If, per chance, you follow me on Instagram, you might be familiar with my love of live music. From road trips to see Local Natives and Lucius to The Head and the Heart, it’s a great passion of mine that’s taken me to some very cool cities. Yet, I didn’t have to go very far this past weekend to find my two favorite things (#menswear and live tunes) at NYC’s Governors Ball 2017 music festival. I attended last year’s Governors Ball with tough leather boots, stylish Mott and Bow denim and hard-wearing outerwear — and to take on a temperate-yet-breezy weekend, I took much the same approach this time around, with a big-time focus on stylish music festival gear. Now, we just talked about how to dress for a music festival on the blog last week — and it’s a good thing I had some of those essentials with me for three days of terrific music, tasty bites and a cold beer or two.
Comfort and mobility are crucial when dressing for a music festival — you want pieces that can move with you, take on the weather and look sharp. That’s why I took on much of the weekend with the essential, classic and yet slightly edgy Levi’s Trucker Jacket in a slim fit and light wash — it was an ideal, rock concert-ready combo teamed up with my Abercrombie and Fitch Short-sleeve Henley. Better yet, the pairing kept me cool as I broke out a colorful pair of printed linen shorts from Todd Snyder. They fit right in alongside my easy-to-wear, exceedingly comfortable SWIMS Breeze Leap Laser Loafers — made with breathable mesh, these loafers were springy, light and stylish. For a sunny Friday that started with rollicking, energetic afternoon sets from Judah & the Lion and Canadian rockers The Strumbellas (plus Bleachers as happy hour rolled around), it was a fitting combination.
Having seen Bleachers twice now at festivals — including a 2014 trip to Outside Lands — I’m a big fan of Jack Antonoff’s brand of bright, summer-ready and ’80s-inspired rock. It stands out in a sea of endless pop, and Jack & co. certainly deliver live — I didn’t want it to end, but I kept on time with my Timex Waterbury Chronograph Diver (see what I did there?). For sustenance throughout the day, I chowed on tasty BBQ from Manhattan’s Mighty Quinn’s and a Golden Ale from Brewery Ommegang, a New York craft favorite — both big highlights.
Does it get any better than delicious craft beer, great food and standout live music? Only if Lorde brings down the house with a fun, upbeat and jam-packed set to close out day one in advance of Chance the Rapper (another energetic crowd-pleaser who delivered on a much-hyped set). That’s the way it went down, and it was a joy to watch her break out new songs from her latest album, “Melodrama.” She’s an act that really shot into the stratosphere with her debut album at just 16, and early indications are that her second album is no sophomore slump. I left the festival grounds wondering if day two could possibly top it. With another mostly sunny day in the cards for Saturday, I looked ahead to stepping out in rugged-refined and versatile music festival style — just as you should look to do!
As Saturday dawned, I was looking forward to a stylish, rain-free day (ideally) and an excellent series of live shows (assuredly). As you dress for your next festival, know that it’s tough to misstep when wearing a slim chambray shirt — with its rugged texture and even more rugged appeal, it’s a summer style essential. With that in mind, I threw on the Old Navy slim-fit chambray shirt in a classic yet eye-catching shade of red. For seeing bands that epitomize laidback cool, like personal favorite Local Natives, it felt like the right style move to make. I also wanted sneakers that could look sharp and stand up to just about anything — my trusty Legend Sneakers from SeaVees were absolutely the right choice, especially when worn alongside the mobile, tailored and breathable Ministry of Supply Going Places Shorts. I accented the casual combo with my durable, trusty MVMT Watches Calypso Watch from the brand’s adventure-ready (and refined) Modern Sport collection.
For enjoying tasty craft brews and more great bites at Governors Ball — along with a jam-packed day of music featuring everyone from the searing rock of Car Seat Headrest to joyful vibes of The Head and the Heart — I knew I was dressed the right way. And before I knew it, it was time for perhaps the best set of the day — a positively perfect early evening showing from Local Natives. If you haven’t yet checked out the the group’s excellent 2016 album, “Sunlit Youth,” … please do. Their set was jam-packed with crowd-pleasing numbers, including a cover of “Ultralight Beam” and an all-time favorite track, “Who Knows Who Cares,” to round out their performance. It set the stage for a really fun evening, to say the least. The nightcap included a triumphant return from French rockers Phoenix, riding a wave of energy behind soon-to-be-released new album “Ti Amo.” Without giving away too much, the group sounds as tight and polished as ever, particularly given that they’re ramping up behind their first live shows since 2014. There’s really nothing like hearing songs you’ve listened to on repeat for years. Was it just as incredible as day one? Absolutely. Was I ready for more live music on day three? Undoubtedly.
Sunday — sadly, the final day of one of the year’s best weekends — brought with it rain and breezy weather during the day. That meant casual and laidback style once again proved essential, starting with my rugged Nautica sunglasses. Sunday also meant it was high time to break out a striped camp shirt from dearly departed Style Guide favorite JackThreads. Although I was bummed that the brand recently closed its digital doors, I wasn’t bummed about checking out another excellent day of rock shows from up-and-comers like Chicago’s The Orwells or Scottish post-punk revival vets Franz Ferdinand — not to mention the chill vibes of Mac DeMarco to round out the afternoon. The rest of the day’s lineup proved eclectic and well worth watching, from the hard rock of Cage the Elephant to the stellar and sharp groove of Warpaint.
I opted for style that was just as eclectic, from my stylish JackThreads camp shirt to slim Abercrombie and Fitch light wash denim and a key finishing touch — my Clarks Trigenic Flex shoes in a head-turning white leather colorway. Blending the weight and flexibility of a sneaker with stitching & design details more commonly found on classic moccasins, they were a reliably mobile and stylish option for a final day of music. To prep for the rain, my Bridge and Burn Northfork Woodland Jacket provided a durable top layer, and my sturdy Timex for J. Crew watch didn’t let me down — it’s withstood the test of plenty of live shows (that goes for my February trip to New Haven to see Young the Giant, too). The next time you hit up an outdoor festival, make sure to pack sturdy outerwear and comfortable-yet-stylish sneakers, plus a rugged field watch.
As I look back on this weekend, I’m glad above all else that excellent, fun and enjoyable festivals like Governors Ball are just a quick — well, relatively quick — subway ride away. I’ll never pass up the chance to see inspiring, energetic and enjoyable bands like Local Natives or The Head and the Heart, and the opportunity to see global superstars like Lorde and Chance the Rapper is an experience I won’t soon forget. Every year, Governors Ball becomes more and more enjoyable — and I have more and more fun putting together looks, taking in live music and enjoying all things NYC. I hope your music festival experiences this season are just as enjoyable — don’t forget, we’ve got plenty of tips on how to dress for a music festival this summer, and you can stay tuned for a new #OOTD post on the blog tomorrow.
Thanks for reading — rock on!