(A Clusterfest attendee sporting a clear bag. Photo: Ashley Bulayo)
It’s officially happening. Clear bags are now a must when it comes to attending festivals.
That is, they were if you attended this year’s Clusterfest and/or are planning on attending Outside Lands. The organizer of both events, Superfly, went ahead and greenlit the controversial “clear bag policy” for both events. Say goodbye to your Jansport — now, just like when you go to football games, you will only be allowed entry with one of the following: a clear plastic, clear vinyl, or clear PVC bag that does not exceed 20” x 15” x 9”; a one-gallon clear zip-top bag; a small clutch bag; or a fanny pack.
With the new rules enforced, people at this past Clusterfest approached the idea with mixed feelings. On one hand, people like one Facebook user commented on the festival’s page: “As much as it inconveniences people, after all the mass shootings we should be glad they’re taking these precautions.” Then you had the other half replying to Clusterfest’s announcement of the policy“announcement of the policy: “You expect people to spend 8+ hours in a festival environment with no backpacks???”
I get it and I accept it. This is coming from a seasoned concert attendee.
Clear bags are an inconvenience for absolutely every person who has worked out a technique on how to pack a bag that can hold everything they might need (and possibly sneak in a few things, if we’re being honest). Not to mention, if you don’t already have a clear bag, you now need to go out and purchase one that adheres to the requirements. Will this make lines go by faster? Probably not, but it may fix one problem: The threat of one’s safety.
We all know why this rule was enacted in the first place. We now live in a world where we can’t overlook the thought of something dangerous happening in a crowded atmosphere, even when you’re just trying to have a good time. As much as we’d like to overlook the bad, we just can’t. This is the reality we live in and rules are implemented for safety. It may be a pain in the ass for people to go buy a new bag or stand in endless lines to get checked, despite the whole point being to have everything in your bag visible from the outside, but hey. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Either way, there was no way to fight this rule at Clusterfest this year, whether you liked it or not. Upon arriving on day one, gates at every entrance were greeted with massive lines out the door, causing tons of people to miss out on the opening acts. This may have been because people didn’t know about the new rules and were jamming their stuff in a clear bag or complaining to security. Either scenario can happen.
Obviously, not everyone will be on board with the new rule, and festivals andconcerts will get some major backlash regardless of its intentions. There will be the few that believe festival goers shouldn’t be punished for someone else’s bad behaviors. Or, heck, there will be those who are paranoid over the idea of others being able to see what they have in their bag, for fear of theft. You can protect someone’s safety, but can you protect someone from thievery? I know some of you are thinking, ‘Then just don’t put your valuables in the front.’ It’s an obvious answer, but I like to think everything I own is valuable…
To put things into a bit of perspective, the first day of Clusterfest was an absolute clusterfuck, but we live and we learn. It’s the first year they enacted the new rule and we all learn from our mistakes. Will Outside Lands be the exact same? Who knows. There may be another handful of those who don’t read the rules beforehand and come straight to the entrance without thinking twice about the new requirements. It pays to pay attention, people.
At the end of the day, we all should have seen this coming. The NFL started requiring clear bags at games a few years ago, and eventually people accepted the new ruling. It will be harder to sneak in some extra booze, but I’ll take the safety of my life over being able to be intoxicated for cheap or free.
No one can guarantee if this rule will stick around forever, but for now, we all have to suck it up, make an Amazon order, or just leave some things at home before heading to a festival. Better yet, stuff the essentials (keys, wallet, phone) in your pockets and forgo bringing any bag at all!