Over the past weekend, I notice I spent my time looking at social media at all the different Coachella post. I was obsessed with trying to live the Coachella experience without actually being there. I had the urging desire to know who was at Coachella, what artist they were seeing and what their outfits looked like. I notice Sunday that I spent the majority of my weekend consuming a bunch of Coachella content. I had friends who were actually live streaming Coachella throughout the day. The more I thought about it the more I really asked, what is it about Coachella?
I remember when I was a freshman in high school I had no idea what Coachella even was. My 9th-grade literature teacher Mr. Brubaker, a single forty-year-old man really into alternative music, told us in class one day how he would be out for a day. The reason he said is that he is going to be going to this music festival called “Coachella.” He spent the whole class talking all about Coachella and how he had been going for years and looks forward to it every year. He would show us the lineup and let us know which artist he was most excited to see. The next Monday he would come back with pictures, videos, and stories about his weekend at Coachella. For him, Coachella was a unique experience. He not only appreciated the artist performing on the stage, but the pieces of art at the festival. He stopped going to Coachella a few years after my freshman year. When I asked him why he said that it’s not the same anymore. Over the years Coachella has become very mainstream.
It started with the artist, they have changed from indie/ alternative music to people who you hear on the radio. For instance, this year one of the headliners was Ariana Grande. She has recently become big following the release of her two albums “Sweetener,” and “Thank You, Next.” She has been on the Billboard top 100 for weeks. Though I am a huge fan of Ariana Grande I just wonder. If this originated as an indie/ alternative music festival, Why is Ariana Grande there? The thing is having mainstream artists, increases the revenue of ticket sales. Coachella has gone from a ticket costing $200 or a $500 dollar ticket for general admission. One weekend at Coachella approximately cost over $1,000. That is insane! I am personally a big fan of concerts. I have been to quite a few and each time I go to one I claim that it is the best day of my life. I still though cannot picture myself spending $500 on a ticket to a music festival unless I like every single artist that is performing. Also, something that has changed is the lineup. A few years ago there used to be two different line ups for the two different weekends. This created an opportunity for more artist to be involved. They have recently changed it that the line up is the same for both weekends. As time has gone on Coachella has become an instagramable event.
When I was on Twitter over the weekend, I saw this video about how the majority of people come to Coachella just to take photos of themselves at Coachella. I began thinking about my teacher once again. The artwork that he used to show us in class, is now a background for someone’s selfie. Weird. As the years have gone on I have noticed that Coachella has become more about posting that you are there than the actual music itself. Clothing companies profit from this trend, having a line each year specifically for music festivals. This company called “Revolve” has a festival a little outside of Coachella each year bringing out an artist to perform on their stage. They typically invite exclusive celebrities, and social media influencers but this year they opened it up to the public. I know of people it is their goal to go to the “Revolve Festival.” It is crazy of me to think that just going to Coachella is not a thing anymore.
Now people want to go to different brand promotional events, during the day and the actual festival at night. When I think of weekend one of Coachella, I typically do not think of the music festival itself. I think of it as a promotion weekend. A weekend where a majority of the people there are either celebrities, social media influencers, or companies who bring along people as a promotional trip. Many social media influencers spend more time at promotional events than at the festival themselves. These companies also give the people that they bring on these promotional trips, VIP access Coachella tickets. I have noticed the difference in experiences in VIP access and general admission. I always said if I ever were to go to Coachella I would get VIP tickets. This is due to the fact that when getting VIP I would be closer to the stages. There are also special areas for people that have VIP access. As many events like Coachella begin to become mainstream. My question is, how do we keep the authenticity and originality of music festivals?