A Rant on Rage Sticks – aka Festival Totems 


Source: Pinterest
by Russell S. Glowatz

This past weekend Pretty Lights put on an episodic festival in New Hampshire. In between sets, crew members were sent out to move a totem wielding fan from the front of the stage to the side, so lighting folks could do their job without an unobstructed view. Soon after, Pretty Lights’ lighting designer, LazerShark, worked up an anti-totem image to plaster on the screen at the back the stage. LazerShark was simply poking fun – His later post about the incident metes that out.

According to Live For Live Music, after the incident LazerShark commented: “Just to be clear since some people think it’s their right to be an inconsiderate douche. Your right to “self-expression” has not been banned at our shows. We simply just want both our crew and our audience to be able to enjoy the show how they intended. We could have simply confiscated this stupid jellyfish [totem] but instead we decided to have a little fun and prove a very simple point. Stand to the side dummies. Or I’m coming to your job with a giant sign that says fuck you and you can explain to your boss why some guy is interfering with your work.” 

Source: Live For Live Music

I’m going to take LazerShark’s sentiment to the next level. Ban those fucking rage rods altogether. There’s a thousand ways to express yourself at a festival without getting up in people’s faces. You can sing, dance, wear crazy clothing, go nude, paint your face, wear no makeup at all, carry around a super heady backpack with all your pins and swag on it, hand out cards to everyone with your favorite inspirational quote, etcetera, etcetera, ad nauseam. These totems are the epitome of getting up in others’ spaces – If you rock one, your selfishness outweighs your self-expression tenfold.  

Ban those completely inconsiderate “I’m the center of the universe” poles. Friends don’t let friends bring cock sizing rods to festivals. If you have a friend or relative putting together one of these silly spikes, stop them immediately. Break that thing in half! They’ll be pissed at you in the present, but will thank you down the line. Imagine an episode of Intervention, except the only drug your loved one is high on this time is their own ego. 

“But wait, I need my totem to find my friends!” If you seriously need one of these oversized sceptres to find your friends at a fest (in 2017!!!) you should be banned from the grounds, as you’re clearly a danger to others and yourself. If American soldiers could find their comrades in the jungles of Vietnam with a compass and the stars, why can’t you find your buddies in a crowd at a festival – when literally everyone is a walking GPS these days? Oh, you say you left your phone in your car? Cool, then make a meeting spot where you can all gather at a specific time! It’s really simple shit we’re talking about here.  Being considerate of staff and your fellow festival goers, I would presume is paramount for most people attending such events. The rage stick violates these central tenets. If one walks around a fest with such an unwieldy staff, you’re breaking the Golden Rule without even knowing it.  

Sure, festivals are the last Wild West – A place to break free from the confines of meager existence to celebrate life to the fullest. But are rage sticks really necessary to rage life to the fullest?! Hell no! Party, get schwilly (do people still say schwilly?), get down, get dirty, and express yourself to your heart’s desire, just leave your beanstalk at home (or at least your campsite). It’s simple. And if you’re seriously having issues giving up your Napoleon Complex pole, therapy might be a good outlet. End rant.  


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2 thoughts on “A Rant on Rage Sticks – aka Festival Totems ”

  1. This rant was probably more arrogant, narcissistic, and obnoxious than any McLovin license or LED Jellyfish could ever be.

    Even if it’s true that totems can be annoying (and I agree 100% that they can be), it’s not like they ALWAYS are; it’s not like every quantity of every thing stuck to a stick is going to necessarily present a problem.

    Banning totems feels over authoritarian. Sticking a thing on a stick and carrying it out around is a natural form of human expression because it’s obvious. Sort of like how pyramids appear all around the world because its the most efficient / natural way to stack a pile of rocks.

    I don’t think there is a risk of totem-use proliferating to some uncontrollable degree (especially since there’s a lot of people that hate them), so it seems that the best answer is for artists and crews to just put their foot down when it becomes a problem. A message is sent and the culture will adapt. Not really a big deal.

    So dry your eyes, because there’s no real need to pen some tear-drenched missive about it. (And I highly suspect that irate anti-totem rage like yours–and you’re not alone of course–is really coming from their modern-day association with the young EMD crowd). I would wager that if festivals started “banning” rage sticks it wouldn’t last very long.

    We can all dream though I suppose? I for one, however, don’t share in your dreams for a totem-free “utopia” at music festivals.

    1. Haha…thanks for your reply…I had a moment, and I ranted…Everybody’s been there, difference is I published it…Now that it’s out of my system I feel less pheclempt about it…however still think those damn sticks are silly, useless, and pose more problems than good…you’re definitely right, this is more of an EDM problem…and since I won’t be in charge of any festivals anytime soon, ragesticks are safe…except maybe at Pretty Lights shows. Anyway, thanks for reading my useless tear-drenched missive 🙂

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