There are only a few instances where I have voluntarily covered a shift at the restaurant I work in or extended a personal deadline that I set for myself. They range from being as serious as being obnoxiously ill or having a funeral to perform as superficial as having an old flame in town. I carefully weigh my options Am I sick because I have a hangover? If so, I don’t deserve a break, âor I do some serious social media sleuthing to find out if my old flame is still a sure thing or if he’s otherwise engaged. The only thing that requires little or no thought at all is going to a show. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 2014 Descendants Tour that I’ve waited all my life to see, a friend’s band that I’ve seen play at least 25 times, or if it’s a band that I’ve never heard of but someone said “You would like them” – I’m Go. Sorry, dear, you will have to make your own pizza this evening.
Now that I have a free Saturday night, my day starts early with a full body exfoliation from my lips to my legs and of course to my face. Not touching my hair, as I clearly had the foresight to prepare some serious length retention to achieve a nice fluffy afro for yesterday’s event. Then I realized I couldn’t go to the show naked very well, so what the hell is this bona fide punk girl supposed to be doing wear to a reggae show??
I have more than 10 years of experience at Destroy Babylon Broadcasts (DB for short). Choosing an outfit is always tricky, even though it’s the best kind of reggae in my opinion as they are heavily influenced by old-school reggae and punk rock. Since they are so diverse, I never know what should be my favorite outfit: they could play with a New York hip-hop team like DXA or old school reggae acts like Steel pulse. Saturday I would dress for a real reggae concert because the closest was 10ft ganja plant – It’s all in the name.
“Unofficial tour bus”
Of course, one of the best things about being among a crowd that loves reggae, smokes ganja, and loves free is that you will have the luxury of being among the less snobbish of the spectators. – generally. No scene, however, is without its own list of concert dos and don’ts. You still don’t want to be caught wearing a Destroy Babylon t-shirt on a Visit Destroy Babylon, unless you’ve been eagerly shopping for merchandise after the show and can’t WAIT to slip from your now sweaty tee into a crisp DB shirt. Here are some dos and don’ts for your next Dub party, reggae show, or ska festival.
Wear a hat
This is the perfect place to showcase your hats preferences: Fedoras will be a good choice for all hair styles and genders. You will be among professional hat wearers. A boater’s hat? Yes. You’re welcome. Got an old newsboy cap that you put away in 1999 and thought you’d never use? This will be your chance to bring him back.
Don’t wear fake dreads … or any other headwear for that matter
Hey so just to let you know there’s literally never a good time to wear a Jamaican Rasta hat with dreadlocks. I really hate to say never, but I have to be honest I consider this helmet to be a socially acceptable black face shape. The intention to mock is still there.
Bring back the hemp
Oh haiiii hemp necklace I made in high school, looks like tonight is your lucky night! Hemp is crap, whether you put essential oil on old acne scars, drink hemp milk in your cafe, or seriously rock cute sativa bag made of hemp. Believe me, it’s the crowd that will fully appreciate how awesome hemp is.
Don’t bring back the marijuana t-shirts
Granted, there’s a good chance that at any DB show you’ll find yourself at some point in a sea of ââmarijuana smoke. Personally, I roll my eyes and I’m like, “Go vape, man, I’m not trying to make my ‘fro smell like weed!” However, when I feel those sweet keyboard solos that take me back in time to a time when rude boys and girls were all fighting for unity and equalityy, can’t say I care about anything. This is exactly why you shouldn’t wear a marijuana-based t-shirt while eating – it’s like robbing a bank after buying a vanity plaque that says “Bank Robber.”
Wear Chuck Taylor
Now, more likely than not, you’re not going to get something similar to BeyoncÃ©’s dance steps during a reggae show, but you should feel free to slowly skank and put your hands in a prayer position to lift yourself up to Jah as you swing with the crowd. Chucks can be your reggae bestie.
Do not wear high heels
Ladies, now is not the time to pull out a pair of wedge heels even if they have checks on them; it’s not your ska influenced marriage and you don’t want them ruined. Check the heels at the door for the comfort of yourself and those around you. No one expects a stiletto heel to crush their toes at a reggae performance.
Wear your afros
There are certain events that an afro is just going to get in the way – this is not one of them. If I go to the movies I always put myself in a neat crown braid or low ottoman so people can see over me and even at some concerts. I always look around to make sure people aren’t upset that I can’t see over my afro and put things in it for revenge. It’s time to wear it with serious pride: it will be respected, coveted, and the envy of reggae ball!
Image: Kristin Collins Jackson