There are some items everyone should bring to a festival. Whether we are talking about Bonnaroo, Coachella, Glastonburry, Reading Festival or Latitude, everyone should bring a set of bare essentials: a rain jacket for an unexpected refreshing shower, sun lotion for those particular scorching days, a tent and plenty of energy for a night of music.

But there is an extra item which more and more people seem to love – festival flags. Large, small, square, round, red, blue or yellow, they are popping up at famous music festivals around the world. What makes festival flags so popular? What are they all about and why do people bring them to festivals? Let's find out in this article.

The beginnings

Music festivals started out as events marking various religious or traditional (mainly folklore or agricultural) holidays and important events. Generally, they were hosted by major towns and cities and occurred on a yearly basis. The celebrations were significant events inside the community, often attracting merchants, entertainers and artists from around the country or from abroad, being important amusement opportunities long before the advent of mass-produced entertainment.

Festivals also had an important commercial aspect, as many merchants, craftsmen, and businesses used it to promote their products and services. Banners, billboards, flags and other outdoor advertisement devices were often used to attract the numerous potential customers. What's more, flags were also used by local people and other festival goers to attract attention. For instance, a group of festival goers coming from Scotland to a festival in Coventry would often display their particular flags as a mark of identification, often because festivals were great opportunities to show and appreciate diversity.

Flags were also important at most major festivals in the United States during the early 1900s. Vaudeville shows employed them extensively, as did merchants, cafe owners, circuses, and other entertainers. For instance, major festivals in Atlantic City were littered with hundreds of flags and other outdoor banners.

Flags and modern music festivals

Nowadays, religious and agricultural festivals were replaced by huge music festivals that attract tens of thousands of visitors, and they all have something in common: they are dotted with festival flags. Both festival organizers, businesses, and visitors seem to love them. You can find them at the entrance, at the food area and around the main stage. They are literally everywhere.

Some say people first started using pocket sized flags (2ft per 3ft) as a way to be found by friends. They featured simple designs, often only a one-color design and were made of cotton cloth. These were popular in the early 1960s and 1970s, when major festivals were becoming popular. Starting with the late 1970s, people started using flags to express their emotions, beliefs, and joy. Flags featuring bright colors, rainbows, stars, and slogans were particularly popular. The political and social turbulence of the 1970s and 1980s created a new breed of flags – the political/social slogan flag, as many considered music festivals the ideal way to spread ideas and beliefs. For instance, music festivals were often dotted with LGBT or Black Panther flags.

Now, music festivals feature a plethora of various flags: minimal one-color flags, cartoon flags, meme and political sarcasm flags, but also sport related and the so-called just for gags flags. There are people who bring them just for fun or a Facebook selfie and there are people who want to be seen and share a message. No matter what makes these flags special, one thing's for sure: just seeing the huge variety of flags people flap around is a show of its own.

So, do you want to have the most awesome flag at the next festival? Look no further than Build A Flag, the place where the best flag and outdoor banner designers work. You can have the flag of your choice in any size, shape and color imaginable. You can choose anything from Kahuna and horizontal flags, feather dancer or tail feather flags, as well as custom made flags.