Coachella is upon as I am sure you’re painfully aware. Sure ways of knowing it’s that time of year: Michael’s runs out of fake flowers, high waisted shorts fly off the shelves, drug dealers get a little bit richer, and the stats for the google search “hippie style” skyrocket tenfold.
No one exactly knows the point of the event. It isn’t really a concert, because concerts themselves are meaningful enough in that they bring people together through a common love of music. Coachella is something more than that. Or maybe something less. It is a microcosm of the Millennial experience: worship something that everybody else worships and post an obscene amount of pictures while you’re at it.
Maybe the biggest myth of Coachella is just that: the idea that something so over-hyped and ironically mainstream has the power to change your life and align you with the most trendy, the most beautiful people on planet earth this precise year.
The mere fact that Coachella is held on two consecutive weekends furthers this fact–as if something truly meaningful and life-altering can be rewound, recharged, and immediately repeated.
Coachella is not a modern day Woodstock or Altamont (though we shouldn’t really aspire to Altamont either in all honesty). In fact, I would argue a large population of Coachellers don’t even know what the hell Woodstock and Altamont are.
I am not saying it is inherently wrong or selfish or entitled to seek a weekend of fun every April in Indio. I am not saying that going to Coachella or wanting to go to Coachella permanently casts you in some basic, unflattering, attention-seeking light. I do not believe that a festival event should have the power to delineate society based on attendance. Perhaps all I mean is that Coachella, similar to studying abroad or eating avocado toast, has come to unfortunately induce eye rolls and inspire judgement from a group of people that claim to have a slightly stronger grip on reality.
Millennials have a terrible habit of making any damn thing the center of the universe. We celebrate a multitude of things until they become so celebrated that they lose their luster–then we move on to something else and repeat the process. This propensity to temporarily worship trivial, trendy things may very well leave our generation empty-handed when all is said and done and we find ourselves–God forbid–old.
That is not to say that absolutely everything we do has to have supreme meaning. I mean, being a human being should not always be an uphill battle (despite what Miley Cyrus says). Surely there are things that deserve to just simply be enjoyed. That is not the issue. The issue, it seems, is when we get our wires crossed. When we think that participating in popularly-affirmed, overpriced, vaguely meaningful events inherently label us as a joint-rolling, free-spirited, organic vodka-guzzling child of the sun and moon. Head’s up, it doesn’t. On Monday, most of you return to your stressful lives, wash your hair, remove the thoughtless diamond bindi from your forehead, and sigh in relief that now you can stop pretending you knew who the hell half the performers were.
We are not actual hippies. Most of us are not actual protesters. How could we be when our idea of a hippie is a girl wearing jorts and culturally-offensive cornrows, and our idea of a protest is Kendall Jenner giving a cop a can of Pepsi? I hope we learn to believe in something, truly, before we lose our drive. I hope one day we realize the world is full of things to fight for and stand in line for–but tickets to Coachella probably isn’t one of them.
But really, who am I to comment on morality or generational motives? If someone offered me a free ticket to ‘Chella 2018, I just might strap on a flower crown and dust off my old jorts. And that’s also okay. Maybe just don’t wear that flower crown too tight, that’s all.