In 2015, Manchester’s Parklife risked alienating some of its style-conscious male punters by banning man-bags from the festival – a move that proved controversial, with some even branding it discriminatory against gay men, as reported by The Independent. Others wondered how they were expected to carry their belongings. Were satchels allowed? Bum bags? Stripey corner shop carrier bags? Utility gilets? What about men carrying women’s handbags?
Initially the reasons for the ban were unclear. Were the festival attempting to dictate male fashions? In a way, yes. In an interview last year with Complex, festival founder Sacha Lord-Marchionne explained why he’d banned man-bags from club series The Warehouse Project, which he also runs: “I noticed about three years ago… there was a certain genre of music that was attracting a crowd that I didn’t particularly like because they were quite moody… It became a little bit intimidating because there were in these big groups of lads and I looked at them and thought, ‘What have they got in common?’ They all wore man-bags… So I decided we were going to ban man-bags, and in the space of four weeks, we got rid of those bad elements.” Hence the ban was extended to Parklife, and remains in place today.
Presumably, though, they’d make an exception for Grace Jones…
V Festival blundered this year when the Birmingham Mail noticed that “show times” appeared on their list of prohibited items. This raised the spectre of security confiscating clashfinder printouts, thus forcing people to purchase the official programme in order to find out when Jonas Blue is on. Thankfully, organisers quickly saw sense and amended the list to read “unofficial merchandise or lanyards”, emphasising that all show times would be available on their free app.
Surely festivals are scary enough for babies without over-zealous security guards confiscating their dummies? Hang on… it seems this rule is aimed strictly at the over-18s, who are the only people allowed to attend Ultra festival, where pacifiers are banned. In which case, fair enough. Nobody wants to turn around in the techno tent at 3am to see a fellow raver dressed like an adult baby.
As festivals have introduced more glam and burlesque elements on top of the traditional rock’n’rave fare, so feather boas have become a common sight. But American festivals such as Shambhala have cracked down on this trend, arguing – reasonably – that they are an environmental hazard. “These items tend to fall apart very easily and the synthetic feathers are very difficult to clean up,” explains Shambhala’s FAQ page. “Any garbage that can’t be picked up by us is usually eaten by the cows, so please leave your feather boas at home.” Shirley Bassey wasn’t likely to play anyway.