Coachella. Go on, say it. Coachhheelllaaarhh. Cucheellerr. C’helah. However you pronounce it, you’re probably not going are you? You’re probably not going to fork out a couple of grand to go halfway around the world to camp in an actual desert or – if you’ve got even more disposable dosh – stay in a overpriced retirement home that comes complete with a golf course. And you know what? That’s a good thing, friends. Coachella isn’t a mud and guts festival like the ones we know and love. It’s a catwalk in a polo field, it’s V Festival without the delicious pies and all of the shouting, it’s TMZ: The Movie. It is all of these things and less. It is outrageously weird.
The main thing about Coachella that Brits will never be able to get their heads around is the fact that you cannot simply wander around the site holding your drink. All drinks must be consumed within human pens. No bobbing to Beyonce with a beer. No frugging to Fleet Foxes with a frose. No moshing to Migos with a margarita. What. Is. Life. This is the fun police on serious patrol. Your must sip your $16 pints in a cage and then venture out into the harsh sun to watch a bit of a SoundCloud rapper and then return to the cage to drink some more. Or, we suppose, you could just not drink. But come on, how likely is that?
This rule seems totally wild when you consider the freeform nature of something like Glastonbury, where people literally drag wheelbarrows full of booze onto the site and spend the next five days chasing a higher state of consciousness via the heady combo of pear cider and poppers.
In addition to this, it seems that people don’t always seem to be there for the music. This is despite the fact that the Coachella line-up is always utterly storming and commendably diverse, with a healthy showing of female artists that could teach some of the Brit fests a very good lesson indeed. This year is no exception; Cardi B, Angel Olsen, Jorja Smith, SZA, The War on Drugs, Pvris, Kali Uchis, Fidlar, Kamasi Washington and more run the gamut from rap to jazz, via soul, punk, rock and electronica. Yet for some punters there seems to a fondness for flouncing about and treating the festival as merely a unnervingly tidy backdrop for a 30+ click long Instastory. A few years ago I was there to watch At The Drive In play one of their first comeback gigs. It was kind of a big deal. However, despite their main stage evening slot, only a handful of fans were watching them. Everyone else was, we can only assume, trying to get a fabulous selfie with David Hasselhoff. The same happened with The Stone Roses. The actual Stone Roses headlined to a crowd you could fit inside The Scala. Madness.
Also it is TOO DAMN HOT. Palm trees, it turns out, do not make for adequate shade from the roasting midday sun. Bring us a mild, slightly overcast sky any day. It’s hard to have fun when you’re slathering on your fifth layer of SPF50.
So the next time you look glumly at your Field Day ticket and wish you were off to Indio instead, remember that you’ll have much more fun at home than you ever will away.