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Coachella Has Definitively Lost Touch With Music


Coachella’s air-conditioned Safari tent

Status update on my Facebook: Still not going to Coachella! Attending Coachella may have been fun and cool 10 years ago, but, after reading a few articles about this weekend festivities, there is absolutely no chance I will ever pay to attend the sell-out place that this giant (music) festival has become. I put music between parentheses because this is exactly what Coachella has done.

‘It doesn’t matter who the artist is onstage’, said Pollstar editor Gary Bongiovanni to the LA Times. Right there you have the problem, which isn’t a problem for the organizers, milking the big fat cow of Indio, and describing the festival as a place ‘distinguished by its special accouterments and Hollywood presence’. See, it has become such a dull place, bought by expensive brands and taken away by models, Hollywood crowd and other Kardashian-type parasites. The music is the background to their parade and I could not care less. Here are a few examples: concierge service in an air-conditioned safari tent for two: $6,500 (this includes electrical outlets, queen-sized beds with linens, and a golf cart shuttle between the festival and your tent), four-course meals prepared by celebrity chiefs: $225, Gourmet dining package: $1024, a totally authentic two-person tipi with cots, pillows, and sleeping bags: $2,200, a VIP pass with cocktail bar privileges: $799 – or if you buy it at the last minute in April as a member of Neiman Marcus’ preferred shopper program: $1,500.

Jesus, an air-conditioned tent? Has the term camping changed since my days! And what does Neiman Marcus have to do with a music festival? Nothing, like many luxury brands now involved. You have now limos that can transport you to Coachella, or you can even charter a private jet to get there! I can’t hardly imagine the price, probably half of my year salary for a round trip. How did this happen? How did the free-spirit indie festival of the late nineties transform into this concentration of luxury and outdoor shopping malls? People go there for the pool parties and the fashion but certainly not for the music.

‘It’s just a totally different thing’, explained Superchunk’s Jon Wurster, whereas marketing Werks consultant Ellie Meyer declared, ’It’s a lifestyle that people want to have. It’s saying, ‘Hey, you can pay for that lifestyle for a weekend.’ Lifestyle?  What’s the hell is she talking about And it’s not over, as marketing Werks’ Jay Lenstrom, seems to predict: ‘There’s no stopping it’, he says, ‘there’s a race, but there’s all the other things. It’s very expensive. The more expensive it is, the better it is.’

The better for whom exactly? This is scary language that only marketing people could come up with. What is this escalation toward superficiality tailored for the richest suburban kids in town? Coachella has been reduced to a social media update for spoiled brats spending their parents’ money. A real accomplishment!

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