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Coachella’s Values Fall Short

Illustration by Gemma Fa-Kaji

Coachella, arguably the world’s largest music festival, took place over the weekend. You probably already knew that however, based on the endless assault of Snapchats and Instagram posts bombarding your feeds. For years, the festival has taken place over a two-week span in the desert creating a culture equivalent to a conservative Burning Man. Drugs, partying, hook-ups, and individual expression are all encouraged ­— as long as you can afford the steep price of attendance. Despite the negative preconceptions towards Coachella (mainly from those who can’t afford to attend), the concert has been a large part of music culture and has provided many of music’s biggest moments in the last decade. Who can forget the time the concert resurrected the late Tupac Shakur via hologram? This year continues the venue’s tradition of memory making through it’s historic lineup and star-studded shows.

You’d be remiss to not mention Beyoncé’s legendary two hour performance Saturday night. The singer-songwriter, who made history by becoming the first black woman to headline the festival, took to the stage with 150 dancers and band members. She brought out celebrity guests including her husband Jay-Z, her sister Solange, and held an unexpected Destiny’s Child reunion show, delighting and submerging her audience in  true art.

Other highlights of the show include the Weeknd’s emotional performance of his latest EP My Dear Melancholy and the latest viral sensation Mason Ramsey, A.K.A the yodeling kid, proving once again the power of the internet to bring obscure nobodies into the starlight.

Despite the glamour and the extravagance of the event, you can’t deny the fact that Coachella has it’s problems. The entire festival, despite being a self-declared hub for expression and equality, doesn’t put it’s money where it’s mouth is. Due to the expensive cost, it’s difficult for anyone to pay for, other than rich white kids using their parents’ credit cards. Additionally, Philip Anshutz, owner of Coachella, regularly donates to anti-LGBT+ and anti-abortion lawmakers. For all the artist who preach progressive values, they fall short. All is not well in paradise.