Low Key at Coachella


Photo courtesy of Pixabay, photo credits to DomCarver

The Coachella venue includes the ferris wheel called Le Grande Wheel, which has become one of the most iconic parts of the festival (Photo courtesy of Pixabay, photo credits to DomCarver).

Every year, an annual music festival is held for two weekends in Indio, California with an artist lineup of celebrity stars from Beyonce to Billie Eilish. The attendees don their best outfits and take their best pictures for Instagram, all while listening to the best music from their favorite artists. This popular two-weekend event is known as Coachella.

“Lots of famous people go [to Coachella] and the outfits are a huge part of it,” said sophomore Brigitte Pinochet.

This year’s lineup included Ariana Grande, Childish Gambino, Tame Impala, Kanye West, Diplo, Kacey Musgraves, Jaden Smith, and more. It took place from April 12 – 14 and April 19 – 21 with an estimated 99,000 person attendance per day for its six days.

“I think it’s cool that they do [Coachella] for people that are into mainstream music, but I wish they would throw in some new [music genres],” said sophomore Nikki Noon.

The highly anticipated artist Billie Eilish performed on April 13th, following the release of her newest album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?. Regardless of opening 30 minutes late, she steered through the show with little difficulty, except for one slip-up when Eilish forgot the lines to one of her own songs.

On Easter Sunday, Kanye West played a two-hour show for the Sunday Service.. The service was comprised of worship, music, and dance. Backing him was a choir and featured artists Chance the Rapper, known for blending hip-hop and gospel, and DMX, a seasoned rapper who began in the 1990s.

Despite Coachella being one of the biggest music festivals, there were still many issues during the festival. Headliner Ariana Grande had audio issues while performing “Bang Bang” with Nicki Minaj; they lost sound in their monitor, causing them to fall offbeat. Similarly, Billie Eilish’s surprise guest Vince Staples had a muted mic while rapping his verse.

“There seemed to be less hype around [Coachella] this year [as opposed to past years]. Nothing big seemed to happen, at least nothing that I noticed,” said Noon.

Last year, Beyonce made history by being the first black woman to headline Coachella. She later went on to strike a deal with Netflix to make her documentary Homecoming. Likewise, Ariana Grande became the youngest headliner of Coachella this year.  

“I saw part of [Homecoming] and I thought it was interesting even though it’s not my genre of music. But, it appeared to be a show stopper,” said Noon.

Rumors arose concerning the difference in pay between Ariana Grande and Beyonce. At first, there was speculation that Ariana Grande was paid eight million dollars and Beyonce only received four million dollars. However, since then it’s been revealed that they both received equal pay: four million dollars for each weekend. In Beyonce’s case, she managed to negotiate rights for footage from her performance. She then used it for her movie on Netflix, possibly leaving her with more money than Ariana made.

“We like seeing our celebrities all together, dressed up in cool clothes and watching their reactions to performances,” said sophomore Brigitte Pinochet.

Interestingly enough, Coachella may also be associated with a spike in herpes in areas surrounding the venue. Herp Alert, a website that can help to diagnose and treat herpes, had 250 cases per day, its usual 12 cases a day.

When it comes to Coachella’s overall review, Noon said, “I think it has so many mainstream people [and] it’s been so oversold and overhyped that it’s now ingrained into society’s pop culture, even if the music isn’t that good.”

In the end, it comes down to if it’s worth the cost and time to see your favorite artist. General admission costs $429, excluding the cost for living on the campgrounds, food, transportation, and showering. So, ultimately it is a question of whether  the attendee thinks it is worth it or not.

“We are obsessed with celebrities, which is why people love Coachella. If we weren’t as obsessed with celebrities, it wouldn’t be as popular,” said Pinochet.

Coachella is fueled by fans and their love for the artists they follow. For some, the music is the driving force, and for others it is the appeal of the culture. Companies push their products and influencers model their outfits, seemingly pushing more for the cultural and social experience of the festival rather than the music itself. Coachella culture is as important as the music, and maybe even more than it. For better or worse, Coachella and its popular artists and exotic outfits are here to stay.