10 Ways to Not Be Offensive During Festival Season

With Coachella upon us it's time we reminisce on what to do and not do while partying in the desert

With the last bits of winter melting away and spring upon us, this means the festivals will begin any day now. With festivals comes festival fashion, and unfortunately, for some reason, this also means offensive fashions and actions. Here are a few tips to help you avoid being offensive during festival season:

  1. Bindis unfortunately became a mainstream accessory in 2014 thanks to a few young white celebrities who thought they were cool festival accessories. Whether they knew (or cared) or not it was wrong of them to wear. For the record, it is always wrong to wear a religious or cultural symbol as an accessory. A bindi is a red dot, commonly worn by Hindu women, in the center of the forehead. It can also be worn by Buddhists and Jains and is considered to be a united point of creation as well as the location of the third eye (in religions). With it having a heavy religious significance, it is clearly something to be taken seriously and not treated as lightly as some piece of jewelry.  

    Vanessa Hudgens wears a bindi as an accessory and not cultural symbol. (source)

    An Indian woman wears the bindi as cultural symbol. (source)


  2. If someone is showing a lot of skin and you take that as a cue for you to proclaim your thoughts on their body, you’re being offensive. There’s a difference between complimenting someone and catcalling. If you are yelling at them as they pass you by, you’re doing it wrong. If you screaming your comment based on the amount of skin they are showing: you’re doing it wrong. If they turn around and flip you off or speed up their walk as they pass you by: you’re doing it wrong and ruining their vibes. It’s a festival, it’s supposed to be fun, don’t ruin someone’s time because you can’t control yourself.
  3. For some reason, Indian culture is constantly being appropriated, particularly in the realm of accessories. Nose rings have a traditional role in the the wedding preparations for Indian brides. Although I doubt anyone will police those with regular nose piercings or septum piercings, nose piercings have also found their way into the sphere of things trendy only during festivals. There’s a ton of ways to wear nose and septum piercings whether they are real or fake, so to avoid offending anyone’s culture just leave these alone.Kendall Jenner wears a nose ring as a piece of her outfit and not as an Indian bride. (source)
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    An Indian bride wears a bindi. (source)

  4. Anyone who has ever attended a standing room only general admissions event knows you’re probably gonna touch a lot of the people around you whether you want to or not. Festival season is full of the hottest acts in the warmest weather, so don’t be intrusive and try to cop any feels in the middle of a crowd. It’s easy to pass it off as a hand slip or way to gain your balance, but it’s a sure fire way to make someone uncomfortable or simply get a punch to the face.
  5. Henna has been a part of many Indian cultural ceremonies for centuries, it is not an accessory for you to wear on your hands and feet so you can feel “cultural”; you look ignorant and insensitive, so unless you actually know the significance, just stay away from it.
    Image result for henna

    A basic version seemingly not on anyone of Indian heritage. (source)

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    An Indian woman celebrating her heritage and tradition of henna. (source)

  6. While at a music festival/and or concert refrain from saying offensive words and or phrases. It does not matter if your brother or sister is gay, your best friend is black, or you once dated a Hispanic person. Some words shouldn’t be used in the first place and if you do not fall into the category of the offenses minority you definitely do not need to be saying it. Music is a great way to express yourself and escape the world, but don’t get so caught up that you offend someone.
  7. Festivals have essentially become the best way to showcase the hottest beauty and hair trends of the upcoming spring/summer season. With that being said, “boxer braids”, “Dino braids”, “UFC braids”, or any other weird white-given name for cornrows is not okay. It is cultural appropriation and there is no way around it. Pull some Dutch braids together, dye your hair some pastel color, throw glitter in your roots, or even don a flower crown because at least that is less problematic than stealing from a culture and giving it a ridiculous name. The same goes for dreads, if your hair isn’t meant for them, it’s just unsanitary and you’ll end up bald.
    Image result for kylie jenner cornrows hair

    Kylie Jenner, a white woman and repeat cultural offender wearing corn rows. (source)

    Image result for ciara cornrows hair

    Ciara proudly wearing a protective style on the red carpet. (source)

  8. For some reason, kimonos are not always acknowledged when it comes to cultural appropriation and it should be. It is totally understandable that you are in the hot sun all day and need something lightweight to cover you from the sun. A kimono is not the answer. For some reason the vast amount of variations of the kimono sold everywhere from fast-fashion stores to high end boutiques is widely accepted without many thinking that it appropriates Japanese culture. Duster jackets and long vests are a great alternative and far less offensive.

    A white woman wearing a kimono at a festival. (source)

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    A Japanese woman wearing a piece of her nation’ s history. (source)

  9. Head pieces have been a mainstay at festivals for years. Many Native American, Caribbean, Middle Eastern, and African cultures have been disrespected in the process. The reasons are unknown, but for some reason it’s a trend that has stuck strictly to festivals. That being said when picking out a headpiece for your “bohemian hippie” vibe don’t get one that has cultural or religious significance. Whether you respect the religion or culture or not it’s plain rude to use it as a fashion statement. 

    A woman wearing a headpiece as an accessory. (source)

    A Baluchi woman of Pakistan wearing a headpiece as a part of her heritage. (source)

  10. Festivals and hipsters are synonymous with each other. Another thing synonymous with hipsters? Ironic t-shirts. You may think it’s witty and cutting edge but it’s really just rude. You may be an active Bernie supporter but you wearing a Trump tee with the phrase “F*ck off we’re full” isn’t going to make you friends and will only make you look like a tool. The media covers him more than enough so the last thing he needs is more publicity at a music festival. That goes for any ironic or offensive shirts, whether you think its funny or not.
    Image result for F*ck off we're full

    A shirt showing Trump’s ideals of deporting immigrants. (source)



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