How Coachella Became More About Celebrity Headlines Than The Music
This weekend, hundreds of thousands of people will descend upon the desert of Palm Springs, filling tents and every Airbnb available for one of music's biggest weekend, Coachella. Yes, you heard me correctly. It's one of music's biggest weekends. But does anyone even really know that anymore? I mean, there's some talk online about the lineup, but do people really understand that Coachella weekend is actually about the music?
From what I can tell, no. No one remembers that it's about the music. Over the last three weeks, my inbox has been flooded with emails detailing the 13 different braids that will set you apart this year, the accessories that will get you festival ready and the tricks to keep your makeup fresh all day in the heat.
But that's not all. If you're feeling as if you can't nail the look, just take this quiz to see who your Coachella fashion inspiration is and here's a slideshow full of looks to borrow bits from. Did we mention there's also this slideshow of all of the best couples' moments throughout the years? You definitely have to check this out.
Yet, for a music festival, there has been very little mention of the music. For weeks, it's been more about the fashion, the model girl squads and the celeb spottings that await. There's so much talk about the exclusive parties, the flower crowns and what sort of absurd getup Vanessa Hudgens has managed to slap together. It's preparing yourself to follow the most important blogs, Instagram and Twitter accounts to make it feel like you're there.
Did I mention there's also a “Coachella diet” that's necessary for you to get in the best shape possible for this most important of weekends? There is nary a mention of which acts to watch, which areas you're likely to find some of the best up and coming artists or even who's headlining. It isn't until you Google the festival that you even remember it's about music to begin with.
Why is that? What sets Coachella apart from other music festivals? When the media discusses Glastonbury across the pond, they discuss how exciting it was for Beyoncé and Adele to headline this year. For Lollapalooza (the festival now celebrating its 25th year), we don't read headlines about the fashion of 100,000 sweaty people.
We aren't looking to Bonnaroo to see who Katy Perry watched a set with. Sure, celebs are sighted there, but it's not the main focus. The music — what people are there for — is the headline. So, why do we care more about the headlines in regards to Coachella? Why is Coachella fashion newsworthy? Why do we clamor for shots of Hollywood's biggest actors, models and pop stars?
Simply put, we care about the minute by minute “news” updates because Coachella is more about being seen than anything else. It's one big photo op waiting to happen. Perhaps it's because the festival is so close to LA, and it's like celebrity spring break. Maybe it's because everyone wants to play "boho chic" dress-up for the weekend. Either way, it's being able to say you've been there, you got a ticket and you saw Shaun White on the Neon Carnival's ferris wheel.
What was once a desert festival celebrating the many different facets of the music industry has now turned into Instagram tags and aesthetic shots with frayed jean shorts, ornate head jewelry, fringed bags and metallic flash tattoos. It's full of pool party snaps, photos of the aforementioned ferris wheel and promotional tweets from parties hosted by watch companies and fashion designers.
It's a place where Leonardo DiCaprio can't even express himself through the art of dad dance without it hitting the Internet. (A little respect this year, guys. He's an Oscar winner now.) It's unfortunate because things like this often overshadow artists looking to gain exposure at a festival on such a colossal scale as this.
I hope the true purpose of next week's Palm Springs gathering will not be overlooked. A phenomenal performance can be overlooked from a nip slip or a new couple alert. Unless it's on par with the Tupac hologram a few years back, it's likely you won't hear much about the performers.
So prepare yourselves, my friends. For the next two weekends, you will see your social media accounts cluttered with similar shots and tweets about your favorite celebrity squads, and media outlets will give you the exclusive details on everything other than the music at the most sought after music festival. By God, I hope we all survive.