LOS ANGELES (AP) — You can bring your beach towels and floral headbands, but forget that selfie stick if you’re planning to go to the Coachella or Lollapalooza music festivals.
The devices, which grasp cellphones to allow people to take pictures of themselves farther away from their faces, are banned at this summer’s festivals in Indio, California, and Chicago. Coachella dismissed them as “narsisstics” on a list of prohibited items. Selfie sticks have become a popular but polemical photo-taking tool: Avid picture takers like snapping their own shots in front of monuments and sunsets, but critics dismiss them as obnoxious and potentially dangerous to others around them.
A spokeswoman for Coachella would not comment on the restriction. Lollapalooza representatives did not return a request for comment but on the festival’s Twitter account said the decision was being made “for safety, to speed security checks at the gate & to reduce the number of obstructions between the fans and the stage.”
Coachella and Lollapalooza are among dozens of big events and landmarks taking a stand against the sticks.
In Europe, the Palace of Versailles outside Paris, Britain’s National Gallery in London and the Colosseum in Rome have all banned selfie sticks, saying they need to protect exhibits on display and ensure the safety of visitors.
In the U.S., Ultra Music Festival in Miami, one of the world’s largest electronic music festivals, also prohibited selfie sticks at last weekend’s event.
“They will be turned away and we’ll probably make fun of you,” Ultra said on its Twitter account earlier this month.
Wayne Fromm, creator of the Quik Pod and the first to patent the selfie stick more than a decade ago, said he understood the decision for museums and festivals to ban the stick and that the intention was never for the device to be fully extended in busy spaces.
“Intentionally or not, there is a danger to other people in crowded places,” he told The Associated Press.
He added that he is at work on a new selfie-taking tool that will accomplish the same tasks without so many problems.
Another selfie-stick entrepreneur, Jacqueline Verdier, CEO of Selfie on a Stick, said the festivals were going too far and that the sticks can be used safely.
“I think it’s really doing a bit of disservice to the attendees,” Verdier said. “They’re not going to be able to capture the same memories.”
Some concertgoers praised the decision, saying the sticks promote a culture of narcissism and detract from the festival experience. Others said they enjoy using them and lament there is so much negativity around them.
Thomas Smith, 31, of Los Angeles, will be going to Coachella this year and said he wasn’t planning to bring it into the venue because of recent backlash against the stick — even though he’s used it on previous occasions and likes the sticks because of the perspective he’s able to get for photos and video.
“People make fun of the people who use them,” he said. “Taking a selfie is kind of an embarrassing thing but when you see someone who went out of their way to get equipment to take a selfie, there’s an extra level of embarrassment attached.”
Asked about Coachella and others dubbing the self-stick as a “narsisstic,” Fromm said he found the term offensive. He said people have liked to look at themselves since the beginning of time and that everyone wants to look their best.