In addition to performances and food, attendees’ eccentric — sometimes strategic — fashion is a key element of festival culture. From fun garments that pay tribute to their favorite bands to clothing suitable for 10 hours in the sun, concert-goers that show up ready to serve are part of the experience.
While Boston Calling’s crowd might not rival the likes of Coachella, the commitment to festival fashion was still going strong at the Harvard Athletic Complex. Friday’s outfits ran the gamut of everyday attire to meticulously coordinated group looks to a tiara featuring a member of the headlining band. The temperature in Cambridge was tepid on the first day of performances — the lineup included the likes of Foo Fighters, Chelsea Cutler, Dropkick Murphys, and Brandie Blaze — and we were curious what displays of style this year would bring. What did we find? Bright, bold colors and patterns, plentiful sparkle, and personal flourishes gave us insights into these attendees’ lives.
Chloe Patch, 23, Kaitlyn Sass, 24, Kaleigh Wandell, 26, and Delaney Diaz, 22, planned a series of coordinated outfits for the entire three-day weekend. The four friends — Sass hails from California, while Patch, Wandell, and Diaz are from Massachusetts — kicked off Friday with shimmery, pastel Western-inspired outfits. Or, as Diaz put it, “a little rodeo theme.”
Bostonian Hayden Barber, 29, went for a tropical floral set, sun hat, and a swipe of face glitter. Pre-festival, the first-time Boston Calling attendee researched online to figure out what to wear: “I like something that stands out and is colorful.”
Maria Vanhook traveled from Philadelphia to see Friday’s headliners, Foo Fighters. The 54-year-old fan said she’s no stranger to conquering long distances to see the band — Boston Calling was her 58th time seeing the rockers live.
This time, she wore a tiara embellished with photos of the band’s guitarist. “This is my ode to my lover, Pat Smear from Foo Fighters,” Vanhook said.
Hyde Park resident Angel Brooks, 29, wore vibrant shades of orange, violet, and rust with rings from the metaphysical shop Open Doors in Braintree. They said they were most looking forward to seeing Boston-based hip-hop artist Brandie Blaze on the festival’s Tivoli Audio Orange Stage.
“I know about them from the freestyle scene in Boston,” they added, “so to see them on a big stage like this is amazing.”
Chloe Sarrazin, 24, and Rachel Cook, 23, traveled from Connecticut to see Niall Horan perform on the Blue Stage. Sarrazin explained that she had curated her outfit through Pinterest: “I literally looked up ‘Boston Calling what are people wearing.”
Katie Lajoie, 30, opted for a fuzz- and feather-embellished pink and denim outfit with matching sunglasses, inspired by the recently released “Barbie” film trailer.
“I thought more people would dress up,” she said, adding that she had hoped for more vibrant attire from her fellow festival attendees. “People have dressed up, but not as much as I thought.
[I thought Boston Calling] would be the place, but apparently not.”
Matthew Shanks, 30, said he was going for a “colorful Macklemore vibe,” and wore a thrifted vest with a necklace he brought home from Brazil.
“I’d say [it’s] more of a festival vibe,” the Bay Village resident said. “I just really wanted something I could jump around [in].”
Elaine Xu, 21, of Lexington wore a hot pink tulle dress, ruffle-trim sandals, and beaded bracelets made by her sister. She was inspired by Taylor Swift’s “Lover” album but explained that she couldn’t afford a ticket to the Gillette Stadium shows earlier this month.
“I felt like it would be perfect to wear on a day like this where it’s not too hot, not too cold,” Xu said. “And I felt like it was quite dressy.”
One-year-old Niamh Lonergan’s Foo Fighter-loving family helped her pledge her musical allegiance at Friday’s show. Her bright blue band T-shirt was paired with pink bell bottoms and a sunbonnet.
“We just got her those pants for her first birthday, and we just loved them so much,” explained Niamh’s mother, Callan Lonergan of Long Island, N.Y. ”We threw [on] that with a Foo Fighters T-shirt and felt perfect for the day.”
Molli Hamstra, 25, flew from Atlanta to see Niall Horan, who inspired her bright pink parachute pants, combat boots, and storm-print shirt.
“His second album was called ‘Heartbreak Weather,’ so there’s lightning bolts and stuff,” she explained.