A popular electronic music festival in B.C. will ban aboriginal headdresses at its upcoming event out of respect for indigenous people, after some concert-goers have recently been seen wearing them in a vain attempt to be hip.
In a statement on its Facebook page, The Bass Coast Project says it won’t allow people to wear the ceremonial head pieces during the festival, which runs from Aug. 1 to 4 in Merritt.
“For various reasons, Bass Coast Festival is banning feathered war bonnets, or anything resembling them, on-site,” reads the statement.
Bass Coast said its security team will be enforcing the policy.
“We understand why people are attracted to war bonnets. They have a magnificent esthetic. But their spiritual, cultural and esthetic significance cannot be separated.”
Bass Coast said the festival takes place on indigenous land and organizers respect the dignity of aboriginal people. The music promoters also said they have consulted with aboriginal people in B.C. and “feel our policy aligns with their views and wishes regarding the subject.”
The move follows a statement earlier this month by Canadian aboriginal electronic music trio a Tribe Called Red. Deejay NDN asked non-native people to stop wearing headdresses because “it’s disrespectful and we really don’t appreciate it.”
On Twitter, A Tribe Called Red applauded Bass Coast: “Shout out to @BassCoastProj for taking a stand on the headdress issue! Chi Meegwetch and Nia:we! This is INCREDIBLE!”
Last month, singer Pharrell came under controversy for wearing a native headdress on the cover of Elle UK’s July 2014 edition. He has since apologized.
“I respect and honour every kind of race, background and culture,” Pharrell said, in a statement to Buzzfeed. “I am genuinely sorry.”
Victoria’s Secret has also apologized for using them on their bikini-clad models in a fashion show last fall.