Canadian music festival Osheaga the latest to ban Native American headdresses

A Canadian music festival has become the latest to have to explain to its punters why they're not allowed to wear a Native American headdress as part of their 'festival fashion'.

Osheaga posted a notice to its Facebook page on Tuesday afternoon saying that the headdresses are not permitted to be worn at the festival, with a succinct explanation as to why. 

"The First Nations Headdresses have a spiritual and cultural meaning in the native communities," the post reads. "To respect and honour their people, Osheaga asks fans and artists attending the festival to not use this symbol as a fashion accessory."


It's not the first music festival to ban the headdress, which in recent years has become a fashion staple at festivals around the world. Last year, Canada's Bass Coast festival made international headlines when it became one of the first in the world to enforce such a ban. This year, Île Soniq and Heavy Montreal join Osheaga in following suit.  

Last year, Victoria's Meredith music festival also banned the headdress as part of its famous "no dickheads policy". 

While it's clear some festivals (and festivalgoers) are cottoning on to the fact that wearing a headdress as dressups is really not a good look, it's an issue that many remain inexplicably oblivious of.

David Guetta has come under fire recently over his offensive appropriation of Native American culture for a club night promo video. And just last weekend, former Britain's Got Talent star Susan Boyle donned a war bonnet at T in the Park, blissfully unaware that doing so is offensive to indigenous Americans for whom the headdress is a sacred part of their culture and identity - one that has a long history of being misappropriated and belittled by colonising groups.

It's unfortunate that festival organisers have to bring in bans, but while there remains so much ignorance around the significance of donning a war bonnet and playing dressups at the expense of marginalised cultures, it seems to be the only way to get the message across.