From Glastonbury to Newport, millions go wild to the sound of their favourite bands live. And with huge audiences and copious amounts of festival goers comes great possibilities of sales, especially when it comes to everyone’s favourite clothing piece: a simple t-shirt. We have indulged in a selection of the best promotional T-shirts for events from some of the most important music festivals and brought them all into one hand gallery here for you to enjoy!
To write an article about the best music festivals would be quite a tall order, since there are so many incredible ones all over the world, where music almost takes a back seat in the festivities, with everything from gigantic art installations to boat parties, nakedness and luxury tents galore.
When it comes to official music festival merchandising, however, things look quite radically different. The best festivals aren’t necessarily the ones with the best merchandising and, of course, there are as many design styles as there are music genres. As big music fans in general at Printsome we’ve constantly got our eye on the scene for new t-shirt creations and as designers, we love to cast a critical eye to bring you the best in innovative t-shirt design.
The Best Music Festival T-shirts Ever Printed
Festival apparel is probably the only type of garment that you can wear 20 years out of date, and still with a great sense of pride. Music t-shirts are not just items of clothing, there are historical references – they represent memories, moments and epic performances from around the globe, huge communities of followers and endless lineups that fill us with warmth and nostalgia when we’re reminded of them. All of this probably explains why a lot of the festivals’ stores listed below are proud to have a vintage or sale section with garments dating back as far as 2009 editions, which is also a great problem solver for bulk ordering issues vendors may experience when purchasing merchandising for music events. Here, we give you the rundown of our top 20 official music festival merch, new and old alike.
Recommended Blog Post: How bulk printing actually works, best tips and successful examples.
1# Sasquatch! Washington, USA Next edition May 27-30, 2016
It’s Sasquatch’s 15th anniversary this year, and they have a lot to be proud of. They’ve been voted in the top 10 of music festivals in the states and we are massively impressed with their website too – since we last checked, they’ve made huge changes to their merch section and now we can truly appreciate the quality of the designs that they have on offer.
Proof that it pays to take off those pixelated images! That said, we’ve gotten quite carried away with the range of designs that they offer and wanted to show you as many of our favourites as possible. Check out these beauties!
2# Lollapalooza, Chicago, USA Next Edition July 28-31, 2016
Lollapalooza has now gone global after 25 years, celebrating a variety of music genres including everything from heavy metal to EDM. Like Coachella, Lollapalooza seems to take great care of their promo goods, with cool, illustrated designs every year. Hardly surprising since they haven’t limited themselves just to music, with visual artists, comedy and craft tents too. It gives the outside a feeling of quality and cares just taking a glance at the website.
3# Coachella, California, USA. Next Edition April, 15-17 & 22-24, 2016
It seems like Coachella always go just that one step further when it comes to merchandising, with unique colourful designs that go far away from that slap-on-the-logo look – you might actually like to wear some of their apparel, dare I say it, WITHOUT having been to the festival. This year they haven’t let us down, teaming up with H&M this year to create the #HMLovesCoachella Collection and taking their merchandising to a whole new level.
“Coachella is not only a fantastic music festival but a state of mind…[they did a] wonderful job in catching the neo-hippie spirit and the bohemian energy which is intrinsic to the happening. “ according to Hailey Baldwin.
4# Tomorrowland, Brasil, Belgium, USA. Next edition 22-24 July 2016
Tomorrowland ironically started out the town of Boom, Belgium and is now considered one of the biggest electronic music festivals in the world, and supposedly one of the best with it winning the award for ‘best music event’ by the International Dance Music Awards every year since 2012. Perhaps their merch doesn’t quite live up to that standard, though they do have an online store and seem to be aiming more directly for a fashion line as opposed to the traditional been-there-done-that-bought the-T-shirt kind of souvenir.
Perhaps their merch doesn’t quite live up to that standard, though they do have an online store and seem to be aiming more directly for a fashion line as opposed to the traditional been-there-done-that-bought the-T-shirt kind of souvenir.
5# Bestival, Isle of Wight, UK. Next Edition September 8-11, 2016
Bestival is a big fave amongst Brits of all ages, as it’s a family friendly festival. A bit of a pain in the arse to get to be on the Isle of Wight, just off the South coast, despite this, Bestival is well worth a trip and their merchandising tells you so. They have a wide range of fun t-shirts, from the usual logo style to this funky hippy style tie-dye. This year, we can expect everything from spoken word to a 20-metre rocket. Great fun.
6# Bonnaroo, Tennessee, USA Next edition June 9-12, 2016
Boasting ‘15 years of magic’, Bonnaroo presents an extremely varied bag of sound from world music to reggae, though was originally inspired by the likes of folk rock, Coachella and Glastonbury festivals. It takes place on a 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tennesse.
7# Latitude Festival, Suffolk, UK. Next edition July14-17, 2016
Latitude has an official merchandise store where you can pick up all kinds of goodies, both for adults and kids. It seems like the Brits are quite the pioneers when it comes to family-friendly festivals, with this one being yet another. They offer everything from art to politics at the festival, which is no surprise since they are run by the organisers of the Reading and Leeds festival, the same guys who ran Glastonbury up until 2013.
8# Outside Lands, San Francisco, USA. Next edition August 5-7, 2016
As their graphic style suggests, Outside Lands takes place in Golden Gate Park and has been running since 2008. It tends to have a relatively short, but high-quality line-up with mainly mainstream rock and electronic acts, as well as some art installations. We particularly like this spin they’ve put on their park ranger t-shirt, why not be creative?! 10/10 for being eco-friendly too.
9# V Festival, Essex, UK Next edition 20-21 August 2016
Just to show how the Brits love their music festivals, V Festival is yet another one up there on the list. V isn’t like your average British festival, however, due to its very commercial line-ups. Graphically they form a part of a group of a few festivals that have adopted infantile illustrations, which makes them seem like a friendly bunch. I’m sure Richard Branson would approve.
10# Sonar, Barcelona, Spain
One of the most famous electronic music festivals in the world, the time has only seen sonar grow and grow and grow since its launch in 1994, turning the entire city into one party after another throughout the month. Expect cash machines to be empty and more ‘off-party’ events than you can possibly fit on your calendar. Of course, they have t-shirts, but it’s also no surprise that you can also get personalised hats, sunglasses and even an official lighter. 10/10 for providing festival essentials.
11# Glastonbury, UK Next Edition 22-26 June 2016
The mother of all festivals both in size and attendance, around 175,000 people attend the 5-day arts and music event every year. Famous for photos of crazy music lovers rolling around in the mud, and for Wellington boot sell-outs, Glastonbury is an iconic cultural event which started when a farmer agreed to allow people to use his land to listen to a bit of music back in 1970. There has never really been any need for decent merchandising as the event really speaks for itself, although they have some t-shirts on sale almost by default.
12# Ultra Music Festival, Miami and Worldwide Next edition (Miami) March 24-26, 2017
With the biggest names in electronic music, Ultra, named after the Depeche Mode album of the same name, operates in 5 continents. Due to its commercial nature, it attracts quite a different crowd to some of the other festivals that we’ve mentioned – quite clearly reflected in their merchandising style, another important factor to take into account when thinking about design your own merch.
13# Creamfields, Liverpool, UK Next Edition August 25-28, August
Providing electronic music since 1998, Creamfields has transcended generations and surprisingly managed to maintain similar graphics across a couple of dancing decades. Simple, yet colourful t-shirts put them on the Printsome merch map for old time sake.
14# Isle of Wight Festival, UK Next edition June 9-12, 2016.
It might seem like Bestival stole all the glory, but Isle of Wight festival was originally at the forefront in festival land, starting in the early days of Glastonbury way back in 1970. And she’s still going strong! Their place in history is also given away by the official T-shirts they have on sale. Old skool merch. We couldn’t resist including their 70s style illustration to get you into context.
15# Austin City Limits, Austin, USA. Next edition Sept 30- Oct 2, 2016
Based on a public TV series from the US, Austin City Limits is the longest-running music program in the states. The annual festival celebrates lots of genres including jazz, alternative rock and blues. It’s definitely the only festival we’ve seen that boast ‘fanny packs’ (or bum bags in the UK) in their merchandising catalogue.
16# Newport Folk Festival, Newport, USA. Next edition Next edition July 22-24, 2016
This modest festival is quite possibly the longest running one on our list, since it started in 1959, stemming from the local Jazz festival. Unlike the Isle of Wight festival and other golden oldies, the Newporters have developed their promotional apparel a little, though less imaginative than others, we’ll sell to die-hard fans.
17# Veld, Toronto, Canada Next edition 30-31st July 2016
This festival run by INK Entertainment, who manage lots of nightclubs and restaurants in the area, is a 2-day electronic dance festival. The 2015 edition was cancelled due to a severe thunderstorm warning, so we imagine keen Canadian electro fans will be eagerly awaiting this year’s edition in July. Since tickets have only just gone on sale, we’re yet to see this year’sMarchh proposal, though they’ve had time to change their logo since we last checked…watch this space.
So this was quite a long list… hope you enjoyed it! Did we miss your favourite music festival? Let us know and we’ll include it here!
Printsome is an online T-shirt printing agency in the UK based in London that delivers all across the UK, from printing T-shirts in Brighton to York and anywhere in between. So, if you’re after a T-shirt or custom clothing, get in touch for a quote and indulge yourself in some awesome customer service.