Canadian dance music festival Bass Coast has enacted a ban on attendees wearing Native American feather headdresses. Issuing an official statement via their Facebook, the organisers of the event say they have banned the headdresses out of respect for “the dignity of aboriginal people.”
“We understand why people are attracted to war bonnets. They have a magnificent aesthetic. But their spiritual, cultural and aesthetic significance cannot be separated,” write organisers. “Bass Coast Festival takes place on indigenous land and we respect the dignity of aboriginal people.”
“We have consulted with aboriginal people in British Columbia on this issue and we feel our policy aligns with their views and wishes regarding the subject,” they continue. “Their opinion is what matters to us.” According to Bass Coast’s organisers, event security will be enforcing the new ban.
Native American headdresses have become ubiquitous at music festivals in recent years, particularly in the US and occasionally appearing atop the heads of festival punters in Australia. The trend has upset many cultural critics, who claim it serves as a form of “cultural appropriation.”
The issue was a point of contention between members of The Flaming Lips. Drummer Kliph Scurlock claimed that he left the band after a row with frontman Wayne Coyne over his wearing of a headdress, while Pharrell Williams recently apologised for wearing a war bonnet in a magazine.