Gemma Cairney’s guide to Glastonbury and other festival faves

Although the British weather would often have us think otherwise, summer is  finally here! And it just isn’t summer without the inclusion of a music festival or two; standing in a muddy field listening to our favourite bands seems to have become part of the fabric of British summertime. When it comes to music, festivals, fashion and style, Radio 1Xtra presenter Gemma Cairneycertainly knows her stuff! As the BBC’s roving reporter for Glastonbury she has guided us through three years of the legendary festival and has also presented alongside the equally stylish Miss Chung on T4’s ‘Frock Me’. Outside the studio, she also works as a stylist and has performed her magic on Florence and the Machine and the Pigeon Detectives.

I asked the lovely Miss Cairnet to share her finest festival moments and her top survival tips!

You’ve been the BBC’s roving reporter at Glastonbury for the past few years; what’s it been like working at Glastonbury?

Mind-blowing! Glastonbury is the father of British festivals and you can feel that in its air. You feel free to do whatever you please and no one will judge you. Nowhere else in the world does it feel so good to be so dirty (in the muddy sense of course). To be asked to illustrate this magic via the TV is a true honour and the only telly job I’ve felt truly represents everything about my real personality. There, I’ve talked fashion, walked a tight rope, screamed, danced hard with the joker and kissed Florence Welch on the lips all with a camera in my face!

What’s been you’re most memorable festival experience?

Well, all of the above were pretty poignant but I think being unofficially recruited (or so I thought) to be my friend’s backing dancer on the Pyramid stage – one of the main stages – one year at Glastonbury in exchange for a ticket. When she asked me, I really thought she meant just ‘sort of’ jump around in the background whilst she sang. But before I knew it, in the lead up to the festival I was attending dance rehearsals and getting fitted for a skeleton outfit! I am no trained dancer, but I learned my steps in time. It involved a lot of shuffling and my body shaking with laughter. That was during my many years of ‘The Blag’!

Who has been the best live act you’ve seen perform, and who are your festival favourites?

I feel guilty to keep referring to Glasto because many other festivals are dear to my heart, but my favourite is Jay Z, who left me a startled, awe ridden, hip hop obsessive when he performed – amongst the controversy – in 2008. You could feel the crowd’s anticipation: ‘Will it work? Won’t it?’ and despite his presence when you saw his face for the first time on stage you could feel his nerves. He aced it and the excitement was INCREDIBLE!

Other festival favourites include Vampire Weekend (my friend cut her lip open last year at Latitude because we were dancing so hard).Florenceand the Machine is just illuminating every single time. (I think it’s because she’s an actual mythical fairy that lives in a tree). Oh and I had the most amazing summer in 2006 where I saw the Strokes three times at three different festivals and fell utterly in love. Oh and that same year I saw Regina Spektor and found her wonderful too … this is a dangerous question; I could go on FOREVER!

Do you have any advice for our readers when it comes to surviving a weekend at a music festival – what are your Do’s and Don’ts?

DON’T wear anything to tight and constricting – you’ll want to roll around.

DO seek out the alternatives to the headliners that persuaded you to get tickets in the first place. There is a lot to be found in comedy/poetry tents.

DON’T believe you’ve fallen in love in two days; it’s likely the ‘free love’ has taken over.

DO meet some of your best friends of the future.

DON’T shoot your load and get too trashed the first night, I know it’s hard, but the hangover WILL leave you feeling guilty.

DO eat some good food. Festivals aren’t talked about because of food, but I’ve got amazing memories of oysters in the woods, amazing Thali, and ostrich burger.

Gemma Cairney will be bringing us all the inside action and gossip from Glasto when she reports live from festival for the BBC this summer and you can catch her show on Radio 1Xtra weekdays from 1-4pm!


Rebelle Loves .. The Mad Men Influence

Tomorrow the fourth series the seriously stylish America drama Mad Men comes out on DVD, giving us the chance to get our fashion fix of 60’s glamour and style, exuded by its superb cast of characters.

While this seasons catwalks were drenched with70’s influences, that doesn’t mean we should forget the ‘Mad Men’ style which for the past few years has seduced both us and the entire fashion industry, nor the phenomenal show that inspired it!

Yes, I know the return to the 60’s was so last year and it’s true that the trends displayed on SS11 catwalks of Marc Jacobs, Rodarte & co. certainly swung towards 70’s retro glamour. Yet, while I love this funky and relaxed look, I still can’t get enough of the 60’s inspired trend that exudes femininity and sex appeal, celebrates the girl with curves and puts the pow in power-dressing for the office.


 Since it debuted in 2007, the American series set in the advertising world of 60’s New York struck a chord with millions of viewers who fell in love with its riveting characters, smart dialogue and, of course, its fashion! With a fifth season in the works, a recent DVD release in the UK of its fourth series and the launch of Janie Bryant’s vintage-themed fashion line for QVC, the Mad Men effect is showing little sign of waning; we noticed its lingering influence in this seasons’ collections which continued the theme of lady like hems and full skirts.


Not since Patricia Field’s styling for Sex and the City has a TV series exacted so much influence on designers and trends. Over four seasons, Mad Men’s award-winning costume designer Janie Bryant has inspired countless designers, with labels like Prada and Louis Vuitton attributing her as a key influence on their collections. Thanks to Bryant’s vintage outfits, the show’s leading ladies have become serious style icons, signalling the welcome return of a more womanly silhouette with Christina Hendricks as a poster girl for curvy figures.

Despite the blatant sexism suffered by the show’s female characters, these ladies are top dogs when it comes to fashion (and they can hold their own in the work place as well!) Take office seductress Joan Harris, who emphasises her sexy hourglass figure in skin-tight blouses, slinky dresses and pencil skirts. Then there’s career-driven Peggy Olson whose experimental, preppy work wardrobe includes polka dots, over the knee skirts, peter-pan collars and satchels, or Don Draper’s ex Betty; the suburban ice queen sitting pretty in full skirts, floral prints and chic pearls.

 Whichever character you choose to channel, achieving the look can be simple. While time-consuming, checking out vintage stores can get you the genuine pieces, but the high street offers an affordable and modern take on the 60’s look. Embrace your curves by keeping silhouettes fitted on top and flowing on the bottom in A-line skirts that flatter any figure. Pencil skirts are great for the office and showing off an hourglass figure. Emphasise your waist by cinching it in with a narrow belt, pile on the jewels and top off with a classy clutch and a dash of red lipstick to raise the temperature in any office.

Here’s some high-street picks to get you inspired!

Are you a Peggy?


From left to right, top to bottom: £24.99, Monsoon £35, River Island, A Wear £20, Fever £49.90, Ben De Lise for Principles, River Island £34.99

A Joan?


Red dress £80 Linea, clutch Next £12, belt M&S £15, pink dress Fever £69.99

or a Betty?


Dress Monsoon £180, Dress Linea £160, Belt Accesorize £25, Compact Accesorize £7. Dress Debenhams

Janie Bryant, the creative genius behind Mad Men’s wardrobe offers some advice on how to recreate the look:

“If you are new to vintage, a great place to start is accessories like bags, jewellery and belts that add fun and a unique touch to your outfit. Fashion and accessories were charming in the 1960s. I love matching shoes and handbags from this period, beautiful hats, white gloves with detail, dramatic gold brooches and layers of pearls.  Have fun with it!

 “The hourglass figure and the sheath dress were also important facets of 50s style so I would advise wearing shape wear underneath clothes to achieve a ladylike physique like Betty’s ultra-nipped waist or Joan’s seamless silhouette.”