The Great Hippie Dictionary

Clown nosed man on the lookout. Holding "Hippie Watching" book upside down in his hand.
Photo by Arian Mahboubian

New to festivals? Out of the loop on the ‘hip’ lingo of kids these days? Well look no further, I’ve compiled a list of some unique and possibly misunderstood festival slang. 

Maybe you’ve passed by a group of festival goers and understood nothing of what they were saying. If only we knew what they may have been trying to say. This just might help!

Dirt Goblin – Usually happens to someone after day two of the festival. When you are covered in dirt, sleep deprived, spiraling, but still somehow functioning and thriving. You might look like a scary goblin. Oh, and uh, covered in dirt!

Exodus or Mass Exodus – At the end of the set or the end of the festival where everyone is leaving at the same time. It can be chaotic, or oddly calm and unified.

Two women in mushroom head hats. One is reaching out towards the other who is half squatting down and smiling. Typical festival shenanigans.
Photo by Jacob Avanzato

Festie Bestie – Someone you just met at the festival but have an instant connection with, and therefore spend the entire festival attached to.

FOMOFear Of Missing Out. An uncontrollable feeling that if you leave literally any situation to go to the bathroom or take a nap or any other task needed for human survival, that you will inevitably miss the greatest moment of your entire life and your friends will get to experience it without you. 

GiftingGiving a new friend or complete stranger at a festival a special item, piece of jewelry, or other nameless artifacts. Nothing is expected in return. 

Ground Score – When you find something cool or valuable on the ground and pick it up for yourself. 

Hippie shower – Cleaning your entire body using only baby wipes. 

Land Grab – The act of staking your claim to a spot to camp on for the duration of the festival. This can get a bit competitive and people play dirty, bring your A-game. 

Lost Puppies – The friend that wanders away from the group and isn’t seen all day. 

Hands up in a crowd focused on the one set of hands holding a rubber chicken.
Photo by Eric Allen

MOOPMatter Out Of Place – An acronym coined at Burning Man but relevant at all festivals; small pieces of trash, glitter, feathers, googly eyes, etc., anything that’s not natural left behind on the ground and therefore litter. Pick up your MOOP!

Noob – Gamer slang turned relevant to daily life, someone who’s new to festivals and therefore doesn’t know their ass from their fanny pack. Can also be called Normies!

PLURPeace. Love. Unity. Respect. Invented at raves, these are words to live by and help everyone get along in a crowded space. There is a ‘secret handshake’ that goes along with it followed by trading candy bracelets. IYKYK.

Rave Mom & Dad – Someone in the group who takes care of everyone and will reliably carry things like water, chapstick, sunscreen, and other necessities. Always be grateful for and thank your rave mum n’ pop.

Rail RidersOther sets be damned, they’re there for the headliners and headliners only. Will not give up their spot on the rail at the front of the stage.

Rock Bottom – When you’ve hit the low point of your existence at the festival. Recognition of this is essential (perhaps existential), as you can only go up from there. 

Van loaded full of plush stuffed animals. Woman at her car nearly covered by the animals.
Photo by James Lester

Sparkle Pony – Absolutely un-prepared to survive on their own, but their outfits are fire and their only reason to exist is ‘For the Gram!’

Spiraling – When you throw all your sh*t in a bush and think you are being chased by aliens.

Spirit Guide – When you meet someone who ends up taking you on a spiritual journey and/or shows you the ropes of the festival world. Psychedelics not required. Recommended? Maybe.

Two people in heavy clown makeup and outfits. Not a typical polka dot, red nosed clown. More jester like and whimsical.
Photo by Sydnee Wilson

Theme Camp – A group camp having a specific theme, decor and/or experience, party favors, etc. For example; One camp we love at High Sierra called “Glitter Town” where anyone who walked in would get glitter bombed by the people whose camp it was (see MOOP above).

Totem – A large and usually very tall sign or other display used to find where the group is at a stage where there’s a sea of people. “Look for the big Spongebob totem!”

Wook – Someone who brings nothing to the table but expects to mooch off of others for free. Typically spotted wandering alone aimlessly or walking into your camp looking for handouts. Their nose is likely crusted over permanently with white powder. And you will be subjected to a very long, unwanted story about their dreadlocks…

When you get to Live Oak it may be helpful to understand the common vernacular of festival goers. Knowing the difference between goofing around and ‘boofing’ around will drastically change your experience!

Comment your favorite festival vocabulary below!

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