Freeway’s 90s grunge influence: Columbia taps into cool concert fashion trends through the ages

By Grace Butler, AC Flora HS (Columbia, South Carolina)

Freeway Music Comparison

The bands performing at the concert.

On Friday, June 16 at Tin Roof, a Freeway Music School sponsored showcase featuring mostly teenagers and their small bands performed their work for an older audience, and everyone, from the bands to the spectators to the bartenders took fashion notes from the ages.

Tony Lee, a local business owner and avid drum player, created Freeway Music company in 2011. He claims that nothing else matters when performing.

At Freeway Music School he hopes the students gain positive habits. Many of the performers played their hearts out to rock and roll and top hits, which surprised and delighted viewers because of their young age and talent.

As for fashion, audiences could note cool trends that have developed over the past 47 years. The fashion ranged from band tees, chokers, flannels, distressed denim, and shorts to loose fitting clothes.

The trends at the concert had advantages to the performers. Loose and comfortable clothing allowed the performers the chance to move around freely. This creates a stress-free performance without them having to worry about their clothes ripping or being self-conscious of tight fits.

The way the performers dressed tied in with their genre and gave them another way to express themselves. The band Rambling Road sang country rock songs and wore clothes that you would see at the Grand Ole Opry. The bands Saving Violet and Live Action sang popular songs and dressed with new trendy looks such as off the shoulder tops. And the band Kate and Jack and Shark Bait sang alternative songs dressed in grunge and alternative style with flannels and chokers.

Concerts are the perfect place to keep up with the current trends and to discover new ones.

Concert Fashion 

Find out more about Grace’s fashion timeline by clicking on this graphic.

The 1970s
Many, music festivals such as Woodstock and The Monterey Pop festival became popular in the 1970’s. Artists such as Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, and Sweetwater performed there, and audiences took note of the fashion trends. Men wore bell bottoms, vests, fringe, and items with American flags printed on them. Many women wore floral print, flower crowns, bell bottoms, fringe, dresses, and turtlenecks. Today, at Coachella and other music festivals throwback to flower crowns and these same bohemian vibes.

The 1980s
Concerts became more popular in the early 1980s. Many favorite concerts were The Rolling Stones and Madonna. Around 1985, music festivals became a bit more famous again. One of these music festivals was Farm Aid where Billy Joel, Johnny Cash, and Bon Jovi performed. Rock in Rio was also a famous music festival that aimed to help environmental causes. Here, Queen, The Go-Go’s, AC/DC, Ozzy Osbourne and James Taylor performed.  Women wore leather, mesh, fishnets, and acid washed clothing. Men wore leather, biker jackets and denim. Today, girls in particular take note of the 80s trend of leather, chokers, and mesh, especially at live music shows.

The 1990s
Music festivals like Lollapalooza were popular in the 1990s. Here Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Green Day,  and Snoop Dogg performed. Many women wore flannels, chokers and band tees. Men wore bandanas, jeans, solid colored shirts, flannels, and layered shirts. Today, girls wear flannel and band t-shirts, and love to let their grunge side out.

The 2000s
The 2000s brought in music festivals such as Tomorrowland and Bonnaroo. Some of the performers are David Guetta, David Mathews Band, and U2. Here, noticeable trends for women were low rise jeans, halter tops, rhinestones, camo, layered clothing, maxi skirts, and dresses over jeans. In the 2000’s men wore cargo shorts, hats, v neck t-shirts,  skinny jeans and distressed jeans. Today, halter tops are a staple for summer shows and skinny, distressed jeans. Maxi skirts still trend at music festivals today.

The 2010s
Music festivals such as Coachella, Firefly, and The Governors Ball are extremely popular with many top chart artists. Some of the performing artists are Beyonce, Guns n Roses,  Florence and the Machine,  Coldplay, and many more artists of all genres. Women are seen in crop tops, high waisted items, flower crowns, and fringe. Women wear flower crowns like their grandmothers wore to Woodstock. Many men tend to wear shorts, muscle tanks, tanks, hats, and printed items. Now in the 2010s, girls and boys take trends and blend them from former eras.

[Check out Grace’s Pinterest board on all things concert fashion.]


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