Almost every festival goer has encountered a baggy-clothed hippie flaunting a cork board covered in pins. While pin culture long predates the music festival era, the new trend has made pin collection wildly popular. In the 20th century, travelers and adventurers would collect pins along on their adventures as souvenirs, but now the little trinkets are a staple of festival culture. Now, no basshead is complete without a Grassroots hat covered in Bassnectar pins; no wook is pronounced wook until he has an array of hippy bling signifying their devotion to the carefree lifestyle that soothes their soul.
Pins can be bought, found, or traded, a symbol of places you’ve been, artists you’ve seen, or just a fun piece to add to the collection. They serve as excellent conversation starters: each pin come with its own story, sparking dialogue among music lovers everywhere. Some hippies have even adapted the hobby into entrepreneurship, make a living off of their pins by travelling from festival to festival with their cork board.
Concert pin culture began in the Grateful Dead era when fans would gift each other winged pins, coined ‘earning your wings’. While the trend originated as a gift, many modern-day pin collectors simply purchase the decorations for themselves. And though they may seem like a silly hobby, pin-making is growing into an art form, with more intricate designs selling for hundreds of dollars.
These works of art have become an essential at festivals and shows over the years, and the abundance of heavily embellished hats suggests this trend won’t be losing popularity any time soon. For those new to music festivals, keep your eyes peeled at your next for these pins; festival veterans, it’s about that time to pack up the camping supplies and head out to for the best season of the year and keep building your collection.