Calling Bullshit On Coachella

I think Coachella is a music festival. I think songs are played to large audiences. I think people check schedules to find out when their favorite bands are playing and say things like, “I can’t wait to see Radiohead or Band of Horses or Crystal Stilts….” I think all of this actually does happen.

But I don’t really know because I’ve never been. My friends have though and when they return, they talk more about what drugs they took, the oppressive heat, The Ace Hotel’s swimming pool, or sneaking into the annual Jeremy Scott party at the Frank Sinatra house than they do about the actual music. This has led me to believe that Coachella is the music festival for people who don’t really care about music. Rich girls from Los Angeles who have heard a song by Fleet Foxes can pack their bags and make the easy drive to Palm Springs doing their best hippie imitation because apparently, some people are into the idea of Coachella acting as our Woodstock. This week, photos from the festival are bound to pop up on my Facebook newsfeed in which hot pristine blonde babes (Favorite band: The Fray) will be posing in headbands and floral hippie dresses. Maybe they’ll even be inexplicably blowing bubbles while laying in the grass. Other photos will include them showing off their body in swimsuits (“It was just so hot…”) and smoking weed in public. It’s like for three days they transform themselves into flower children. Everyone sort of does, and I’m OBSESSED with it. It makes me wonder what the hell Coachella actually is. It goes way beyond being a music festival. It’s a fucking lifestyle.

And don’t even get me started on the celebrities. I live for a Lindsay Lohan Coachella candid. From an outsider’s point of view, it appears that Lindsay is like, totally obsessed with the festival. The day it ends, I’m sure she becomes inconsolable and begins thrashing her body around wildly. “Coachella can’t be over….it’s never over!” Her friends will then have to give her a sedative, carry her to the BMW, put a sun bonnet over her head, and drive her back to the cold harsh reality otherwise known as her life in Los Anj. Last year, my friend tried to take a picture of her wasted at an afterparty, and Lindsay caught her, covered my friend’s lens and said, “ARE YOU FUCKING RETARDED?” before storming off. (#dark)

Other celebrities that <3 Coachella are Mischa Barton, Paris Hilton, and Hilary Duff. I mean, what?! First of all, Mischa Barton doesn't even know where she is. Her frenemies probably prank called her while she was in a coke daze and told her to drive to Indio. They told her while stifling their laughter, "They're throwing a party in your honor! Isn't that amazing? Come quick!" Meanwhile, Paris Hilton will show up to the opening of envelope, and Hilary Duff is…Hilary Duff. If I ever went to Coachella, I would have to find a way to get a V.I.P. pass because those tents must house so much absurd drama.

Oh, and the tweets. Just stop. Checking in at COACHELLA. Checking in at The Ace Hotel & Swim Club! Samples: "Coachella is so insane right now. Fuck Coachella." or "Love Coachella with my gurlz." or "Coachella hangover. Coachella drunk. Slept through Coachella." Aggghhh! Maybe it's me just being a bitter Betty at my computer in 50 degree weather while my friends are LOLing it up in the desert, but there's something about live tweeting Coachella that's so annoying. I can't.

My friend once asked me if I would ever go to Coachella. I told her, "I guess. But I wouldn't kid myself. Instead of buying tickets, I would just stay with my friends in a house in Palm Desert, get drunk, go swimming, and go to the afterparties. That's what everyone ends up doing anyway. And they have to spend hundreds of dollars first because they're in denial about it."

Obviously I would go if I loved a band on the bill but seeing someone perform at a festival usually sucks. Too many people, too far away, too expensive. TC mark

image – rieh

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.


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  • ryan chang

    they have music at coachella? thought it was a giant house party

  • Amyyyy

    “Paris Hilton will show up to the opening of envelope” u r funny RO'C :D

    • Jimbo

      The envelope line has been around for a while, but yeah, still a good one.

  • Henry Vauban


  • Caitlin

    I feel like Coachella was cool the year before I knew about it. The year I knew about it I couldn't go because I had AP tests (read: in highschool). Ever since then it's sounded like a total fuckfest, as in, feel like fuck and be forced to pretend to have a good time because you just spent THREE HUNDRED dollars to be around sweaty bros and see a show that would be 8x better in a real venue. I've obv. never been to Coachella, but mainly because it quickly ceased to sound appealing.

  • Kelvin Lee

    Can you please write a book, titled “dark#”?

    • Julene

      Hash tag comes first, chicken.

  • Luke Bourassa

    There's a lot of smoke here, but there's some fire also. I think, however, that the Image of Coachella (one you sort of portray here) should not be confused with what it ACTUALLY presents to an attendee–the chance to see many cool acts in one place. Whether some people actually decide to take advantage of that, is another story.


    This was an article that needed to be written and I'm glad you're the one who did it.

    My parents and life coach allowed me to attend Coachella last year. Some friends and I stayed in a tent. It was hot and the line for the shower was too long. I was quoted in the Orange County Register as saying it probably wasn't worth the time, energy and money.

    At the same time, I saw Pavement play a great show and saw Thom Yorke for what I'm sure will be the last time. There were other wonderful performances, but the frozen lemonade cups were $5 and you couldn't stop buying them.

    I think people who do the shit you describe have a very different Coachella experience and are deserving of some vitriol. Honest people like me are just trying to take advantage of a weekend furlough and a rare opportunity to see Muse play an all-acoustic show.

    • ???

      “My parents and life coach allowed me to attend Coachella”. Girl, are you serious? Get off the Internet.

      • Ryan O'Connell



        But my parents and life coach said I could be on here. Please don't knock a life coach until you tried it. Would you field a football team without a coach? Isn't your life more important than a sport?

  • P. H. Madore

    Like this comment if you think LiLo probably fits in better at Coachella or any music festival than the author. I wish people would leave that girl alone already. I've had a crush on her since Parent Trap. If she knew how to use the internet, I'd want her to read this and write me terse e-mails. In fact, I'd do something crazy to spend an hour or two with her. Blah. Leave her alone!

    • yrmomsbff

      If you really want the attention and affections of LiLo, please profess your love in the form of Youtube video!

      That's how this lucky fellow snagged Selina Gomez

    • spencer cain

      I agree, but I don't think he was saying anything bad about her at all.

      It was a funny article. Music festivals truthfully do SUCK, when it comes to anything music related, but hey, if you've got the money for a VIP ticket and a hotel, do it up. It won't kill you. My one issue with the article is that I'm tired of “#dark.”

  • Julene

    I lived in the Los Anj (ha!) for several years – never went to Coachella. I just never felt the need to part with the money for tickets, accommodations, drugs, food, water (!!!!) and so on when I could just lounge at a friend's (vacant) house while they were gone and listen to what a rotten time they secretly had once they got home all sweaty and sunburnt.

  •!/nvvmxac danne rassle

    coachella is the SXSW for the mainstreamers

    • Truth

      SXSW is the SXSW for the mainstreamers

      •!/nvvmxac danne rassle


  • Josh Liburdi

    I won't speak for Coachella, but I went to Bonnaroo in 2006 and it was a wonderful experience (so great I'll be returning this year). I don't know about the vibe at Coachella, but I don't think I saw any after parties at Bonnaroo … unless you consider getting high or drunk with your friends in a ghetto/ tent city an after party. I saw some crazy shit in 2006, not to mention the artist lineup. If you can handle not being clean for four days, it's worth the price of admission.

  • Senecatree


  • mindset

    ryan, i am obsessed w/ your usage of the word “obsessed”

  • JD

    ditto SXSW, Art Basel and fashion week.

    i can't even look at twitter during these events.

  • Aurora Cpc

    My hero.

  • natural

    “Rich girls from Los Angeles” is right on the money.

  • Uhnonnymus

    No shit. Coachella gets worse (aka more corporatized) every year.

  • Diana Z.

    I went to Coachella in my senior year in high school. But my friend and I decided to “go with the flow” and didn't even get camping or book a hotel (as if we could afford it! the rates go way up around those dates). Her dad ended up having to babysit us. Since we were under 21, he rented a car for us and drove us around. We found a cheapo motel about 1 hour away from Indio. Her dad would drive out to LA for the day after dropping us off at the festival, and pick us up when it was done. Some people I went to high school went as well, but they come from rich families so they had a house and I guess they had that wild party experience. I was still naive about festivals (and concerts in general) so I had a good time, except for the excessive sweating. I didn't go to get wasted or high, I just went to hang out and listen to good music. I had the opportunity to get a ticket this year, but I kind of realized I was over it. I still have a soft spot for music festivals, but not Coachella. For example. Sasquatch last year was pretty awesome. There were parties in the tent city every night, and it was nice to form a little community with your neighbouring tents. Maybe Coachella's flaw is its proximity to LA?

  • itsguccitime

    It's true–the bros, the bimbos, the burning sun–but you hardly notice these things when you're jamming out to one of your favorite bands. Or freaking out because Suede/DFA 1979 reunited.

    For the most part.. Coachella is a lot of fun. If you go into it thinking like this, well, you're sure to have a shit experience.

    • Uhnonnymus


      • itsguccitime


  • bruno

    idk man, i absolutely agree with every single word you wrote but i'd still love to attend to this festival some year…

  • coachellaisforluvrs

    experienced coachella in 2006 when it was -only- sat/sun. it. was. amazing. no VIP status, just a poor, white trasher from socal who enjoyed every minute of the sun, sweating, sunstroke and fun.

  • Tobethegreatest

    the last time i went to this festival i bought tickets at midnight the night prior and only had to buy one hot, sweaty but glorious day. five years later, i call shenanigans on the whole thing. Coachella is now, what we in the industry call “Warm Sundance”; aka: an event originally intended to promote and celebrate independent artists, turned into a giant Hollywood party. Lucky for me, I straddle that line; sell-out by day, party via connections at night.

  • Dave P

    Ryan knows the score. Festivals are mostly for the (1) very young music-obsessed or (2) the I-don't-really-give-a-shit-about-music-but-like-to-pretend crowd or (3) 'cool dads' who want to relive their youth. I can only imagine the L.A. detritus only makes Coachella all the more insufferable.

    • Anna B

      HAHAHAH 'cool dads' = insufferably sad men, trying to compensate for the loss of their youth while trying to score with girls “showing off their body in swimsuits.”

      *throws pity at them*

  • kt

    Yes, exactly. Thank you for articulating what I've been thinking for years now.

  • KazArat
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