The Crackdown on Selfie Sticks

Coachella and Lollapalooza, two of the most popular music festivals on the planet, have joined the growing ranks of events and organizations banning the smartphone attachment. Lollapalooza is being a bit more aggressive with its policy, prohibiting a broader array of devices with its declaration of no “GoPro attachments like sticks, selfie sticks & monopods.” And the bans have fans and haters digging in with their arguments.

There are two main reasons behind the rules. The first is safety, which itself can be broken down into two subcategories. In the case of music festivals, organizers don’t want their hopped-up revellers to get impaled by a selfie stick while moshing or crowdsurfing. Likewise, English football stadiums already have enough trouble with drunkards and think it’s safer without the sticks. Museums and art galleries are more concerned with the hapless tourist who might accidentally smash a Ming vase while searching for the perfect picture angle.

The second reason behind the bans has to do with maintaining the experience. Venues and organizers don’t want to turn away some visitors by having others constantly waving sticks around, obstructing their view. And here’s where the split in opinions starts to grow wide. Those in favour of the bans agree they don’t want to have their experiences ruined by self-absorbed selfie addicts. But the dissenters say if selfie sticks have to go, so too do handmade signs (you know, the ones your favourite band won’t actually read), people sitting on shoulders, and the freakishly tall people in general.

Will the fight over selfie sticks change anything? It’s unlikely, as the organizations and venues certainly have the right to control what’s allowed on their property. Music, sport, and art themselves are probably more important to the masses than pictures of people enjoying music, sport, and art. Of course, you could always just take a picture of the subject, rather than making it the setting. Or, you could ask another person to take your picture.

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