Rota, Zach. “Why Native Headdresses No Longer Belong at Music Festivals.” Thump. July 29 2014. Accessed March 6 2017. https://thump.vice.com/en_us/article/why-native-headdresses-no-longer-belong-at-music-festivals.
Concerts and fests as places where “partygoers feel that they can outwardly express themselves, beyond all reasonable doubt.”
Reviews Bass Coast decision to ban the wear of Native American headdresses as “game-changing move” – “By outlawing the admission of festival-goers donning Native American headdresses, they became the first festival to rain on the parade of electronic dance music lovers who think they can act however the fuck they want once they are inside the grounds of a music festival.”
Paul Brooks, Director of Communications of Bass Coast justifies this decision as a part of coexisting with surrounding Native reserves, who have performed on-site workshops explaining cultural appropriation and positive appreciation for “aboriginal culture”, highlights importance of on-site education in this matter (cultural appropriation, struggles of Canada’s indigenous)– how this policy was a long time coming, but didn’t “have enough time to pull it off with confidence”. Author remarks on fan resistance on social media sites.
Notes lack of connection between Native Americans and dance music- lack of Native DJs, but also mentions A Tribe Called Red (native group from Ottawa), who have requested fans to refrain from headdresses and face/body paint at their shows. Author likens it to “wearing a blackface to your favourite rapper’s next show”. Notes that headdresses and warbonnets within Native communities as “actually the exact opposite of how they are being worn at festivals. They aren’t fashion choices, but instead are earned as symbols of respect, honor and achievement”.
“Wearing a warbonnet you didn’t earn is like tying a medal of honor to your chest that you didn’t serve for.”
Reasons that those who do utilize paint and headdresses do so for aesthetics, because it looks good. Acknowledges while “fashion is a subjective art form [….] There difference between wearing a Native American outfit, and an embarrassing amount of kandi or sparkles, is that kandi, sparkles and the like, have no affiliation to a cultural or religious group in any way.”
“At the very least it’s a classic case of cultural appropriation that, at the end of the day, makes you look stupid and doesn’t fly – especially on Native groups. At the very most, it’s racist.”
“People complaining are forgetting that electronic dance music and its various tenets are not exempt from the rules of the society that we live in. Just because you are inside the grounds of a festival, it doesn’t translate into the evaporation of common courtesy in and of itself. You still need to abide by societal rules, one of which is and has always been, don’t fuck with other peoples religion or culture.”
“And the rule of thumb, generally, is if you earned it, flaunt it. If you’re a priest, wear your robes. If you’re a wizard, also wear your robes. If you’re a pilot, wear your wings. And if you’re not a Native American chief, don’t wear a Native American headdress.”
Author sides with Paul Brooks in noting that this will be an issue (kx^ despite it being such for some music festivals, particularly in midwest) – hopes other festivals will mirror this decision. “It is a step in the right direction that will hopefully knock some sense into festivalgoers around North America who don’t think twice before having their buddy paint their face with two-dollar ‘war-paint’. And let’s be real here – we’re talking about a small portion of the people that go to festivals. A handful. Most people throw on their tank tops and are content with sun and some tunes. So, for the majority of partiers – keep doing what you’re doing. For those now wondering what to wear on their heads this weekend – it’s called a baseball hat.”