April 18, 2014

Is Coachella Really Worth It?

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I returned from the land of sun and singing this week tired, dehydrated, very dusty, and a little grouchy, but luckily not sunburned. The getaway with the boy, and my sister and her husband (who I haven't seen in months!) was just what I needed. Despite the lingering grouchiness, I had a lovely time away with the people that I love best!

People have asked me about my experience there; about my thoughts on whether it's really worth the astronomical prices...and so I thought I'd answer those questions here.
Now, I do not claim to be an expert on Coachella. I've only been twice. BUT, my musically inclined husband has been going almost every year since 2005, so I feel like I can pool the opinions of both a Coachella novice (me) and a relative Coachella expert (the spouse) and answer the question:
Is Coachella REALLY worth it??
In one word: kind of. Okay, that was two words...but who's counting.
Don't get me wrong, I love the experience. I love the music, the "vibe" of a festival, and the opportunity to just absorb the lyrical loveliness for three full days. But I DO NOT love the gobs of people, the (insanely annoying) younger crowd, or the over-done "hype" of Coachella. My husband (the relative expert) remembers the good ol' days when you could watch a headlining band while sitting on the grass of the main stage while everyone around you just chilled.
Today? Not so much.
Today, you get to rush from set to set if you have any hope of getting even a decent spot. And even if you do get there a bit early, you get to deal with the rude younglings who think it's perfectly appropriate to elbow their way past you, even though you got their first. And when you try to educate them on the etiquette of band-watching at a music festival, they respond with, "hey maaaan...chill. It's Coachella." Then you want to punch said younglings in their young faces.
Is it just me, or are teenagers getting more annoying? Or am I just getting older and less tolerant?
I'd like to think it's the former. I'm a high school teacher. I deal with teenagers all day. But for some reason, when we get to a music festival, my patience level for the underage goes from relatively high to relatively non-existent.
In my husband's opinion, the change came with the increasing popularity and increasing presence of EDM (electronic dance music) at Coachella. For some reason the EDM draws the younger crowds. And for some reason those younger crowds think it's entirely appropriate to act like idiots. And I don't just mean the normal Coachella idiocy and shenanigans that one expects at a music festival. I mean...just a basic lack of politeness and human decency.
Now I present a story as an example.
My husband loves Empire of the Sun (If you checked out the link...I know, they're weird. But they're also rad), and since they're considered "electronic" their set was scheduled on the Sahara stage. Now, if you know anything about the Sahara stage, you know it's the place where all of the EDM dudes do their thing. We got their early, and despite how packed the tent was, we got a spot. Then, about five minutes before Empire of the Sun and their fearless leader Emperor Steel (I told you they were weird) were set to go on, a horde of younglings started POURING into the tent to the point where I thought my insides were going to be squished. It was insane, and I started to panic. So, the spouse hustled me out of there as quickly as he could (in the face of stampeding teenagers), and we missed one of the bands that we were most excited for. It was a massive bummer.
This is just one example in many of my issues with Coachella. It's just gotten TOO big, and TOO hyped, and TOO young.
But despite all of that, I still had a blast. And I still love the experience.
So will I go next year? Eh...we'll see. But I think I may be getting too old for this...
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