The Coachella Music and Arts Festival has made it appropriate and fashionable for wanna-be bloggers to walk around half-naked in the California desert.
The idea of being invited to the three-day festival and having the entire trip paid for by a brand sounds amazing. However, it appears that a lot of the festival goers have forgotten the purpose of the event — it is a music festival.
The artists, musicians and headliners should be the stars, not the boys and girls that walk the festival grounds with glitter up and down their bodies and skin out for all to see.
This year’s festival took place over the weekends of April 12 and 19 with headliners Childish Gambino, Tame Impala and Ariana Grande. The festival first began in October 1999 with headliners Beck, Tool and Rage Against the Machine in Indio, California, where it has been held ever since.
But in recent years, the music festival has changed as its popularity has grown.
One thing that no one likes to think or talk about is where the money generated from Coachella goes. Most people are naive and would like to believe it just goes to the performers, the set-up, the crew, etc.
According to music publication Billboard, the festival hauled in about $144 million after the 2017 showing. That’s a lot of money to just go to performers.
With each person spending an upward of $350 on a ticket, that money can add up.
Coachella was founded by Paul Tollett and Rick Van Santen. The event is organized by Goldenvoice, a subsidiary of Anschutz Entertainment Group or AEG Live. The owner of Coachella coparent, AEG Live, is Paul Anschutz, a 79-year-old billionaire from Colorado. In 2017, Anschutz and his organizations donated almost $190,000 to conservative groups like the anti-LGBT organization Alliance Defending Freedom.
In a statement to Rolling Stone, Anschutz claims this was all fake news.
“Neither I nor the foundation fund any organization with the purpose or expectation that it would finance anti-LGBTQ initiatives.”
Not only that, but he donated about $200,000 to Republican politicians in 2017.
Complex, music and culture website, reported in January 2018 that pro-gun Colorado Senator Cory Gardner received $5,400, U.S. Representative Scott Tipton, who opposes same-sex marriages and abortion, was gifted $2,700 and U.S. Representative Mike Coffman, who once said former President Barack Obama wasn’t an American at heart, received $5,400.
All of these people and organizations were benefited by the money Coachella made. It raises the questions if people truly know where their money is going.
People with such large social media platforms promote the event through videos and photos, but do they really know the intentions of the people behind it?
What is more alarming is the amount of people who attend. 250,000 people attended in 2017.
The same celebrities return to the desert each year, including Kendall Jenner, Hailey Bieber, Amanda Stanton and Vanessa Hudgens are just some of the big names partying in the desert.
Most of the time, top influencers are being paid to attend the music festival by brands who want either their products or clothes to be showcased at the festival.
A simple picture showing them having a good time while rocking the self tanner or sunscreen they were sent will give them access to the VIP and Artists section of the festival.
Yes, Coachella is glamorous. The outfits people wear are risqué, spiritual and definitely make some great Instagram posts, but sophomore psychology major Isabel Munoz thinks people attend for the experience rather than the music.
“A lot of what Coachella is [is] the fashion,” Munoz said. “People will use this as an excuse to go to try to out-do one another. As well as just to have pictures to post.”
There’s nothing wrong with going to show off the newest clothes from Revolve or those high-end Gucci fanny packs.
After all, it is a music and arts festival, and fashion is art.
But when the Instagram pictures and vlogs become the main reason for attending, rather than enjoying the music, it might be a good idea to rethink that $350+ ticket.
Especially when considering where the money goes and whose pocket it ends up in.