Festivals have come a long way. When I was a teen and also in my 20s, going to a festival meant great music and overpriced food and drinks. Over the years, however, they have morphed from a gathering of music aficionados to full-on fashion and beauty trend shows. The crème de la crème, arguably, is Coachella in Indio, California held every April.
Coachella began in 1999 with alternative artists headlining the one-day experience. It wasn’t until 2012 that the organizers expanded to two consecutive weekends. By that time, smartphone use had proliferated, Instagram had 40 million subscribers, and the idea of being camera-ready at all times was being adopted by the masses, particularly in beauty.
As festivals increased in number and gained in popularity and attendance, brands and retailers have taken up residence at the gatherings, providing influencers with VIP tickets and backstage passes in exchange for social media coverage. We’ve seen popular leading beauty brands create lounges and activations for concert-goers to escape to and participate in. Over the past few years, specialty beauty retailer Sephora has grown their presence at Coachella, offering makeovers by professional makeup artists as well as hair services to help attendees achieve their “boho beautiful” look.
As hair styling has become such an important component of the festival-ready look, Coachella ticket-holders didn’t need to wait for the festival to begin to get their hair camera-ready. According to data from The NPD Group, during the week ending April 13 (the Saturday Coachella began), hair sets and hair gel featuring glitter and holographic effects grew at 3-4 times the rate of the overall hair category.
There is no question festival season has become a key opportunity for brands to showcase their edgy festival-ready products. But some are wondering if festivals have reached their peak. While there have been several small movements like #nochella, it’s fair to say that the festival scene will continue to evolve and be around for years to come. And while holographic looks and glittery hair might have been this year’s hot trends, we will surely see new beauty trends coming to the forefront in the coming years.