When hearing the term ‘festival fashion,’ the outfits that most likely come to mind are a variation of short shorts, flower crowns and tie-dye. However, festival fashion has sometimes gone beyond simply floral prints and wide leg trousers, and delved into the field of traditional headdresses and national traditions.
The Native American headdress, the war bonnet, has become a ‘hipster’ festival favourite. The war bonnet was originally worn by Native American warriors and was a general symbol of authority, honour and courage.
In response to this ‘hipster’ craze, the Canadian Bass Coast Festival, have banned the wearing of the Native American headdress, for the “dignity of the aboriginal people.” The festival takes place on traditional aboriginal land, which, to the Bass Coast team, highlighted the importance of this respect.
Following Bass Coasts Festival’s lead, Australian music festival the Meredith Festival, has also banned the Native American headdress on its grounds. They have emphasised that the wearing of the headdress is disrespectful, as it promotes the stereotype of the Native American culture.
Even though there has been a strong ban against the wearing of the war bonnet, no music festival has followed this attitude and banned the traditional Hindu Bindi. The Bindi has fast become a fashion festival favourite, worn at Coachella by a multitude of celebrities. It’s growing popularity and demand becomes obvious in the extensive range of Bindies offered by indie’s favourite online store, Etsy.
The traditional Hindu Bindi is placed in between the eyebrows, on the sixth chakra, which symbolises command, meaning concealed wisdom.
The banning of one traditional dress, but not another at a music festival poses a serious degree of double standard. The Hindu Bindi was not explicitly banned at the Bass Coast festival, however there has been a strong emphasis by music festival coordinators, Meredith festival included, that strongly opposes culturally significant head attire including the Hindu Bindi.
For keeping well away from the banned apparel for your next music festival, stick to classic overalls, gumboots and anything plaid.
Photography by Emma Holland