Why Coachella has turned into an overhyped, ignorant event

Mitchell Famulare, Arts Editor

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The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in California kicked off its star-studded lineup this past weekend of April 12-15 and will continue from April 19-21. What has become a staple in California’s identity as a hub of entertainment, the festival remains a glorified and romanticized narrative of what California life is like.

Defined by its towering Ferris wheel, attendance of various celebrities and fashion that can be found at your local Pac Sun or Forever 21 storefronts, Coachella contains various stages on its property. The main acts performing on the largest stage, those being Childish Gambino, Tame Impala and Ariana Grande.

With last year’s lineup consisting of Beyoncé’s highly choreographed and viral performance, which will be explored in the new Netflix documentary “Homecoming,” Coachella has now garnered a large audience with various livestreams floating around on the Internet.

From this, artists have now ditched the traditional festival performance narrative, producing larger than life spectacles and viewers looking forward to the main acts as if they were attending the Super Bowl.

What has resulted is a festival that fills its lineups with an array of artists from the unknown to the mainstream, making Coachella one of the most mediocre and overhyped events of the year rather than the indie show it once was.

With general admission costing around $500 for three days, the price is not awful for the number of artists concert-goers have at their disposal, but what this money is used for in the end has been questioned thoroughly.

Founder of Coachella and owner of the entertainment group AEG Philip Anschutz, 2.9 billion and donates much of his money to groups including the Alliance Defending Freedom, the National Christian Foundation and the Family Research Council. Each of these organizations support anti-LGBT laws and propaganda as well as conversion therapy. The Family Research Council is deemed an “extremist group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. As the information of these donations came to light during the hype preceding last year’s shows, Anschutz has taken steps to correct his past alignments. The Elton John AIDs foundation received a $1 million donation last year following the negative publicity. However, to this day, Anschutz still donates to incredibly right-wing organizations. So, are concert-goers and artists supposed to ignore what happens behind the scenes of the festival?

Since the events of 2016’s election, more and more artists are becoming outspoken on political issues, quick to cancel appearances when information like this comes to light. However, we see them turn their cheek when it comes to Coachella. Ariana Grande, who harnesses a large LGBT following, is headlining the festival as well as the Manchester Pride Festival. Lady Gaga headlined the festival two years ago, one of the most prevalent gay icons of the twenty first century.

Are fans supposed to ignore and attend the shows or should they boycott? Festivals are supposed to be events that support creativity and acceptance; however, due to the overhype of Coachella and the massive publicity artists now gain for making appearances, the definition of these festivals is becoming hazy.

Do queer people have space in this defining event of the festival season? It doesn’t seem so. Who should we hold accountable? The artists? Philip Anschutz? Or your next-door neighbor who’s in Coachella Valley as we speak?