Yeah, I get it. Wearing a sleeve full of wristbands irritates the hell out of people. It’s a sort of open boast about how much fun you had this summer, sort of like sporting visible tattoos of deep quotes or bragging about being a vegan. I used to be the person that cut them off first thing Monday morning.
And yet for 100 Nights of Summer, I didn’t cut them off. I kept collecting them. I found an interesting phenomenon with wristbands. The more you accrue, the more people you meet. On the train. In grocery stores. Hitchhiking. People who love festivals seek you out — and they have a lot of questions.
Sure, they can be a hassle. I keep them tucked under a long sleeve shirt during custom checks after I spent twenty minutes with two UK officers explaining that this is my real job. They tend to tighten while I’m sleeping, cutting off circulation and they remain wet long after a shower, which forces me to take fewer showers.
For someone who is a music festival expert (USA Today came up with that title, but I’ll be damned if I haven’t leaned into it), I am not the flashiest festival attendee. I don’t have a costume, fun props, or even a cool outfit. What I found, is that I do have these wristbands, and it’s sparked more ice-breaking conversations than I ever imagined.
So here’s a wristband shot from every weekend over the summer taken at 15 different festivals in 15 different countries over the course of 100 days.
Note: I smashed the hell out of my computer in Wales and lost the photo from Vasto. Luckily, I have the stand-in from 2016 to fill the gap!