights, Hot Stuff, and Dancing Queen, and you’ll be well on your way towards strutting your stuff on the festival catwalk.

Hula Dancer

70s Foxy Lady

Shark Attack

White Suited Groove

Hawaiian Hero

Camp Bestival

The Circus

From acrobats to lion-tamers, crowd-pleasing clowns (and their creepy alter-egos) to the master of puppets, the leader of festivities: the ring master. The circus is coming to town and we’re getting set for all the fun of the fair at this year’s Camp Bestival. Will you create a childish caricature straight from the big top, or go glamorous with a costume inspired by the mysterious and elegant Cirque du Soleil?

Ring Master (male) (female)

Creepy Clown

Hypnotic and Acrobatic



Secret Garden Party

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

Secret Garden Party have gone all mysterious and intangible this year with their thematic tribute to the casting aside of consumerism, money, and fame (and Elton John, whose 1973 album was of the same title). It has grand aspirations of the discovery of man’s true purpose on this planet, which (surprise surprise), is not to make money or win X-Factor. It’s a theme that’s wide open to interpretation, so here’s our take on it all.

Adam and Eve (female) (male)

Dead Dorothy

Evil Ronald McDonald


Elton John

General Fancy Dress

Not all festivals set a particular theme, but that’s no reason not to join in the fun! The more outlandish the costume, the better; truly embrace the festival bubble and go for something you’d never dare to wear normally, because nobody cares if you look silly. Dressing up has the added bonus of attracting the attention of any media at the event, so wear something bright, unusual, and eye-catching and you never know – you might just become the next face of the festival.


Where’s Wally?


Morph Suits

From Prodigy to Prince*: Go As Your Favourite Headliner

*We are by no means suggesting that Prince will be headlining a UK festival this year; Glastonbury or otherwise.

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