Why you should cut your festival wristbands off

Sophie Caraan

A festival wristband is a badge of honor. It signifies the struggles you faced during the said event: the endless bathroom lines, losing your friends on the festival grounds, overpriced drinks–you overcame them all. It’s only fair that you get to keep it on your wrist and show it off, right?

No, it’s gross and will literally make you sick.

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University of Surrey microbiologist Dr. Alison Cottell proved this (obvious) fact with the help of two Reading Festival bands that were on their persons for two years. The results showed that they contained two types of bacteria that garnered a total of around 11,000 cells. That’s 20 times higher than what you would normally find on the sleeve of a piece of clothing that’s washed regularly!

Although the bacteria is normally found on skin, Dr. Cottell found a surprisingly high number on the festival tokens: 9,000 micrococci and 2,000 staphylococci to be exact. Micrococci has been linked to several infections such as pulmonary, recurrent bacteremia, and septic shock; staphylococci are usually innocuous, but they have been found to cause boils and infections of wounds, and can also cause acute food poisoning if ingested.

Walking around with an armful of festival bands is definitely a head turner. It gives people the idea that you’re the type to appreciate music, whether it be a specific genre or otherwise. They’re accessories one wears with much pride, but when the ends start to dip into unwanted liquids, you gotta draw the line. There’s always the risk of the bacteria spreading and Dr. Cottell urges workers in healthcare or food preparation to get snip them off. In fact, she suggests all festival goers to remove the bands right after the event.

She gave no advice on completely disposing of your festival gems, but at least keep them off your body. We understand that getting rid of a wristband is like throwing away a memory, but please do everyone a favor and keep them in a box or something.

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