OffBeat Magazine is celebrating 30 years and reached that milestone with our November 2017 issue. To mark the anniversary, over the next 12 months OffBeat will re-publish excerpts from features and interviews from the past 30 years. In our seventh installment, from our May 1990 Jazz Fest issue, OffBeat staff put together a Jazz Fest Survival Guide, including advice on how to dress:
All right—feet first. Remember the festival grounds is a horse track, a pasture in effect. You will walk. A lot—so wear your walking shoes, comfortable ones, with arch support. Jogging shoes are good. Leave the spiked heels at the Fairmont. Ditch the sandals, everybody looks boho here after the first ten minutes, and sandals are vulnerable to picante sauce and biker boots. The object is to keep the feet dry and happy.
Clothing requires similar consideration. This is the tropics, babes, so you want fabrics that breathe. Deeply. Cotton is ideal. Standard male attire is typically shorts and those short sleeved shirts with crazed floral prints. Actually, any sort of light safari gear is good. Think pockets—the more pockets the better at Jazz Fest. You want to keep the hands free for eating, clapping and whatever.
For women, sundresses are good, ditto bikini tops, cotton shirts and shorts, bathing suits or whatever, although you’ll likely want some covering to protect exposed flesh from occasional elemental extremes. Remember the sage advice: think pockets, not purses, wherever possible.
Sometimes visitors show up dressed for the cocktail hour in Monte Carlo. Utterly deranged madness! Instead, dress as you would for a barbecue in the wilds of Zimbabwe and you’ll be fine.
But watch the hats—baseball hats are fine, but wide-brimmed hats get carried away in the Jazz Fest’s violent cayenne-fed thermal convection currents. And besides, nobody can see the stage through all those wide brims, and yours might accidentally get set on fire by the people behind you.