Coachella may still have its charms (okay, maybe just that Beyoncé performance from last year), but at this point, the artistic standards in Indio Valley leave something (okay, a lot) to be desired. Stylistically, too, the festival has reached its nadir. Last year, for the first time in the site’s history, Vogue decided to do away with its street style coverage altogether.
If you’re over Coachella but still yearning for an immersive festival experience, fear not: there are lots of intimate, underground festivals from around the world that are pushing the music industrial complex into better and brighter territory. We’ve compiled a handy guide to five noteworthy events below, where the fashion on display will surely be as exciting as the music itself.
Marfa Myths, April 25-28 in Marfa, Texas
Since 2014, Brooklyn-based record label Mexican Summer has curated a stellar lineup of music, visual art, residences, and more across venues in Marfa, Texas, in partnership with nonprofit contemporary art organization Ballroom Marfa. If the prospect of seeing electroacoustic composer Suzanne Ciana perform in a beautifully spare, sunlit Donald Judd–restored gymnasium at the Chinati Foundation isn’t enticing enough, there’s plenty of eccentric style on display, too (with a cowboy hat thrown in for good measure). This year’s lineup will be as diverse as ever, with local Texan acts like psychedelic trio Khruangbin to electronic music pioneer Annette Peacock taking the stage.
Nature Loves Courage, June 7-9 in Sougia, Chania, Greece
Nature Loves Courage hasn’t even happened yet, but the inaugural festival seems so promising that it would be a shame to leave it off this list. Crete-born producer Abyss X brings her experimentalist leanings back to her home island, completely redefining what to expect from a beachside European festival in the process. With DJs like Aurora Halal, Juliana Huxtable, and Kilbourne playing in a venue that’s adjacent to a clothing-optional beach, the setting will provide a relaxing juxtaposition to music that would otherwise blast out of the Berghain sound system.
FORM, May 10-12 in Arcosanti, Arizona
Each year in Yavapai County in central Arizona, experimental city Arcosanti (an urban laboratory of sorts designed by the architect Paolo Soleri) hosts a festival that combines music, art, architecture, and wellness. And judging by the ombré origami dress that Kelsey Lu wore onstage there last year, the dress code is just as progressive as the project’s conceit. Lu will play again this edition alongside Lafawndah, Kilo Kish, Peggy Gou, and Anderson .Paak.
Unsound, October 6-13 in Krakow, Poland
Since 2003, Unsound, which now has iterations in cities ranging from New York to Belarus, has brought the best of the avant-garde electronic and experimental underground to Krakow, Poland. Last year, the lineup included artists like Colin Self and Eartheater with DJs like DJ Bus Replacement Service and Eris Drew. And despite the fact that they banned cell phones and photography in 2013, (thereby ensuring that you can’t upload a fit pic to Instagram), you can still conjure up the progressive spirit of the programming with your outfit.
Terraforma, July 5-7 at Villa Arconati, Milano
Terraforma, which takes place over the course of three days in a rural villa right outside of Milan, puts the same emphasis on booking solid acts as it does to making sure the festival has a relatively minuscule impact on the environment. It’s rare that festivals focus so much on sustainability (they even distribute individual pouches for one’s discarded cigarette butts), and if that's not enticing enough, the historic Italian setting has been lovingly preserved and modernized. It’s a winning combination.