For a certain class of tchotchke-loving musical pack rat, the festival wristband has become the ultimate souvenier. “Not only was I there,” it declares, hanging like a sweaty badge of courage from their rashy, dirt-encrusted wrists. “But in a way, I still am.” Keeping your wristband locked around your arm, the argument goes, is a way of taking parts of Lolla or Bumber or Hufflepuff with you after you leave.
Lots of parts, as it turns out. Thousands, in fact, if we’re counting bacteria as “parts.” A recent study—with an admittedly small subject group of one guy the doctor knew, who apparently took time out from plotting his strategy for Coachella 2017 to let his wristbands get tested—showed that they contain 20 times more bacteria than normal clothes. That’s not wholly surprising, given that they’re pieces of plastic or cloth that people are keeping millimeters from the roiling cesspool of human skin for months on end, but still: Cut the damn things off. (Of course, that won’t help if you got a little over-eager and strapped it on your wrist a month before the actual show.) The bacteria found in abundance on the bands—micrococci and staphylococci, according to the study—already appear on the skin, but not normally in nearly the high concentrations found on the bands. They can cause rashes and boils, and food poisoning if they get into your food, which they will, because they’re on your damn wrist.
For those unwilling to let go of their sentimental sepsis, though, why not consider framing the bands once you’ve cut them off? You’ll still be able to impress people with your backlog of musical travel, and they’ll be under glass, no longer constituting a public health crisis. (You might want to keep a Hazmat suit on hand in case the frame breaks, though.)