“Coachella, I love you. But you’re bringing me down”

…says Reddit user bmacdbacks, and likely a whole slew of people like him and myself. I’ve been to the last 3 Coachella’s…2014,15,16. Let me start by saying in no way am I belittling anyone’s experience. I probably annoyed so many of my friends with how much good I had to say after the first and second years. I’ve been in love with it since I stepped foot on the campgrounds that first shiny year. I had never had any ill feelings toward the festival, the acts, and most importantly..the people. Coachella was a magical place in my eyes for so long. It was a whole new world when you stepped onto those polo fields. So many people there uniting for the love of music and community. The love runs even deeper, I’ve found — if you’re a Coachella camper. It’s as if, for those 4 wondrous, dust filled, sweaty, blazing days, Coachella is your home. Arriving at the grounds at a fresh 5 am, we got our wish and landed in lot 8. This might mean nothing to you, but to us it means a 5 minute (if even) walk into and out of the festival, and extremely close restrooms. Given that we have the privilege of walking in and out of the festival at our whim or necessity, we take full advantage and on some days walked in and out 5 times. Last year, someone was handing out packs of coconut oil by DoLab, of course we wanted them so we got our hands fill, and toted them back to our campsite. This was the first year I experienced anything close to a dust storm. On Saturday we walked back to our camp to grab jackets, on the way we realized the wind was really picking up. We noticed everyone was in disaster rescue mode as we got closer. There were broken canopies, collapsed tents, and belongings flying around the grounds. We pulled our canopy down as soon as we got back, and everyone started helping to collapse their neighbors canopies if they hadn’t come back yet. In true Coachella brother sister style, we persevered. That’s what it should always be like. Coachella has been the kind of place where you can ask a stranger passing by (politely) to help you tie your bracelet or spray your fellow heat exhausted mate with your misting fan. I’ve never felt unsafe at this festival, until this year. This cannot be attributed to a single thing. But there are many things I think took place over the years for this to conspire.

  • people who go to Coachella just to go to Coachella. you know the ones — who can’t stay off Snapchat for a second, who facetime their friends in the middle of one of the best sets of the weekend (thank you Anderson Paak). who post on instagram while still at the festival…
  • the ones who use Coachella as their own personal runway/and or blog photoshoot for the weekend.
  • ***the ones who go to Coachella exclusively to do Molly (i can’t remember walking past anyone without hearing when they popped it or how it hit them at the most perfect moment during Zedd. this is the saddest point for me.
  • the combination of any of these points culminates in a shitty coachella-goer who has no consideration for anyone or anything other than their fix and their image.
  • there’s definitely been an increase in younger attendees with no manners or regard for anyone else’s experience.

  • things I personally saw/experienced this year that I would have never before… 1. saw a guy pissing in between his FRIENDS cars on the campground…that’s disgusting for you and all of your camp-mates (I’m not joking when I say the restrooms were a stones throw away from this guy) 2. security inspected the shit out of my wristband as if it was frayed or damaged telling me and i quote “wow looks like it’s been through rough times” (it had general wear and tear from being at a 4 day camping festival) 3. had ONE of my shoes stolen inside the fest-grounds. a girl literally swiped it from under my legs while I was resting and waiting to meet up with a friend.

So, apart from the weird vibes felt this year and the general lack of humans giving a shit about other humans, Coachella is meant to be a place of love. And, no…this isn’t just another post about Coachella or another trendy hate article to gain views. This is deeper. If you want to read more about how others feel about what Coachella is becoming, the evidence abounds.. -reddit threads really address the issue here — [reddit] “The thing I miss most of all about Coachella is the empathy everyone felt for each other. But the dopamine rush from everyone’s social media has destroyed that, and is probably a bigger societal problem.” This to me is a deep societal disconnect that needs to be addressed. If we can’t go to a place where everyone is supposed to be there for the love of music, connection, and relaxation without feeling like you might get punched or pick pocketed….something has gone wrong and something needs to happen. Wake the fuck up people, we are all on the same planet, we all need the same basic necessities, we are all just trying to live. So please, go to festivals, dance everywhere, all the time, love your neighbors, or at least politely and genuinely tolerate them.. if we let hate come into a place that should be filled with nothing but good times and zero judgment, we are failing so hard as a society.

Take what you will from this post but please….#bebetter, to yourself, your friends, strangers, fellow music lovers and festival attendees.

“We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.” — Friedrich Nietzsche