Getting ready to go to a music festival and getting ready to play a music festival are two very different experiences. Instead of looking up DIY flower crowns and detangling fringed accessories, you're fussing over an itinerary and debating tour wardrobe options.
I mean, I'm pretty low maintenance off the clock. I try not to get caught up in primping and looking good for a bunch of strangers I'll probably never see again. But the game changes when it's a "work trip" where looking good is sort of an obligation.
Long story short, my band was booked to play the NXNE music festival in Toronto this June, and it didn't dawn on me until the day before I was leaving that it was kind of a big deal and I should bring my A game (or at least my A- game).
I won't go too much into wardrobe, even though I did obsess over it a little. I ended up packing mostly monochrome, mix and match stuff and enough shoe options to be comfortable in any scenario.
Beauty-wise, I commemorated this Canadian occasion by… pinking my hair. Goodbye, blue tips. I used Manic Panic in Pretty Flamingo mixed with conditioner.
And then of course I brought all of the tools to create my go-to cat-eye. I didn't know what the green room situation would be (I later found out there wasn't one) so I packed my makeup bag according to what I know works. I had no plans of trying anything fancy or complicated that would require a thousand Q-tips and multiple do-overs. Plus, I'm in a band with three dudes whose general attitude toward beauty is, "Oh, you have makeup on?" They didn't even notice that I'd colored my hair pink...
I know a slew of Toronto babes (many of whom are xoBabes) who would've let me crash with them for the night. But alas, my bandmates are men of certain standards, so we booked two rooms at the Hilton. Fancy, right? No one even had to share a bed.
Getting ready for a gig is a lot less stressful when you have a hotel room, I will say that. But I still ended up doing my eyeliner with a hand mirror in the car.
The temperature in Toronto was a lovely mid 70s during the daytime, and about 20 degrees chillier at night. Silly me without my tights! Jeans it was. Three days. One pair. (FYI, one and a half of those days was spent in a car.)
It's funny, when you wear all black with pink hair, everyone in the diners and gas stations of rural upstate New York gives you weird stares. I guess I take for granted the ubiquity of unnaturally colored hair in cities with lots of youth culture.
When we finally got to the Hilton, after GPS debacle/Verizon fail, I was pleasantly surprised to find Peter Thomas Roth products, which I promptly pilfered before check-out.
Having, like, 20 minutes to get ready before we had to drive to the venue and register for the festival, I slapped on some eyebrows and liquid liner. Venues are usually dark, so I don’t obsess about makeup. I sorely doubted they'd have a lighting technician.
First thing I saw when I got to the gig was a very tall Hannah, wearing some slammin' bell bottoms and platforms. We barely had the chance to get a hug in before a girl stopped us on the street and asked, "Do you guys write for xoVain?" My American heart skipped a beat. Shout out to Canada! Thanks for being rad!
We soon met up with Samantha, Zoe, and Alyssa and became xoGirl Gang, the mostly Canadian edition. In case you're wondering if these girls are as cool and funny and beautiful IRL as they are on xoVain, THEY ARE. In fact, they far exceed expectations.
Samantha bought me a burger because I couldn’t get my debit card to work and everywhere we went was cash only. And Alyssa has a pastel pink bicycle because, duh, how could she not?
Other than having a good show and all that noise (I am usually super jittery right as we are about to start performing, so I’m mostly thinking, “OH GOD PLEASE LET THIS GO DOWN WITHOUT INCIDENT”), I realized that a.) I managed to pack three or four different outfits, yet wore a variation of basically the same outfit every day and b.) I packed a bunch of makeup items, yet used only three things: brow pencil, eyeliner, mascara.
My newly pink hair was simply air-dried and parted down the center. Usually I sleep in a bun formation and then use heat styling tools in the morning to work out any weird kinks, but I couldn't be bothered with all of that on this trip.
Should I ever go on a tour with shows in multiple cities, I probably ought to pack less than I think I need, because nearly every club has the same kind of ambiance and lackluster setup. At this baby DIY level--a step below "indie"--I never know what a venue is going to look like until I get there. And then of course there are times like this when our GPS fails, we get lost, and have to play as soon as we arrive. Prepare for not being able to prepare!
At the end of the day, if it ain't opaque or glittery, no one in the crowd is going to see my makeup anyway.
What's your music festival hair/makeup situation? Do you do it up or keep it cool and casual?