Gemma Cairney ‘My Festival Style Tips’

Gemma Cairney knows her festival style better than any other. The 30-year-old ex-stylist and Radio One DJ is a festival veteran and knows the best way to stay looking stylish but totally comfortable… Yes, even in a Portaloo in the middle of the night…

Gemma, you’ve been to loads of festivals, but what is your favourite?

Glastonbury is the Godfather of festivals because it’s so huge and incredible, you just can’t compare it to anything else. It’s got a real hippy sentiment but it’s so diverse at the same time. You can for a naked sauna with a bunch of hippies in the middle of a field, rave it up, you can go to heaven or hell, or on some post-apocalyptic mad-core industrial stomping. It’s overwhelming but extraordinary. It’s like your wildest imagination becoming your reality. 


> Gemma Cairney in her signature festival style


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Do you ramp it up in the style stakes when you’re there?

I always wear the most out-there stuff, as no water what you put on, you’re not going to beat something like a giant smoking spider!


> Gemma Cairney in her fave festival piece



What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve worn?

I have this jacket made for me by this designer called Mary Benson before she graduated from fashion college and she’s now really hotly tipped, Vogue love her and she’s getting a real name for herself. I remember seeing someone wearing this T-shirt covered in iridescent shiny disco ball panels, which I fell in love with. When I found out that Mary made bomber jackets I just had to have one, so she made me one with different coloured mirror balls and a huge G on the back and it’s my favourite thing ever. I remember being about to go on air at Glasto with Greg James and he asked me not to wear it as he was worried he’d look really boring in his plain shirt. I wore it, but looked like I’d been puked up from Studio 54, twenty years too late.

> Gemma Cairney on the decks


Amazing! How can you stand out, but still make sure you’re comfortable at a festival?

I think comfort is really important. If you’re a first timer, don’t underestimate how important it is to have wellies, it’s 100% essential! The first time I went to Glasto, I didn’t have wellies and I totally ignored everyone who told me I’d need them and just wore these little white ankle boots that I loved, but within 15 minutes of arriving I felt really stupid. Get really colorful wellies – I really like the stripy ones from Regatta and mix and match colours like never before. The trick is to go mad but remain practical. I’m thinking bright coloured Lycra leggings that you can do some serious lunges in, a bum bag and a waterproof mac. Think Anneka Rice in the 80s. If she can look amazing jumping out a helicopter then you definitely can partying in a field. She’s such an icon!

> Gemma Cairney on the red carpet


And how do you stop your hair from looking rubbish by the end of the weekend?

I like to wrap my hair up in a multi-coloured scarf, or putting on a cap and adorning it in whatever you’ve found along the way with badges, stickers, feathers, glitter. On the bird’s nest on top of your head. There’s no point doing your hair as it’s just not going to work. But a multi-coloured vintage scarf is always great to wrap around your hair. Erica Badu who used to wear these giant African style head wraps and she’s a really good person to Google image when it comes to wrapping hair up.


Gemma Cairney is Regatta’s festival ambassador for 2015. The collection can be seen at