As the British festival scene deteriorates, the interest of festivals abroad is greatly increasing. Over the last two years I have really seen the popularity of Coachella grow, and so I decided to do my research to find out more about the festival and why it is now on everyone’s bucket list.
I first really took notice of Coachella when Beyoncé was announced the first black woman to ever headline it last year. Before that I had only heard of it’s culture appropriation trend of attendees wearing American Indian headdresses and the festival offering weekend tipi rentals which was found to be very insulting and a way of promoting stereotyping of native cultures.
But this year Coachella was everywhere, from in-store to online and the advertising even made me want to add it to my 2020 bucket list. A big thing that I noticed was the amount of influencers who had been flown to the festival with brands to promote new products. In an article on WWD I read that ‘Coachella is anything but barren; it’s perhaps overly ripe with celebrity appeal, influence and marketing opportunities as brands see it’. Ryan Detert, chief excutive officer of influential, an artificial intelligence and social data company that connects brands with influencers stated that the majority of festival goers at Cochella are Millennials who aspire to be part of one of “the most Instagrammable, fashion-focused events of the year”.
The festival takes place every year in Indio, California for two weekends at the beginning of summer. Tickets start off $429 for general admission, then go up to $999 for VIP access. The festival is also located in the desert and so when planning to go to Coachella, be sure to have your transport sorted.
“The environment of Coachella is one that has a ripple effect that is truly global,” says HP’s Butler. “It is the festival to be at,” insists Heineken’s Karimi.
From all the articles I have read and all the vlogs I have watched it does come across as though the hype around Coachella is only a reality if you have the money to enjoy it. The festival itself is an incredible experience it seems, and well worth the money you pay for it but all the extras that are advertised and highlighted cannot be experienced by everyone. However Coachella itself wants everyone to feel involved and get a taste in some way of the festival, as I found out in the statement below from a GQ article.
“But if you can’t actually be at Coachella, don’t worry. HP have created a web app from which users around the world can manipulate an interactive wall in their Dreamland lounge, choosing from a range of positive affirmations such as “I am loved” that will pop up and delight those who are actually at the festival. The festival’s influencers can momentarily be influenced by you, from the comfort of your own home. While a festival purist might scoff at the 19-sponsor-strong commercialisation of Coachella, it’s impossible to deny that the strategy is effective. For the next two weekends Coachella will be talked about globally and, thanks to their savvy activations, its sponsors will be too.”
In my research I came to find that Coachella is way more than just your average music festival, and is now a cultural event evolving into a marketing megaphone for brands looking to upscale to a global reach. The target audience is now slowly moving from millennials to Gen Z and so they are pushing for more innovative ways to reach this new audience and bring Coachella to a digital era. I still would love to experience the festival for myself, and maybe one day I will even get to experience it as an online content creator/influencer.