I attended Weekend One of Coachella this year with a full understanding of what it would mean at face value. Sadly, when classifying fans of live music, there seems to be a consensus now that only two types exist: those who go to Coachella, and those who don’t (feel free to replace “Coachella” with any music festival, and “don’t” with “only prefer seeing one band at a time in a small venue”).
How we got to this point really isn’t that crazy—and furthermore, I totally get it. Coachella is much more of a “scene” than an appreciation of music, and there’s a very general group of people, growing larger and larger every year, that have made it that way. I joked with my friends heading into the weekend that we had no idea who was playing at the festival, we just showed up to hang out and party. Trust me, this wasn’t the case—but I can guarantee that for WAY too many people attending, it was.
That’s why it’s really hard to make clear that I went to Coachella purely because I wanted to see a lot of great music in a short period of time. Who can tell the difference between my sarcastic remarks and their literal meaning? Attending Coachella ironically (one of my favorite ways to attend events) was basically impossible. I wore shorts and sunglasses, a tank because it was 90+ degrees during the day, and I used controlled substances right next to everyone else. To any violent Coachella-hater, one glance was all they would have needed to write me off as a complete asshole. Unfortunately, now I know what it feels like to be a Lakers or Yankees fan. Everyone else spends too much time hating on you, and not nearly enough time minding their own fucking business.
Seriously though—I don’t mind the hate that gets thrown on Coachella. It’s completely warranted, and one 3:30am journey to the silent disco on the campgrounds affirmed my disdain for the clichéd Chella-raver that’s the root of the problem. All I’m saying is don’t lump me in with everyone else. There are plenty of people who go to Coachella to enjoy a lot of good music, and only take in small doses of the Chella poison. To wit: below is all the amazing music I saw this weekend (in order).
- Youth Lagoon
- Passion Pit
- Modest Mouse
- Beach House
- Purity Ring
- Jurassic 5
- 2 Chainz (lol)
- Hot Chip
- Simian Mobile Disco
- The xx
- Tame Impala
- Vampire Weekend
- Pretty Lights
- Red Hot Chili Peppers
My only regret was not going in early enough on Saturday to see Theophilus London and Wild Nothing. Seriously, that’s it—I saw 20 bands all on different points along the music spectrum, and I have to say I’m pretty satisfied with the $350 ticket that allowed me to do so. I legitimately would have paid $100 of that to see J5 drop What’s Golden, $50 a pop to see Hot Chip and Tame Impala kill every awesome track in their arsenal, and EASILY $8.33 each for every other artist on that list. Even 2 Chainz.
Once again, I’m not saying a frightening majority of people that Carpoolchella every year aren’t blatantly obnoxious kids who could give two shits about the music industry. What I am saying, however, is that if you choose to bash Coachella, think twice before you lump everyone that attends together. There are still people in this world who can look at a festival lineup and have an intellectual conversation about it, followed by an educated ticket purchase and strategic plan for maximizing its value.
So if Coachella will never be your thing, that’s fine. Just be wary of where you channel your hatred. And make sure no one catches you watching the live-stream on your toilet with a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos.