Festival fashion evolves in isolation, sheltered from both the high street and the catwalk by large fences and heavy security. It's a strange blend of practicality and deliberate eccentricity, taking in wellies, flowered head dresses and denim hotpants. We've taken careful notes and assembled a field guide to this year's festival style tribes. Where do you fit in?
The Cali hipster
Who is she: She’s actually from Surrey, but in her heart belongs to California. And even though most normal people (including her) can’t afford to hop on a plane to Coachella, she’ll pretend she’s there, dammit, by studiously reading every street style blog from the festival, and dressing like a Cali Hipster – even if she’s pitching her tent in Hackney, not Palm Springs.
What she's wearing: The Cali Hipster look is a little bit cowgirl and a little bit boho, so it's all about fringing, Mexican style blouses and faded denim, teamed with Cuban heels and moccasin boots. Faded American flag prints are also allowed.
Overheard: “Coachella really is the start of the festival season... No... I’m not going.”
Natural Habitat: In her dreams, Coachella. In reality, Lovebox, Field Day and Bestival.
Spiritual Home: The Inland Empire's Coachella Valley
Style Icon: Kate Bosworth and Zoe Kravitz
Who is she: At the more bookish end of the festival style spectrum, she doesn't just go to festivals for the bands - she wants poetry readings, fascinating speakers and outdoor cinemas too. Her style is tailored to cultural pursuits rather than head-banging, and whilst she'll brave a tent, she's more likely to be found staying in a teepee or a vintage caravan.
What she's wearing: If it's dry - loafers or brogues with long socks, paired with a blouse, pleated floral skirt (preferably from a jumble sale). If it's cold - a thick vintage knit, cut-off shorts, Liberty print wellies and a breton top, with a parka over the top.
Overheard: "After the Secret Cinema, puppet show, real food tent and Kate Winslet's reading, can we check out this really really cool Circus Troupe?"
Natural Habitat: Port Eliot, Latitude, Hay
Spiritual Home: A book club or gallery opening
Style Icon: Lauren Laverne, Alexa Chung
The professional raver
Who is she: You can find her in the dance tent of every major festival, sunglasses on, waving her hands in the air and hugging EVERYONE. A seasoned pro, she's been doing the dance festival circuit for years after Ibiza got too mainstream - she likes the carefree abandon of a sweaty tent or a field.
What she's wearing: Neon cropped t-shirts, cut off shorts, anything tribal and sequins, insanely printed one-pieces, floral headbands, bangles and sunglasses at night. And high top trainers. She knows she's going to dance all night, and needs to be comfortable.
Overheard: "I love you, I know we've only just met, but there's a... connection, right?"
Natural Habitat: In the UK; Creamfields, Global Gathering, Glade. Abroad she'll be at Sonar, Exit, and Garden Festival in Croatia.
Spiritual Home: Shoom in 1987, The Hacienda in 1993c and Gatecrasher in 1997.
Style Icon: Eliza Doolittle has the raver look nailed - short shorts, high tops, crop tops and the swishy hair.
My So-Called festival look
Who is she: She's a poster girl for Nineties nostalgia, stomping around the festival circuit as if Blur and Oasis were still having a full-on fued. She think festivals weren't what they used to be, but she's willing to try and relive the magic of the Nineties by dressing like Angela from My So Called Life.
What she's wearing: Check shirts, denim shorts, parkas, faded tea dresses or vintage slips with a leather belt, DMs.
Overheard: "I've been into Riot Grrrl for a very long time."
Natural Habitat: Glastonbury if it's on, maybe Field Day or Lovebox if it's not.
Spiritual Home: Seattle in 1994, but she'd settle for Portland these days.
Style Icon: In her head, Kate Moss, or cartoon character Daria. In reality - Daisy Lowe or Chloe Moretz.
The Glam Squad
Who is she: She’s the one without a speck of mud on her, hair and make-up immaculate, with a gaggle of girls drinking wine out of prettily-coloured plastic cups. She doesn't *do* camping, preferring to stay in a hotel or do day festivals –anything to avoid that grubby festival smell.
What she's wearing: Cute topshop dresses, crop tops and floral shorts, straw fedoras, mini hunter wellies or heeled ankle boots. Last year she wore braided headbands in her hair, this year she’s wearing flowers.
Overheard: “Yeah, but you can’t plug your hair straighteners in a tent, can you?”
Natural Habitat: V Festival, Wireless, T4 on the Beach
Spiritual Home: A girl’s night out.
Style Icon: Pixie Lott or Jameela Jamil
I'm in the band
Who is she: She lives for music, likes it loud and with guitars, and is probably in a band herself. She’d do anything to get a backstage pass – but as most of her friends are there anyway, she’ll probably have them sneak her in later.
What she's wearing: A mix of (authentic) band t-shirts and super tight skinny jeans, and a gothic blend of black layers, leather, spikes, studs and spiked ankle boots.
Overheard: "I like the sound you get with an Orange amp, but someone else needs to carry the 30 watt. Is that vodka?"
Natural Habitat: Download, Reading/Leeds, Hop Farm, Glasto
Spiritual Home: Backstage
Style Icon: Alison Mosshart from the Kills, and California blogger Rumi Neeli of Fashion Toast
Who is she: She’s the girl rocking the vintage look with Mac Ruby Woo lipstick. Her hair styled into a quiff or victory rolls, she looks like a cross between Rita Hayworth and Paloma Faith.
What she’s wearing: Vintage, probably 1950s and 1940s styles- jaunty playsuits and A-line skirts, bra tops and high-waisted shorts, teamed with espadrille wedges. If it gets cold, she’ll go for the full on Land Girl look in boiler suits and wellies.
Overheard: “Is that my beauty spot in your drink?"
Natural Habitat: The Vintage Festival, Bestival
Spiritual Home: Another era
Style Icon: Dita Von Teese
The costume queen
Who is she? She loves a theme, always organizes fancy dress parties and sees festivals as a chance to GO MENTAL in the dressing up box.
What she’s wearing: Anything – as long as it’s outlandish. Animal onesies, sequin capes, head-dresses, face paint – it’s all one big show.
Overheard: “Today, I am Xena, Warrior Princess. Tomorrow, a panda-based superhero”
Natural Habitat: Bestival, Secret Garden Party, Glasto
Spiritual Home: On stage
Style Icon: Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Paloma Faith
The bikini babe
Who is she? You can find her at any festival in warmer climes. She goes to the festival partly for the music, partly to get a great tan – and the venue of choice needs to have a beach, or a pool party.
What she’s wearing: She wears neon without looking like a tit, crochet, American Apparel and Urban Outfitters jumpsuits and oversized t-shirts worn as dresses. Always with flip flops. Her bikini forms the basis of every outfit, and the sunglasses are never off. Her favourite outfit is a maxi skirt and Mara Hoffman bikini top she got in Ibiza.
Overheard: "Meet me by the pool?"
Natural Habitat: Sonar, Primavera, Ibiza Rocks, Hideout Festival in Croatia
Spiritual Home: Poolside
Style Icon: Victoria's Secret model Karlie Kloss, or every girl at Sonar
Wanna del Rey
Who is she? She’s working that retro Americana look that Lana Del Ray has been wearing to every festival this year so far. Her look is Woodstock meets Jackie O, via southern California in the Sixties topped with a bit of more recent bling. She wears a beehive and a slick of black eyeliner at all times.
What she’s wearing: Off duty, she’s in a gingham shirt tied at the waist and cut-offs. When she goes glam, she swaps shorts for a Sixties shift and ballet flats.
Overheard: "I call it gangsta Nancy Sinatra"
Natural Habitat: Every festival this summer – we predict it will be 2012’s uniform.
Spiritual Home: Inside the digital frame of an Instagram photo.
Style Icon: Lana, of course