Taken from the new print issue of THE FACE. Get your copy here.
In the summer months, self-functioning mini cities pop up all over the UK. They’ve got makeshift showers, lines of terraced tents, cold baked beans and enough sounds and styles to cater to the many subcultures walking our high streets. We’re talking about the Great British festival: the ultimate pursuit of pleasure (’til Monday morning comes round again, anyway).
Pick any at random and you’ll find post-GCSE 16-year-olds on their rite-of-passage weekends, clambering into mum’s seven-seater with a crate of lukewarm beer and a rucksack of starry-eyed enthusiasm. Kate Moss-o-philes wearing denim short-shorts, Hunters and perma eye-rolls, subsisting on Marlboro Lights and their fuzzy-haired boyfriend’s overpriced pints. Toddlers in strollers coexisting side by side with spliff-smoking hippies, barefoot for the weekend’s entirety, while the lads on stag dos, often topless and sunburnt, shout “DAVE?” in the campsite ’til the early hours. The sensible ones pack anoraks and fit in three meals a day – the thrill- seekers opt for a couple of cereal bars and a little prayer.
These days, with youth subcultures coming and going faster than you can refresh a TikTok feed, festivals have become a mosh pit of styles up and down the country. Ultimately, though, they’re about allowing you to do you: turning your back on rubbish normal life for an extended weekend of getting pissed in a field and letting out a primal scream. After last year’s pandemic-compromised, blighted-by-cancellations festival calendar, summer 2022 is our first chance to go fully out out in three years – and you’d better believe Britain’s youth will be first in the queue. Just like this lot here, in fact…
Indie rock, hip hop, pop and chart-bothering ballads at the easygoing weekender with Lewis Capaldi, Little Simz and Rina Sawayama at Suffolk’s Henham Park, 21st-24th July. And there are more catchy hooks from Latitude alumni where that came from, you lot: this summer, Sam Fender headlines Finsbury Park, London on 15th July, Haim’s The One More Haim Tour sees them play the O2 on 21st July and Rex Orange County performs at Gunnersbury Park, London on 13th August.
Name Lili Age 20 Hometown London Which festivals have you been to? I’ve been to Latitude. Are you going to any this year? I normally tag along with my friend because she gets backstage passes, so when she gets those, that’s when I will find out! But hopefully Latitude again this year. What are some of your festival essentials? I don’t really know… We had a very makeshift tent last year. Actually, we had a blow-up mattress, which was actually insanely great. What makes British festivals so bloody good? Everything is a bit grim in England, so when the sun comes out, everyone appreciates it 10 times more. Who is currently on your playlists? A lot of South American music.
Lili wears jumper ARCHIVE ON ONE AT STRIKE ARCHIVES and hairclips stylist’s own.
Name Abi Age 20 Hometown Brighton What’s your festival of choice? I’ve been to Latitude, Bestival [now in Dorset on 28th-31st July] and Boomtown [in Winchester on 10th-14th August]. Why those? They were all kind of coincidental. Boomtown was post A‑levels, so it was like a coming-of-age thing, first time people are out and about by themselves. And Latitude, my friend was playing and she took me with her. Free tickets! What are some of your festival essentials? Obviously sick shoes, a lot of fags, accessories, glasses. Do you dress up? Yeah, I think so! In general, I would just wear whatever but at festivals it’s socially acceptable to go a bit out-there. What have your experiences been like? Hmm… mud, losing your friends, spending all your time looking for your friends and getting crunk. What have been some of your highlights? I saw The Chemical Brothers last summer and that was crazy. The crowd was so ready to go wild. What makes British festivals so bloody good? I don’t think anywhere else has festival culture like us. It’s all about getting down and partying through the mud. Who’s on your playlist? I fuck with Labrinth a weird amount. Is that bad? Take me back to 2010, I miss it.
Abi wears jacket, bikini top and shorts ISABEL MARANT, shorts (worn underneath) stylist’s own and shoes, goggles and jewellery talent’s own.
Never mind the aux at Wireless – the clue’s in the name. Tune in, tune out on 1st-3rd July in Crystal Palace and 8th-10th July in Finsbury Park and Birmingham to catch artists such as Cardi B, SZA, Skillibeng and H.E.R. If you can’t make it, check out H.E.R. supporting Coldplay at Wembley Stadium on Friday 12th, Saturday 13th, Tuesday 16th and Wednesday 17th August.
Name Mahlah Age 23 Hometown Reading What’s your chosen festival? Wireless! I’ve been three times. It’s kind of the only place where you can get hip hop, R&B and British and American scenes all in one place. Do you go the whole hog? Yeah, I go both days usually. What are some of your festival essentials? Hand sanitiser, hand cream, cigarettes, usually a water bottle and a make-up sponge. Are you a mosher? I am absolutely not a mosher. Would you ever do a camping festival? I’ve done Reading, but camping is not for me. I prefer to go home at the end of the day and shower. What makes British festivals so bloody good? The culture. I’ve been to Coachella and it’s such a different experience – everything was just for Instagram. Who’s on your playlist? I’m listening to Doechii, SiR and Tame Impala a lot. And Noname, Snoh Aalegra, Little Simz, Cleo Sol…
Mahlah wears vest and trousers ERMENEGILDO ZEGNA, hat STEFAN COOKE, shoes CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN, boxers stylist’s own and jewellery talent’s own.
Name David Age 19 Hometown Reading What’s your festival of choice? Wireless. Last year was my first, but I’m planning on going this year as well. It had all the artists that I listen to and all my mates were going. What was your highlight? Seeing Drake! He’s in my top five artists. I’d never seen him before and I know his ticket prices are normally really expensive. So to see him for the price I did, and how good the performance was, I really enjoyed it. What are some of your festival essentials? A powerbank, my phone, a little bag. Are you a mosher? Yeah, definitely! Any other festivals lined up this summer? I’m planning on going to Wireless again, and Parklife. And I’m open to going to Reading. What makes British festivals so bloody good? Seeing all the British artists on stage and everyone embracing them – it’s so good to see. A while ago, most of these festivals would be dominated by American artists. Who’s on your playlist? I’m listening to a lot of Afrobeats. As an African boy, I like to embrace my culture.
David wears jacket and jumper CELINE HOMME BY HEDI SLIMANE, trousers OLI SLATTERY, hat ARCHIVE HYSTERIC GLAMOUR AT ZERO COOL ARCHIVE and shoes and jewellery talent’s own.
Name Lila Age 16 Hometown London What’s your festival of choice? Wireless. The line up was pretty good in 2019 and it was around my birthday so it seemed like the perfect time to go. What were some of your highlights? Rae Sremmurd was pretty good. And AJ Tracey because everyone knew his songs. That got quite intense – everyone wanted to go see him and he was at the small stage. Got any festivals lined up this summer? I’ve got tickets from last year to NASS [in Shepton Mallet, near Bristol, 7th-10th July], because it got cancelled due to Covid but I’m not sure if I’m going yet. I also want to see Gorillaz. What are some of your festival essentials? Water, some cash, deodorant, lip balm, a cross bag to keep my phone, wallet and keys. What makes British festivals so bloody good? I think it’s one of those things young people come together for. It’s one of those rare occasions where everyone’s just enjoying themselves. Who is currently on your playlist? A lot of older music like Radiohead. I also want to see some jazz musicians, that sort of thing.
Lila wears top and skirt ANDREAS KRONTHALER FOR VIVIENNE WESTWOOD, shoes STRIKE ARCHIVES and scrunchies stylist’s own.
READING & LEEDS
It’s the ultimate teenage rite of passage, baby. Taking place on Richfield Avenue, Reading and Bramham Park, Leeds across 26th-28th August, join Arctic Monkeys, PinkPantheress and Beabadoobee on the three-dayer. And if you weren’t there to see her take the Main Stage in 2019, check out Billie Eilish, whose Happier Than Ever World Tour is making its way across the UK from 3rd June at Belfast’s SSE Arena.
Name Hugo Age 21 Hometown London What’s your festival of choice? Reading. I’ve only been twice, though. It was the end of school and they had all my favourite acts there. It was really good fun and I made a bit of a mess of myself, but that’s how it’s meant to be. What did you pack? A tent. That’s about it, really, isn’t it? So you’re quite a light packer? Alright, and clothes, sunglasses, chewing gum! Do you have any good stories worth mentioning? I don’t think any that can be published in a magazine if I’m being entirely honest. What were some of your highlights? It’s a bit of a blur, but I remember seeing Fall Out Boy. I’m pretty sure I saw Eminem at one point, and Kano – although I can’t remember if that was at Reading or not… What makes British festivals so bloody good? Compared to clubs or concerts, festivals always seem to be a very loving place, which I quite like. What’s on your playlist? Fontaines D.C. are very heavy on my playlist. And Stereophonics, Kano, a bit of Oasis… You can’t really be an English festivalgoer without listening to Oasis, can you?
Hugo wears jacket, jumper and trousers STONE ISLAND, shoes KIKO KOSTADINOV and jewellery stylist’s own.
Name Destiny Age 18 Hometown London What’s your festival of choice? Reading! My older sister is proper into indie music and I feel like a lot of what I listen to is really influenced by her. What are some of your festival essentials? A bum bag, water, deodorant, hand cream and a lighter. I’m al- ways the lighter friend, though I don’t necessarily smoke, but I love to bring lighters so people can ask me for a light. What were some of your highlights? Seeing Wolf Alice – I have a special place in my heart that belongs to them. Have you got any festivals or gigs lined up this summer? I’m seeing PinkPantheress in Paris and I’m definitely going to Wireless in July. And once I get more funds, I’m going to buy my Reading tickets. What’s on your playlist? I have to say Declan McKenna – I’m in love with the guy and his music. And Wolf Alice.
Destiny wears jacket, bra and leggings GUESS, shoes talent’s own and jewellery and socks stylist’s own.
Name Lukas Age 17 Hometown London What’s your festival of choice? Reading. I’ve been once. Did you have the best time ever? Yeah, being away with my friends and not having our parents around was a lot of fun. What did you pack? A sleeping bag, pair of jeans, tracksuits, shorts, a couple T‑shirts and a shirt. Did you pack any baked beans? No baked beans but we brought loads of noodles and stuff like that. We had a little campfire and we would boil water and muck around eating food. What were some of your highlights? I think it might have been Catfish and the Bottlemen. I was in the dance tent most of the time, though – I’m really into jungle, techno and house. What’s on your playlist? A bit of Slowthai, Butthole Surfers, techno and house, and The Cure.
Lucas wears jumper and jeans POLO RALPH LAUREN, belt STEFAN COOKE, shoes MARTINE ROSE and necklace and socks stylist’s own.
Crank up the airflow, metal fans. Download (10th-12th June at Donington Park, Leicestershire) is for the moshers, movers and shakers – like headliners Kiss, Iron Maiden and Korn. And if the old school lot is your kinda thing, check out Guns N’ Roses’ UK tour, with their first UK shows at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on 1st and 2nd July.
Name Bogeng Age 22 Hometown China, but studying in London. What’s your festival of choice? Download! I haven’t been but I want to go. Have you been to any before? I went to some in China, they’re really sick. What music are you into? I love punk rock. The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, New Order, The Libertines, Sex Pistols. Are you a mosher? Yeah, I like the feeling of bumping into people. It makes me feel like I exist. I also love pogo dancing. Have you got any festivals lined up this summer? Hopefully Download, and I want to see October and The Eyes in concert. Who’s on your playlist? Wonder Girls, punk, Vincent Gallo, Big Bang, Thom Yorke, Yellow Magic Orchestra.
Bogeng wears jacket, top, shorts and gaiters MONCLER and shoes stylist’s own.
Name Oduenyi Age 19 Hometown Dublin, but currently living in Wembley. What’s your chosen festival? Download! I’m going this year. I saw the line-up and saw AC/DC and Kiss and I was like, OK, I have to go. What are you going to pack? Spiky collars, fishnet tights, water, some things to throw into the crowd like glow sticks and pom poms. Rollies, a powerbank and sunglasses. Have you been to any others? In Ireland we have Longitude, it’s like Wireless. Apart from that, I’ve been to more intimate, underground shows with up and coming artists like Bukky or Acid Angel – young people who inspire me. What makes British and Irish festivals so bloody good? I love the fashion – people experimenting and really pushing the boundaries. And also the dancing and youth culture. Are you a mosher? Yes! I’m a safe mosher, though. I like to start a mosh and then disappear. Who is currently on your playlist? AC/DC, my good mate Bukky and Acid Angel.
Oduenyi wears cardigan and top (worn underneath) stylist’s own, top LEVI’S®, trousers PALACE SKATEBOARDS and shoes stylist’s own.
On the fifth day, God created Manchester. And on the sixth, he popped in Parklife as a treat. Taking over Heaton Park on 11th-12th June with Tyler, the Creator, Megan Thee Stallion and Tems (also performing in London on 7th July as part of Somerset House’s Summer Series) providing the party. Elsewhere in the great city this summer, Liam Gallagher’s UK tour kicks off at his beloved Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium on 1st June, before returning to Knebworth – site of those Oasis shows – on 3rd and 4th June, and Glasgow’s Hampden Park on 26th June.
Name Sophia Age 20 Hometown Chichester What’s your chosen festival? Parklife. I went last year. I go to uni in Manchester, so it was close by and all my mates were going. I like the music, too. Did you lose any of your mates? I lost one of my mates during Shy FX in one of the tents, it was so crowded. We got pushed from the front all the way to the back and I lost her in the mosh pit. What were some of the highlights? Definitely seeing Four Tet and Disclosure. What do you take with you to festivals? My phone, a camera, a water bottle and lip balm – no chapped lips here. What do you wear? When I go to festivals I usually wear what I’d wear to go out-out, like just my basic clothes, maybe jazz it up, a bit more make-up. What makes British festivals so bloody good? Everyone’s on the same vibe and there for the same thing. And it’s nice to meet new people. Are you a mosher? I am definitely not a mosher. Who are you listening to at the moment? I love a bit of Solomun. I’m really bad with music, I listen to the same songs over and over again!
Sophia wears bikini top and skirt MISSONI and shoes, socks and jewellery stylist’s own.
GROOMING Benjamin David. CASTING Emma Mattell and Billie Jo Cronin. TALENT Lili, Mahlah, Sophia, Oduenyi, Lila, Hugo, Bogeng, Abi, Lucas, David, Destiny. PRODUCER Katherine Bampton. ON-SET PRODUCER Adam Lilley. PHOTOGRAPHER’S ASSISTANT Arron Voice. STYLIST’S ASSISTANT Nayoung Lee Kim. PHOTOGRAPHY INTERNS Connor Sewell and Beth Viney. PRODUCTION INTERN Rachelle Cox.