It’s official: fun is back! Festival season is in full swing and we can’t wait, so we got three of the UK’s most exciting artists together for the 101 on how to style it out this summer. Whether they’re tearing it up on stage or joining us in the crowd, Becky Hill, L Devine and Joy Crookes know a thing or two about living your best festival life.
Here, Cosmopolitan’s Fashion Editor Natasha Harding gets personal with this talented trio on all things style, discovers their career highlights and reveals some savvy tips for making the most of your outdoor gigs this season.
Describe your personal style?
Becky Hill (BH): I’ve always tried to be like a little girl’s dress-up box and be as camp as possible – feathers, sequins, tassels and all the other stuff that you dreamed of wearing as a kid. I think the dance floor is one of the places where you can be really carefree and I think it’s quite important to mirror that on stage as well.
L Devine (LD): For me, it’s all about finding details and having things that are personality-led. Being able to tell someone who I am through what I wear. So I love graphic tees that can just tell you what film and band I’m into. I love humour in clothes as well.
Joy Crookes (JC): My personal style is retro-futurism. And I aspire to be a brown kind of gold teeth Audrey Hepburn.
Tell us about your favourite outfit you’ve performed in?
BH: There was this one outfit I wore for Manchester Pride. I bought this incredible jewelled, chain two-piece and I wore it with these silver platform boots. I was actually going through a breakup at the time, so I had these massive muscles because I’d been weight training. I just looked like some sort of Warrior Princess and I really loved that.
LD: A few years ago, my stylist at the time (Phoebe Lettice Thompson) put me in a red cardigan-esque suit by Camilla Bloom for Big Weekend. It was really soft and had this mod red print on it. That’s just an example of something that looks super cool but is also super comfortable. It was like wearing my pyjamas on stage but still looked pretty fashionable at the same time.
JC: I wore a jumpsuit the other day by Demo Baza. It’s super Lara Croft vibes, very futuristic. But then I had a bit of a ’60s blow dry going on. So all leading to my retro-futurism look, and I thought that was pretty good. I was loving it because you literally just throw it on, it’s a one-piece so you don’t have to think too much. It does all the talking. Add a pair of big boots and you can’t really go wrong. It’s kind of weirdly sexy, but also quite militant, and I like that balance.
What are your five festival style staples?
BH: Sequins, feathers, glitter, tassels and over-the-knee boots.
LD: Some kind of black tailored shorts, trainers so I can jump around, a good sports bra – something that keeps me compact and a trendy cool belt that can add a pop of colour to my outfit. And I tell you what I wore the other day which was pretty tongue in cheek, a Hooters T-shirt. I got it when I was like, nine years old when I went to New York with my family, and my mum – pretty inappropriately – let me buy that. I don’t think I can say that it’s essential, but it’s definitely a highlight in my suitcase. I love it.
JC: Dr. Martens, a good lip balm, my jewellery, ’70s-style aviator sunglasses and a good moisturiser.
Where do you shop for great festival outfits?
BH: I love designers like Ashish and Halpern – their use of sequins is incredible. I also try and pick pieces that I can re-wear, I think sustainability is really important. I’m not one of those people that does the whole ‘Oh, I’ve worn it once. I’m not going to wear it again.’ I think that the stigma of outfit repeating still kind of hangs around and it’s really important that we normalise styling pieces in different ways. My stylist and I are currently in the process of taking stuff that we’ve already worn and chopping it up and making a new top out of, you know, a denim jacket. It’s really fun and creative.
LD: I shopped online a lot before the pandemic but I kind of got tired of that. I found that I much preferred shopping locally and finding items that no one else would have. Every Sunday I go to my local market and I just look around the vintage stalls. People are getting into more sustainable fashion now and so setting up stalls and the secondhand clothes are getting better each week. A few years ago it would have been a bit hit or miss and you’d have to really dig but now it’s turning into a really cool place to shop.
JC: Diesel is just the f*cking best. Like, I have this two-piece green bomber and a skirt, and it’s just fantastic. It’s everything you need. I love an outfit that’s already made up for you.
What’s one festival fashion trend you will never be spotted in?
BH: Anything that’s woolen or too hot. I do a lot of moving on stage and it’s really important to be as free as possible, to let your skin breathe.
LD: Parachute pants. I’m getting a bit scared of them at the minute. It’s not even the pants, it’s just the rapidness of trends now. Influencers on TikTok tell you to wear one thing one day, then the next day something else, and everyone is just kind of panic buying. That makes me not like whatever is in trend, I try and just do the opposite.
JC: Anything moderately offensive.
Have you ever had any on-stage wardrobe malfunctions?
BH: I’ve had some boobs slips in my time which is always quite embarrassing. At another festival though, one of my boots came down and I had no idea that one boot was higher than the other. Stuff like that happens all the time.
LD: Literally, the other day. I was wearing a cropped shirt and I told myself that I needed to go to the shop and to buy a new bra and I ended up having a nip slip at Plymouth. My nipple was proper hanging out. It was pretty bad. I feel as though it’s become a ‘bit’ in the set now though, so I’m just like ‘FYI like my boob’s gonna come out’.
JC: Not on stage, touch wood.
What’s your best festival memory?
BH: It wasn’t at a festival, it was a university show. There was this lad in a wheelchair and, all of a sudden, I remember him crowd surfing. People were carrying him in his wheelchair and it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I got everyone to bring him down to the front so that he was front row. And it was just such a lovely moment – this person being thrown around at the top of the crowd and loving it.
What’s your funniest or most awkward festival memory?
LD: I don’t know if you’re aware of a group called Bad Boy Chiller Crew (BBCC). They’re from the North of England and it’s proper radge music – it’s amazing but the complete opposite of what I do and they were on right before us. The crowd was going absolutely mental for them and it was the most intense music you could possibly imagine. It was such a vibe, and we have to follow that up. So I think there’s just a lot of instances like that when we come on afterwards and I start singing strip back indie-pop LGBT songs to a crowd of like, radge lads. So I think that’s always an interesting one. But I love that sh*t because it just makes it a challenge to win people over, you know.
JC: Someone coming up to me and singing a Cleo Sol song for about two minutes [thinking I was Cleo]. I let them finish it because I was like, ‘I don’t wanna get between this lady and her song’ but obviously I’m not her so I had to bring that to her at the end of 3-minute performance. She was like, ‘oh my god, oh my God.’ And I said, ‘No, it’s fine.’ I mean, in that instance, how would you react? You know, you’ve just gone up to someone thinking they were Cleo Sol but it turns out they’re a different mixed-race person. There must have been some kind of ego death. And I’d like to think that there was some kind of accountability at least.
What is your festival survival tip?
BH: Take a blow-up mattress. Don’t just do a sleeping bag on the floor. I always think, even if it deflates when you’re sleeping, it’s really important that you have something that’s comfortable when you go back to your tent.
LD: Don’t let the post-show hype persuade you to stay at the festival without any plans. That happens a lot. You get off stage and you’re like, ‘Whoa, that was crazy. I want to get off my rocker now and stay and just find a random tent.’ Never ever do that. It probably seems like a good idea at the time. But yeah, you’ll be getting the bus back to wherever you’re going the next day and regretting that.
JC: Carry O.R.S Hydration Tablets. They’re the best and take them beforehand if you’re going to drink and you won’t feel anywhere near as deadly the next morning. It’s just good because your body is being looked after and it’s not everyday influencers’ celery shots. They’re really good. That’s my secret trick, I do it on tour as well.
What’s the best live music event you’ve ever been to and why?
BH: It was probably Pete Tong & The Heritage Orchestra for the Ibiza Classics. It’s my fifth year doing that show but the first time I went as a punter, and I remember standing in the crowd, and just being so in awe of what was going on. I turned to my partner and I was like, ‘I really want to do this show, I have to do this show’. The next year I was a part of the Ibiza Classics family and I’ve been a part of it ever since.
LD: We opened up for Years & Years in Manchester and that was 100% the biggest show I’ve ever played. I imagine that the majority of that crowd were part of the LGBTQ+ community so that meant a lot to me. You could feel so much love and positivity in the room. Everyone seemed super touched by the emotional songs, but then so up for a party at the same time. It’s not a family-friendly show but that’s exactly why I love it. Olly Alexander put on a show that’s a way more accurate representation of a show that gay people want to see, rather than what people think gay people want to see, which is like, rainbows. This was pure filth and sexy, they had toilet cubicles on stage and people going and doing God knows what.
JC: I would say it would be more of an obscure one. I really really enjoyed a super underground festival in Ostend Belgium. It was basically a treehouse festival. There were only one or two (or max three) stages but I loved how intimate it was. I love a small festival because you’re not expecting too much, you’re just going and having fun – it’s not this big shebang. I love Glastonbury but I think it’s quite overwhelming. I always try and choose things that are going to be a tad more low-key.
What’s your go-to karaoke song?
BH: ‘Left outside alone’ by Anastacia… because I do a really good Anastacia impression. My mum used to have a cassette tape of Anastacia’s best hits that we would listen to when I was a kid. She’s actually got quite a similar sounding voice to me apart from the fact she’s got quite a lot of twang.
LD: I always go for ‘Kiss from a Rose’ by Seal. I don’t know why, I just love it. It’s got a bit of a medieval vibe to it. You know, I feel like f*cking Henry VIII and Greensleeves?
JC: ‘Young Hearts Run Free’ by Candi Staton. It’s actually a really sad song but I tend to shout the whole thing.
Name one artist you’d love a front-row ticket to and why?
BH: Queen with Freddie Mercury. My mum used to go watch a lot of gigs and when I was a kid, she said ‘I always regret not getting a ticket to go see Queen’ because Freddie Mercury was meant to be one of the most incredible performances of all time. And I would have loved to have seen that energy. Glam Rock was a really big era for me, growing up listening to what my mum used to play on car trips.
LD: Kate Bush would be a really good one because she doesn’t ever perform. And I know she did like, 10 years ago or something, and did that one-off concert in London, which would have been so hard to get a ticket to. And I think I would have been a bit young then. But I would love to see Kate Bush, that would be amazing.
JC: Prince, because he’s one of the best performers ever and I think it would be really amazing to be able to watch. Especially because he used to do guerrilla gigs. So like, if I could watch Prince at a guerrilla gig, I think I would die happy. I think about this a lot as I walk through Soho. I was kind of influenced by him so doing that it’s wet dream kind of territory, you know.
Which artist has influenced your music the most?
BH: Probably Robyn. I grew up listening to a lot of Robyn and I loved her. She started doing an R&B album, then moved to like synth-pop and went straight into dance music. I love her songwriting as well, she’s incredible.
LD: It changes all the time. One of the albums I’m listening to a lot right now, one of the best albums ever, is The Velvet Rope by Janet Jackson – I just love the production and all that stuff. I also love early early, ‘Overload’ era Sugababes. Burial, as well – Untrue is one of my favourite albums of all time.
JC: I’m definitely an amalgamation of artists. In terms of influence, Prince would be one obviously on a performance level. I don’t think I perform like him but I feel like his extra-ness was just so endearing. So in that sense, I think I’m very inspired by that.
Describe your music in three words?
BH: Pop. Rave. Bangers.
LD: Scatty, colourful and gay.
JC: Frank, witty, and annoying. Annoying, because sometimes you’re just facing things you didn’t expect. It’s like, I didn’t really want to think about generational trauma this morning.
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Photographer: Simon Lipman (@silipman). Fashion Director: Saskia Quirke (@saskiaquirke). Production Lead: Sophie Leen (@sophie_leen). Digital Design Editor: Jaime Lee (@jaimesclee). Talent Editor: Olivia Blair (@olivia__blair). Becky Hill and L Devine makeup: Mary-Jane Gotidoc (@maryjanegotidoc) at One Represents using Tom Ford Beauty. Becky Hill and L Devine hair: Josh Knight (@knightjosh) at Caren using Moroccanoil. Joy Crookes makeup: Mata Marielle (@mata_marielle) at CLM. Joy Crookes hair: Shamara Roper (@shamara_roper) at Future Represents. Manicurist: Lucie Pickavance (@luciepickavance) at Caren using Dior Manicure Collection and Miss Dior Hand Cream. DOP & Photo assistant: Kailas Gurung (@kailasgurung). Fashion assistants: Courtney Smith (@courtsambers), Hannah Akande (@itshanah_xo).