The term “wook” by nature is so immersed in context that if you’ve it heard in conversation, you’re likely to already be part of the culture of which it originates. Otherwise we can only imagine your curiosity was piqued by a couple of dreadlocked shlubs in front of you at the gas station buying American Spirits while you innocently were trying to buy some coffee and get to you know, your fucking job. This strange bearded man dressed in an assault of psychedelic sublimation dye asks his buddy to grab him a pack, too, and his friend replies with chagrin “Get your own, you fuckin’ wook.”
You then find yourself wondering, am I really missing out this much by not watching The Mandalorian? First baby yoda captivates hearts then millennials start calling each other wookies… 2020 you are weird!
Joking aside, we promise to answer the question at hand. What is a wook, in a context other than a furry race of courageous creatures in the Star Wars series? A wook is a hippie, most often a music and festival fan, that at its basic form owns nothing and borrows everything. He is basically a Scumbag Steve meme with a flat brim hat (did I just show my age with the Scumbag Steve meme? RIP in peace to the classics amirite?).
Outwardly they have ratty dreadlocks, often garishly hippie-ish clothes that lack subtlety, and inwardly they have an insatiable need for crunchy jams and nose drugs with a staggering sense of entitlement that results in them sneaking into festivals while simultaneously demanding good money or heady trades for a pitifully wire wrapped piece of sea glass. They aren’t afraid to criticize the festival for anything from their use of styrofoam plates to their policy on illegal vending, and haven’t bought their own pack of cigarettes since 2008.
You will need to beware of relentless stories about Grateful Dead tour in ‘95 from the wooks with white whiskers starting to show in their beard, but you’ll want to steer clear especially of the Phish wook – who deceptively often has short hair but is identified by his unexplainable ability to appear both 13 and 30 years old at the same time–with curls of an infant and the frown lines of a disapproving bible school teacher. They are rare, but the stories of endless touring will trick you into thinking they are funding their own trip, and he’ll end up sleeping in the chair in the corner of your hotel room after mumbling to himself for hours.
The Bassnectar wooks are probably the easiest to spot in the wild, with their signature pashminas and dry-as-Spongebob-on-land blood-shoot eyes, but no matter the musical preference of these wild creatures, wooks are undomesticated animals trying to live off the land and your wallet, so approach them with caution and care. It’s best to confront them only with the offering of a vegan snack and a “hey there buddy, did you like that ‘Carini’ little pal?” before bagging and tagging them for proper safety.
As new generations of music fans join the festival and concert crowds, the definition for “wook” has started to lose some of its negative “Scumbag Steve” connotation and refer more to the general stereotype of a traveling music fan with dreadlocks and an affinity for bad fashion, who’s just trying to innocently make a modest living selling posters on the lot and do enough psychedelics to forget half of the show. These folks are just trying to do an honest day’s work and maybe borrow a few bumpskis, but the lifestyle of an average hardcore music fan on the road should not be lumped in with wookery in the classical sense.
I, myself, am guilty of using the word in this loose connotation and started to accept my own wookishness after collecting an armful of festival bracelets that I refused to take off and eventually developing a taste for warm, borrowed beer. I realized my sense of disgust for port-o-potties was almost completely gone and I was gifted a wire-wrapped spoon on a silver chain, at which point I dropped my glittery knees to the tapestry on the ground and shouted at the blistering sun “WHRRRAA-AA-AAA-RGH!!”
As the term “wook” continues to evolve and lose some of its original meaning, we can choose to embrace this stereotype as a unique part of our culture in the music and festival community, and maybe embrace a little bit of the wook in ourselves. Just don’t be surprised if you call someone the name as a term of endearment and get a nasty response. Be like a Disco Biscuits fan and have a healthy sense of humor about yourself and the subject at hand, because taking yourself seriously with a grapefruit sized pinecone around your neck is damn near impossible. Living on a shoestring budget in order to catch tons of music, dance like a weirdo, and smoke hand-rolled spliffs is a traditional way of life brought forth by generations of stinking hippies before us, so carry that honor like a piece of “family silver” and do Jerry proud by not being a scumbag wook who leeches off responsible music fans just trying to make their way. As Mark Twain said, “The lot does not owe you a living. The lot owes you nothing. You are a wook.”