Zen and the art of festival dressing
If the clothes truly maketh the man, there are a lot of Rastafarians in Adelaide at the moment.
Dozens were out and about over the weekend, with their slouching woven hats in red, yellow and green, and their long, black dreadlocks swishing down their backs.
Strangely, many of them sported wisps of blond from the front, or even a shining, pink and completely bald cranium peeking out from their rasta gear.
The joy of festivals comes not only from the music, but from the displays of sartorial elegance.
Take Womadelaide, for example. There are many misconceptions about this fabulous four-day adventure.
Some folks with a literal bent apparently believe it is a woman’s festival, all braless, hairy-legged women performing pagan rituals around a representation of the Moon Goddess. It’s not.
Others cling to the misguided idea that it’s about world music.
OK, so music and dance are the foundation on which Womad was built. But it has moved beyond that to be a living museum of human eccentricities.
Far more entertaining than the latest Arabic techno folk/pop sensation, then, is the people-watching potential.
There is a standard set of costumes. Harem or fishermen’s pants. Ethnic fabrics. Organic leather jewellery. Henna tattoos. Real tattoos. Outlandish piercings. Tie-dye.
Must-have accessories for many include the trappings of a carnie – diabolos, juggling balls, firesticks.
Crocs or thongs or Birkenstocks or bare feet.
Babies are an important fashion accessory – swaddled in organic cotton, or cuddled in a handwoven sling. Toddlers roam around with their parents’ mobile numbers on their wrists.
But it’s the headwear that is the most intriguing part of the festival rituals.
There is a hat that is worn only at music festivals. I call it a gumnut hat (but I must be the only one because I can’t find them online). It’s a sculptured thing, like a garden gnome’s ineffectual headpiece, but woven from hemp. It gives the wearer the appearance of a down-and-out wizard who had to make his own clobber from rough brown string.
Then (sprinkled, of course, among the much trendier trilbies and Panamas, cowboys and caps) there are the other novelty hats – the umbrella hat, the clown jester hat, the homemade hat – and of course the rasta hat.
Sadly, Womad is over for another year – although there was exciting news in yesterday’s Advertiser that a satellite event – Earth Station - is planned for October.
So, in homes all over Adelaide, people are putting away their festival glad rags. The colourful ponchos are going in the back of the cupboard, the hats on their hooks.
The accountant is folding away his multi-coloured happy pants, and the lawyer is carefully stowing her wooden African beads. Somewhere, a stockbroker is storing his old Peace Corps t-shirt, and a public servant is boxing up her protest badges for another day.
And down the road, or in the next suburb, a new set of costumes is being aired. The Ford caps, the Holden shirts. There’ll Jim Beam Zippos and short shorts and muscle Ts as Adelaide is transformed, again, from Hippie Wonderland to Bogan Central.
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…