Leave That Feathered Headdress at Home, Says Canadian EDM Festival

Coachella fan wearing a head dress
Tawni Bannister

Music festival attendee wearing a head dress at the 2014 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio, Ca.

Those itching to snap a music festival selfie in feathered headdresses may be in for a rude awakening. Many festivals have expanded their lists of prohibited items from traditional safety hazards (like fireworks and glass bottles) to include fashion accessories that are seen as culturally insensitive, racist or in bad taste.

The Canadian electronic music festival Bass Coast banned attendees from wearing headdresses this August because the event takes place on indigenous land and its organizers decided that allowing such costumes would be disrespectful to the aboriginal people living nearby.

“Our policy aligns with their views and wishes regarding the subject,” wrote Paul Brooks, the event’s communications manager, in a Facebook post. Two other Canadian music festivals, Tall Tree and FozzyFest, also issued unofficial bans on the war bonnets.

Why Bass Coast Festival Banned Native American Headdresses

Similar guidelines are being issued to tame the resurgence of rave culture, which has been blamed for the recent fatalities and hospitalizations at various EDM festivals. The Los Angeles electronic festival HARD Summer (Aug. 2-3) asked attendees to leave “kandi” (stackable neon rave bracelets), furry boots and glow sticks at home. And when two people died after attending a Mad Decent Block Party near Washington, D.C., on Aug. 1, the traveling concert banned LED gloves, pacifiers and lollipops from future events.

“I don’t got nothing but love 4 u and your kandi,” tweeted host Diplo on Aug. 7. “I just want to take steps to make sure everyone is there 100% for the music. Not other stuff.”

This article first appeared in the Aug. 23rd issue of Billboard.


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