Hippies and music festivals have maintained a symbiotic relationship since the dawn of the Grateful Dead. Just go to any summer music festival and follow the LED hoola hoops to find guys and gals in knit clothing, discussing decor plans for their Burning Man cart. We have no problem with this longhaired, peace-loving tribe of dance music fans. They are an essential part of the festival demographic and have had a positive influence on the culture.
But there's a subsection of hippie cut from a different (hemp) cloth. Enter the wookie. Named after the Star Wars character, wookies are like the unenlightened, neanderthal version of the hippie-sapien. Most people enjoy being around hippies due to their strict commitment to good vibes. Wookies, on the other hand, don't live their lives under a code of any kind. They're the ones standing outside the festival gates with cardboard signs written in their own filth. The ones aggressively hustling you for spare change and cigarettes. The ones brazenly elbowing everyone on the dancefloor after guzzling cocktails of drugs.
Wookies are a nuisance, a curse, and the bane of dance music culture. Here's how to spot one at your next music festival.
Many People Use Drugs, But Wookies Abuse Drugs
A lot of people are able to consume mind-altering drugs in a sensible manner. Even your parents dropped acid with you that one time at Gathering of the Vibes. This isn't the case for wookies, because nothing a wookie does is sensible or controlled. A wook will eat five grams of mushrooms, wash it down with a tab of acid dropped directly on their retina, and right when they think they have a handle on their trip (or life), they'll shove some sort of crystal straight up their ass. These are the people at festivals who pass out while standing up, whip out their junk and piss themselves in a group of people, before passing out again. This is a reason why security at festivals is becoming more stringent than the Gaza Strip. Wooks don't know how to take drugs—they abuse them.
They Spread Bad Vibes
There's nothing better than sharing a special moment with a stranger at a music festival. Often, the idea of someone you've never met saying something nice, funny, or just comforting out of the blue can make the festival experience that much more magical. Other times, you just want to do your own thing, talk to your friends, and enjoy the moment in your own way. A wookie doesn't give a shit about what you want to do. They're terrible at reading body language, and insist on mumbling gibberish in your ear whether or not you're interested in what they have to say. They invade your space and creepily paw at you if they even suspect you have a joint. Not cool, bro.
They Peddle Pins in Your Face
While ravers have kandi, hippies have pins. These pins are usually placed on decorative fitted hats (often sold by Grassroots) embroidered with the logos of one's favorite jam bands. The creativity and trading culture that goes into pin culture should be celebrated. However, a beautiful thing that was started by the hippies has been defiled by the wookies. Pins used to just be a cool way to rep your favorite band, but wookies have skewed it into an obsession. Should you find yourself at a Phish or String Cheese Incident show, watch out for the wookies aggressively getting in your face to peddle their pins. You can also observe them using the hat's special stash pockets to hide their "meow meow," (a favorite substance of the wooks), or whatever research chemicals cousin Jimmy made in his outhouse last weekend. The wook has taken pins and hats from fun fashion to straight fucked up.
The Infamous Wookie Jig
Music festivals are all about the beauty of self expression. A lot of that involves the opportunity to dance all day and night, how you want, where you want, regardless of how stupid you look. At the same time, you can learn a lot about someone by how they dance, especially when trying to spot a wookie. Behold: the wookie jig. A medley of river dancing, square dancing, and having a full blown seizure, the wookie jig is often the result of taking so many dissociative drugs that you've lost motor control of your body. You'll notice these people convulsing, moving, dipping, hopping and generally invading your personal space in these type of situations. Move to the other side of the crowd.
They Are the Dirtiest People at the Party
Saying you are the smelliest person at a summer music festival is not an easy feat. These are events where the majority of people don't have access to showers for days at a time, spend 12 hours dancing, and upwards of five hours rolling in the grass. Yet, somehow, most wookies show up to festivals dirtier than you could ever get for its entirety. If you walk into a thick fog that smells like some combination of toe cheese, burnt sage, and three-day piss, be careful—there's probably a wookie nearby.
If you ever find yourself in danger of a wookie attack, check out @wookbuster for reported sightings.
Follow David on Twitter