Hello, it’s just a quick post today because sadly one of Mal’s aunties has died so we’ve been spending a bit of time over in Newcastle with the family for the funeral this week. She had a long and happy life so it’s been a bit of a celebration too but obviously it’s still difficult for those who were closest to her. I didn’t have very long to put a post together before we left but what to wear to a festival over 50 has been much requested recently so I’m going to update you with the changes I saw at the one we went to a couple of weeks ago. And of course this isn’t just for festivals, it’s summer style at its most casual, whether you’re sitting in a pub garden, going to a village gala or just walking the dog.

Before I move on to that though, I just want to thank you for all of your birthday wishes last weekend. I had a lovely relaxing time with my favourite people popping round and then lunch at The Mason’s Arms near Cartmel. Some of you saw the boys’ witty ‘birthday cake’ below on Instagram – not everybody understood but the secret lies in it being my Heinz 57 birthday!

Nikki Garnett 57th birthday

What to wear to a festival over 50

So – festivals. What to wear to a festival over 50 is something I’ve been thinking about a lot. We’ve booked quite a few different live music events over the next few months because that’s how we’ve decided to spend our summer this year. You see we’re going to have the two younger boys at home until mid-September at least and I want to make the most of what feels like a bonus family summer by being around. I’m going to be based at my desk during the week trying to break the back of the book I’m hoping to write and I’m not taking on any work projects during July and August so that I can really focus on it. And then every few weekends we’re popping off to see bands playing in different places in a deliberate attempt to support smaller festivals which will give me a chance to empty my head for a while.

What’s going on in the UK summer music events scene?

We kicked the season off with the local festival that we went to a couple of weekends ago. As I said at the time it was much more low key than usual because the line-up was quite weak. The organisers explained that although festivals originally emerged as grass roots community events they’re now being swallowed up by big organisations. As ever, the money-makers have spotted an opportunity for profit and so now lots of festivals are being run by cartel with the organisers negotiating the performers early on in the season, tying them into exclusive contracts so that they can’t perform elsewhere. Because it takes such a lot of time and energy, bands only tend to do festival seasons every few years so there are a limited number of big names on the circuit each season. Of course for them it’s much easier to sign up with a group on one set of ts&cs and that means the smaller festivals are being frozen out. It’s such a shame.

The other problem is that ticket prices are going through the roof, particularly since corporates started buying them up as a low involvement way of entertaining clients. We hit this head on when we went to see Duran Duran along with Nile Rodgers and Chic at BST Hyde Park a couple of years ago. We were surrounded by people who were more interested in the contents of their gifted Fortnum’s hampers than the music – when Chic came on they didn’t even bother to twitch a toe. It makes me mad. Because of the corporates, people who genuinely love the bands are priced out and the gifted guests kill the atmosphere. It’s so disheartening for the passionate people who are trying to put on great events in the UK’s smaller towns and cities so this year if you get a chance, try to support smaller music events away from the corporate circuit. Otherwise music is going to go the way of theatre, available only to those with deep pockets or corporate positions.

Ok, rant over, let’s get back to clothes and what to wear to a festival over 50!

Festival style 2024

As our first festival was acoustic and low key I was able to spend a lot of time sitting in the sunshine people-watching and I soon noticed that there’s been a big change in what people are wearing this year. After lockdown, festival style was crazy. Everybody was so overjoyed to be out in a crowd of happy people again that outfits were exuberant – sequins and feathers, garlands and glitter paint, huge angel wings and mermaid tails… It was a reflection of collective celebration and it drove festival style for 2022 and 23.

This year it’s all calmed down. Of course I’m sure Glastonbury will have its moments (ankle and shoe wellies are already tipped to be big) but I notice that retailers haven’t released big festival edits this year. It isn’t surprising – they’re having such a tough time that anything risky is out of the question as you’ll be sensing from the lack of innovation in the new season collections generally. It mirrors the consumer reluctance to spend frivolously – people want more than one wear out of their clothes at the moment and that has to be a good thing.

So – what are people wearing?
  • The young (sub-25) were all wearing short shorts with bustier tops. You know the ones, in corsetry style with hooks and eyes going up the back. It was so prevalent that it felt as if there had been a memo. It’s another illustration of the way that GenZ and A are defining looks that are difficult for their mums to ape – a kickback to lockdown when everyone was in the same loose cut clothing worn with white trainers.
  • From age 30 plus the trend-driven looks were clear. Jeans are super-wide and generally worn in a paler wash with a bikini top at the younger end of the scale. Over 40s were also in super-wide jeans albeit darker blue, worn with a fitted t-shirt or sleeveless vest.
  • The one thing that doesn’t look cool now is the loose floral midi-dress with white trainers. I’m not saying you shouldn’t wear it if you love it, just that you might have one of those moments of feeling outdated when you get there and look around. Personally I don’t think any skirt or dress works at a festival.
  • The other thing that’s looking a bit tired (and this is a hard one, we love them because they’re so easy to wear) is pure white trainers. Sadly they’re looking mumsy – especially Vejas. Actually apart from their very good eco-credentials Vejas are no great loss because they were so much more uncomfortable than any other brand. What to wear instead? Well the gentle move on is white with a bold colour accent – the ubiquitous Samba or, to avoid Rishi Sunak associations, the Gazelle or Spezial. If you want to be ahead of the curve though, Puma is tipped to be the way to go – I’ll give you some examples in a minute.
  • Men are the ones carrying bags this year, not women which is great because it leaves you to go hands free.There’s a particular square style that’s popular – I’ll show you below.
  • In the long run although trends, as always, are an indicator of awareness and relevance none of this really matters. Wear whatever you feel comfortable in. I give you these updates because some readers ask me for them but wear what you love.

This is what I wore and obviously it was before I’d had the chance to people-watch but I felt fine:

Friday night (low key acoustic)

Arriving to the shock of warm sunshine – somehow it always comes from nowhere on the day this festival starts. This racer top is the most flattering I’ve found anywhere this year, the quality of the cotton is so good, the cut is perfect and it’s an absolute bargain. Annoyingly it’s only available in two colours, this is a black and white stripe but the stripe’s so fine that it can pass for navy and there’s a black version too. If, like me, you hate your bra straps showing, these little clips are brilliant for converting your ordinary bra into a racerback. The jeans keep being restocked but they sell out within hours so put an alert on if you like them. The trainers aren’t pure white, they have a fat orange swoosh so I was saved from style annihilation!

What to wear to a festival over 50

Racer tee (gifted SS24), wide fluid jeans, trainers

I guess it must have looked ok because we made it into the official event coverage (Mal, as ever, in back and white!)…

Mal and Nikki Garnett

Saturday (a full day and night of sunshine with Gok Wan and Busted!)

It was so hot! Gok Wan as ever was an effervescent DJ, Beatles Dub Club and Funkademia were cool as were some of the up and coming bands. Even Busted were great performers and I enjoyed watching the waves of nostalgia flooding over the 20-30 somethings. For those of you who’ve asked me to shout if I ever find longer halternecks for sale, here you go. Available in black or cream, I’m wearing a medium and it’s true to size, it isn’t the longest but it isn’t a crop top, you can tuck it in.

What to wear to a festival over 50

Halterneck top; split-cuff trousers; trainers (limited edition Adidas Originals – sold out)

Here are some more ideas for you and as I said at the beginning, they work for any kind of summer event at the most relaxed end of the dress code. I’m starting with red and blue – remember more people will chat to you if you’re wearing colour so choose this or the last one if you’re looking for conversations, the middle one if you prefer to be left alone.

What to wear to a festival over 50 – outfit ideas

What to wear to a festival over 50

  • Cropped denim jacket the frayed edge on this means that it sits close to the body for a good silhouette
  • Flared jeans this is the best place to buy wide jeans because the cut’s so flattering, it’s at the top end of the price scale but worth it if you wear jeans a lot
  • Music t-shirt the right words for a festival in a good font and the t-shirt’s a great shape when you put it on, not too clingy, not too loose
  • Oversized cat eye sunglasses large enough to make a statement but classic enough to last, high UV protection and a great price
  • Square festival bag I saw so many people carrying this bag in one colour or another, usually men but it has pockets so you can allow them to carry your lipstick, eyeliner etc for you!
  • Red, white and blue trainers one of the key styles this summer, the leather is supersoft and they’re some of the most comfortable trainers I own


What to wear to a festival over 50

  • Sweatshirt you’re always going to need a layer in the UK, with its slightly scooped neck this is a really nice fit
  • Jeans with front pocket: front pockets are so flattering if you’re a bit conscious about your tummy area, they break things up (15% off until Monday)
  • Racer tee: my favourite one again, it’s just so good
  • Square festival bag the bag in black this time, currently in the sale
  • Aviator sunglasses always cool when worn with casual outfits
  • Trainers a pop of colour to lift your outfit, they’re a really food shape on the foot, helping your legs to look longer, lots of other colour options available

What to wear to a festival over 50

  • Red sweatshirt people will chat to you if you wear this! Great value and a good shape for everyone with its raglan sleeves, size down though, I have it in a small and it’s still generous (15% off until Monday)
  • Red side stripe trousers I know they’ll take you back to the 80s but the Vogue editors are wearing these, I have them in blue and they feel great, just keep the rest of the outfit slightly elevated – they look great worn with cashmere in the winter… high/low style
  • White racer vest: another well cut vest that’s flattering on the shoulder line – remember that vests with straight armholes will make the tops of your arms look chunky so it’s always better to wear a cutaway
  • Red and ivory trainers the trainer that everyone who was upset by Rishigate is turning to, along with the Speedcat

So I hope that’s helped you with what to wear to a festival over 50, especially if you’re only going to one. There’s always a gradual evolution in style and this year’s no different. We have a music event of a different kind this weekend, we’re going to Dayfever which if you haven’t heard about it is being driven by actress Vicky McClure and her husband Owen. The concept is a day disco for the over 30s, it starts at 3pm and ends at 8pm although Newcastle will probably then segue on into Nightfever mode. I suspect it’s going to be super cheesy, so much so that I might give my sequinned jumpsuit an airing… we’ll see, I’ll tell you all about it next week. Happy bank holiday weekend.

Disclosure: What to wear to a festival over 50′ is not a sponsored post

Bank Holiday Offers

Hush – 15% off everything here until Monday

John Lewis – 15% off beauty here including Bobbi Brown, Dior, Clarins, Lauder, Lancome, Nars and other brands

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Boden – 25% off various here

M&S – summer beauty bag for £30 when you spend £35 here

Baukjen – Warehouse sale here with extra 20% off this weekend only, code EXTRA20

Whistles – 20% off everything here

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Uniqlo – Arigato festival offers here

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