Imagine this: all of your favorite artists & social media celebrities in the same place at the same time, movin' and groovin' all night long in the Californian desert. Gorgeous large scale art installations, delicious food stalls, arts & crafts tents, games, camping, and instagrammable moments at every turn — it's a Millennial's dream come true.
After watching these past two weekends of the festival unfold on social & news media, I think my desire to attend these three days of fun have begun to fade. Instead, I've started to look past the picture-perfect moments of flower crowns and bikini tops into something a little less superficial and a little more realistic — however, I'll let you be the judge of that. Is Coachella really an event worth attending?
1. Firstly, it's owned by Philip Anschutz, a Colorado billionaire accused of supporting numerous anti-LGBTQ+, pro-gun, and anti-weed foundations
Coachella (and other music festivals for that matter) have always been considered inclusive and extremely welcoming to people of all shapes, sizes, colors, genders, and ages. The fact that the fourth largest music festival in the world has its origins based in an anti-LGBTQ+ founder has turned a lot of music-lovers away. As a whole, his Conservative values have not sat well with Coachella's predominantly Liberal audience.
2. This is NOT an affordable experience for most young adults
Let's do a little math here: if you're planning to take the "cheapskate" route, or spend the least amount of money on your Coachella experience as possible, this will be your financial breakdown.
And if you're willing to splurge, your weekend could add up to $5,332. Yikes.
*Side note: this does not account for any new/trendy outfits you need to purchase beforehand — that sh*t can clear out your bank account, too!
3. It's all one huge advertising campaign
Olivia Petter of the UK's Independent wrote, "Coachella is not a festival for people, but for Instagram." Though social media makes it seem so candid as if there are A-list celebrities at every turn & your favorite artists are just 5 feet away on stage, I'm here to tell you that that's not the case. Many celebrities/influencers are PAID to attend Coachella, wear certain brands and hold certain beverages simply because they were endorsed to. Seriously — even if you think you saw Kylie Jenner post a Snapchat by the tent you were just seated near, she's already back at the Lacoste pool party she was paid to be seen at. You may not be aware of it at first, but you even being there is nothing other than a number for these big businesses.
4. Celebrities and recurring attendees are claiming "it's really not as fun as it looks"
Yes, musical festival's aren't exactly the most comfortable & clean places on Earth, but adding that extra element of the scorching Indio DESERT doesn't make the situation any better (plus, sandstorms are a real thing & they don't just pause for some hundred thousand people). Social media influencer Emma Chamberlain claimed that after a full day at Coachella in 2018, her feet "looked like [she] stuck them in a blender for an hour and a half" with swollen ankles and blisters. And, with week two reaching near triple digits, "spectators [were] at risk for heat stroke or heat exhaustion" without proper hydration. YouTube star Niki DiMartino even made an entire 12-minute video titled "Why People Hate Coachella but Still Go," with uncomfortability + extreme temperatures being at the top of her list.
5. For many, it's an excuse for cultural appropriation
I will never understand why people, still to this day, think it's okay to dress in Native American headdresses, henna tattoos, designer hijabs, and bindis all in the name of *fashion.* It's one thing if your intention is to appreciate and honor another's culture, but when you decide to opt into fashion & opt out of the struggles someone else has faced, it becomes a problem.
6. The Uber situation at the end of the night is just a cluster f*ck
So it's the end of the night, you're sweaty, your feet are bleeding, and you just want to get back to your hotel room. Well thanks to Uber, that's gonna be an additional hour of waiting, running around the campgrounds trying to find your driver, + additional fees for such a busy region. Good luck. Niki DiMartino claimed that she waited "over an hour" for a ride home.
7. Not only are the alcoholic drinks super expensive, they're also super watered down
$12.00 for an eight ounce, light mixed drink? No thanks, I'd rather pre-game.
8. Additionally, you can only drink under designated tents
Where most UK musical festivals allow you to sip in your cocktail while you watch your favorite artists, Coachella forces attendees to sit underneath crowded tents or roped-off lawns in order to enjoy their drink. So when The Weeknd's up on stage performing "Drinks On Us," you can raise your glass from the confines of the beverage tent...
9. Fast-fashion thrives at Coachella
Let's be honest — are you really gonna wear that leather bikini bottom any other time than the 10 hours you're at the festival? Didn't think so. Instead, you've probably paid way too much for your overpriced outfits, will dispose of them soon after, will continue supporting big corporations that exploit oversees workers, and contribute to environmental decline all for your ~cute boho look~.
10. Now, as soon as you attend once, you're expected to attend every year after
Get ready for the "You're not going this year? You'll regret it!" response after you tell your friends/followers you're skipping out. People just assume that once you've gone, you've turned into that Coachella girl who plans her outfits months ahead, brings her professional camera for pictures, and writes blog posts or makes videos on her experience. It's never a one-time thing, there will always be FOMO the year you decide to opt out of attending.
With all of these things in mind, would you still go?