Coachella is one of the first main stream festivals to happen each year. Covering two weekends in April, Coachella brings over half million people to Indio, CA to bask in the glory of the sun, the music, and the fashion. It is a staple festival in the United States that focuses primarily on two things: media and money. When the festival first debuted in 1999, tickets were $50 and they lineup was focused on artistry rather than radio popularity. But as the festival has grown, I feel it has become nothing more than an economic showroom and a “trendy” place to be.
So what’s it like?
Coachella is basically an extension of LA life. It’s like walking around a land of selfies, surrounded by beautiful people whose goal is to show everyone on their Instagram feed how cool they are for being there. Everyone who’s anyone is there. I went for my first time last year, and scrolling through my Instagram was like seeing a live feed of the festival. Pretty much every blogger I follow from LA was there, doing photoshoots and making videos. Endless festival fashion and shameless selfies filled my feed. You’re bound to see supermodels, artists, actors, and musicians at some point or another. So if you’re looking for a fun place for a photoshoot, Coachella is the place for you. If you’re looking to get a real festival experience (one filled with love, integrity, and non-judgment), you’ll need to look elsewhere. As a seasoned festival traveler, Coachella wasn’t really my thing.
What about the venue? I hear it’s pretty dope.
The Coachella grounds aren’t bad. They are definitely a trek to get to if you’re staying nearby and walking, but the weather is incredible and the energy is high, so walking around is fun. There are 7 stages total, and the main stage is pretty epic. It’s probably half the reason most people attend. There are speakers everywhere and the backdrop of the stage is lit. Seeing a performance there is unforgettable. It’s an incredible experience, to be in the middle of the desert with a crowd that big, singing along to all of your favorite songs. I had a great time at this stage. There was one problem, however. At the end of the last night, when everyone was trying to leave the venue, the crowd bottle necked the only entrance. We got locked inside the venue for 2 hours after the shows had ended. After 3 days of running around and dancing, your body is exhausted and the last thing you want is to be stuck in the venue.
And the food?
Overpriced. Way overpriced. $20-$30 for a small meal of average quality. I am used to paying $12 for some delicious, organic, nutrient dense meal at music festivals so I was very disappointed, especially because I had heard so much hype around the food. I guess it depends on your taste and budget, but for the healthy working girl, it’s subpar.
But the fashion…
The fashion is the highlight of the festival. Because it is such a socialite-heavy event, you’ll see hundreds of models, fashion bloggers, stylists, and creative types pouring their heart and soul into their outfits. If there is one reason to go to Coachella, it’s to get ready. Getting ready is half the fun of any event, but at Coachella, it’s everything. I think it’s safe to say that most of the attendees are in it for the selfies and pictures with friends.
Coachella is expensive. Tickets sell out early and GA cost about $400. However there is a payment plan option, which can help ease some of the pain. Depending on where you’re coming from and where you’re staying, one weekend at Coachella could cost you anywhere from $1000-$10,000+. The travel arrangements are what really break the bank. If you camp, you’ll be able to save some money, but if you stay in a hotel or air bnb be prepared to spend at least $300/night. If you really need to make Coachella work on a budget, I think you could make the experience work for around $1000, but be prepared to spend more than that.
I think by now you can see where I stand on the whole Coachella experience. If I come at it with the perspective of being on the set of a 3 day long photoshoot, then it’s pretty rad, I guess. But as a music festival, the kind that I am passionate about, it almost doesn’t even count. The experience does not exceed the cost, IMO. I would much rather take the $2500 I spent on the entire trip and spread that across four avant-garde festivals that feed my soul. There are way better festivals out there to attend and support. I will enlighten you with some of them soon!