If you’re lucky enough to head to the interior of British Columbia for the Bass Coast Festival this weekend, you’ll see more than 100 mostly electronic acts across several stages, some of whose sets run until 5 a.m. or later. You won’t see much weather, though, because it’s held in Merritt, BC, in the rain shadow of the Cascades. You won’t see alcohol, either, because they don’t sell any on-site – and there’s no corporate sponsorship, besides.
Most importantly, you won’t see war bonnets or headdresses from First Nations peoples (as the Canadian version of Native Americans are known). Bass Coast takes place in the Nicola Valley, which is home to a large indigenous population – as well as tribal claims to the land itself – and the organizers have strictly banned them “or anything resembling them.” They posted on Facebook that “We understand why people are attracted to war bonnets. They have a magnificent aesthetic. But their spiritual, cultural and aesthetic significance cannot be separated.” We can all roll our eyes at the tone-deaf Washington Redskins, but even artsy types sometimes need gentle reminders of what is or isn’t OK.
As San Francisco’s own three-day music festival is barely a week away, and as the Giants are considering banning culturally inappropriate gear from AT&T Park, I asked Outside Lands’ media office if they were considering a similar policy, but they don’t plan to. Still, if you’re not descended from a Plains tribe and were thinking about donning some faux-eagle feathers to be hyper-visible in a crowd, think twice about it and maybe get crafty instead. Yes, the main stage is about 12 blocks from the ocean and a giant headpiece might warm you up when the fog inevitably smothers the Polo Field, and yes #hipsterheaddress was trending at Coachella, but that doesn’t mean you need to make yourself seven feet tall and block everybody behind you from seeing Kanye or Lykke Li.
Tickets to Bass Coast are still available ($220 for three days, which is just under $200 in US dollars). They even made an 80-hour mix for the car if you’re road-tripping up there. That’s the best feather in your cap.