Many fans of music, art and fashion attended Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on the weekends of April 12 and 21. Millions of photos were posted on Instagram of the sunny and in-trend Coachella Festival, the “Coachella” hashtag reaching over 4 million posts.
In Los Angeles, just hours away from the Indio, Calif festival, Coachella is well known. A survey sent out to Harvard-Westlake (HW) Middle School showed that 94% of 190 respondents have heard of Coachella, indicating its popularity among a middle school age group. However, only 14% of respondents have gone to the festival, suggesting actual attendees are not in majority middle schoolers.
Although Coachella was originally just a music festival, it has incorporated art displays and trendy fashion into its agenda, which has lead to the festival having the social media prestige that is shown in the above mentioned “Coachella” hashtag.
Festival-goers crowded the Coachella stages to witness dozens of performances by new and trending artists. The main headliners of the event were Billie Eilish, Ariana Grande and Childish Gambino. Billie Eilish is a 17 year old singer who’s recently released debut album, “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?”, reached number one on the Billboard 200 Chart within days. Ariana Grade is another popular young artist. According to the Rolling Stone news website, eight of the 11 most popular songs on the music streaming service Spotify are hers. The last headliner, Childish Gambino, made Grammy history with his song “This is America” being hip-hop’s first win in song of the year, according to Variety News. Additionally, Bazzi, Boy Pablo, Clairo, H.E.R, Juice Wrld, Khalid and more performed at Coachella.
Along with the dozens of musical artists, Coachella’s official website describes the “original [art] works and fan favorites that make the [Coachella] Polo Field come alive.” Artists such as Sofia Enriquez, Dedo Vabo and their crew of 180 assisting artists and Patrick Shearn’s Poetic Kinetics could be seen displaying their art at the festival.
The fashion at Coachella is largely bohemian inspired but also draws inspiration from Western style. Outfits often include shiny accessories, eye-catching makeup looks and eccentric patterns.
Despite the fun and artistic culture of Coachella, there is also a darker side to the festival. Drugs, sexual harassment, and other illegal activity are very present at Coachella.
In 2014, a women died five days after attending Coachella. According to the Riverside County Coroner’s Office, the cause was an apparent overdose of illegal drugs and alcohol at the festival. Coachella is infamous for the drugs that are very apparently present during the festival weekends.
In addition, according to Desert Sun news, at last year’s Coachella, just one weekend consisted of 152 arrests for illegal engagement with drugs, alcohol, theft and fake IDs. Police officers also arrested a narcotic drugs sales case, confiscating almost $2500, over 120 pills and 17 acid tabs of a hallucination drug known as LSD last year, according to Blast News.
Several people staying in RV’s were endangered on the first night of this year’s Coachella, when a fire broke out at 2 a.m. on the Empire Polo Club grounds. While no injuries were reported, according to an article about the fire on CNN.com, one trailer was destroyed, and another was damaged.
As reported by Desert Sun news, via the Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) team data, through the span of three weekends at last year’s festival, seven people reported being raped at festival campgrounds, or in residences nearby.
Overall, it cannot be denied that there is illegal activity and chaos at Coachella, but nonetheless visiting the music festival can be an artistic and modern experience.