This Monday, my friends and festival thought leaders at Fest300 took a bold step by publishing an article titled “It’s Time To Abandon Wearing Headdresses At Music Festivals.” This well-written piece shed light on a topic our community needs to look at more closely. If you haven’t read the article, I’ll sum it up for you.
The basic message is this: Native American headdresses are highly important to Native Americans. Headdresses are worn at special occasions, or by men who have earned the right to each feather on them. Wearing one when you have not earned the right to do so shows no respect to native culture and is the equivalent to wearing blackface.
Let me repeat that: WEARING A NATIVE AMERICAN HEADDRESS IS THE EQUIVALENT TO WEARING BLACKFACE!
This fact alone should be enough to make you leave your headdress in the closet. Still, I’m going to let you in on three other things the Fest300 article didn’t say you need to know before you wear a headdress to a music festival.
1. When you watch music in a festival crowd, your headdress turns you from a normal-sized music lover into the equivalent of a seven-foot-tall view-blocking sumo wrestler. No one behind you can see anything.
Here’s a video for proof:
2. Wearing headdresses is a hot issue in our community. Most people feel they should not be worn. When you wear one to a festival you will feel glares, eye rolls, and often be confronted by people who want to inform you that it’s disrespectful to wear one. Before you decide to put one on, consider the negative vibes you will bring upon yourself.
3. Whether you think wearing an “Indian headdress” is disrespectful or not, you need to know that it upsets people. This is the opposite of what your look at a festival is supposed to achieve. Instead, think of something to wear that will make the people around you happy.
As I have spent the last four years touring from festival to festival, the number of people wearing Indian headdresses at festivals has shrunk every year. Here’s hoping this trend continues so we can focus on why festivals are awesome instead of having to continually remind select attendees to think of others in their actions.