Last week Luke O’Neil over at Bullet posted a snarky, funny at times, and slightly offensive piece about Coachella, its attendees and its line up. After having just been to Ultra, experiencing my first music festival outside of Colorado, I was a little irritated by his article. To me it seemed like a pathetic attempt to troll and get new followers on twitter. Before I responded though, I wanted to experience Coachella and see if he was remotely close at pegging this supposedly “life changing” experience that everyone talks about ad nauseum.

Well, I’m back now. I’m exhausted, depleted of spending money, and coming back to the reality that I’m not in festival mode anymore. I just reread Luke’s article, to see if I could agree with him on any points, and there are a few. However, his leading you to the conclusion that you shouldn’t go has to be debunked. Before I start, I do realize that some of his article was said tongue in cheek. However, he made some pretty bold assumptions that I feel like contesting.

Going to Coachella? You’re a Loser and Part of the Problem and Probably Fat

Nothing like trying to convince people to do something by insulting them, right? I know that this is just the title, and the author was trying to encompass everything that his article entailed, but on the simplest level, this couldn’t be further from the truth. I can’t attest to whether all of the people around me were losers or not, because that is an extremely subjective descriptor, and one that’s obviously impossible to tell without conversing with a person. The crew that I rolled with were all pretty normal people, all moderately successful, enjoy music and love experiencing festivals. The people I met while pre-gaming in parking lots, waiting in line to get into the beer garden, and relaxing in the shade were…well, all really nice people. Everyone had smiles on their faces and were excited to be in the moment. The vibe was extremely social, laid back, and friendly.

As for being fat, I say this in complete and utter honesty: this statement could not be further from the truth. In fact, at one point I actually commented on the level of in shape and healthy people. I can’t really say much more than that.

Speaking of young people, were any of them consulted in the booking process this year?

Ok, so there were a few odd bookings for this particular year, I will agree with that. Here’s the problem with this statement though…did you see the other names on the festival line up? You do realize that while Red Hot Chili Peppers was playing, Eric Prydz was throwing down literally one of the best live DJ sets I’ve ever witnessed (keeping in mind that reviewing music is my profession)? The laws of physics suggest that you are unable to be at every stage at once, so while that seemingly odd booking is playing, you can walk to any other number of stages and catch another artist’s performance.

Also, take a moment to add up what a festival costs. My flight was $350, the rental house we booked was $420 a piece, the ticket was $400. That’s over $1000 without spending money. With beers being $9 a piece and a singular slice of pizza being $7, you can start to figure in how much spending money was needed for a three day festival. So, do you still think that this was filled with “young people”? There are a handful of trust fund babies that could probably ask daddy for a couple of grand to piss away on a festival, but the majority of the people there were late 20’s early 30’s middle class people.

Musical appreciation has evolved in the past few years. I started working here in 2010. In three years I’ve worked with countless bloggers, been to hundreds of concerts, and been a part of awe inspiring hours of music talking to fellow music nerds. The times have changed. Allow me to explain.

When I was in high school, most people were into one kind of music. There were ravers who were only into EDM, goth kids who loved the industrial metal bands, and pop punk junkies that couldn’t miss a single Warped Tour. I don’t see that as much anymore. In fact, it’s overwhelmingly apparent that it’s now cool to be into every type of music. Kids today have endless amounts of musical selection at their finger tips, and are now exposed to every single genre and sub genre, past or present. With that being said, the level of musical knowledge and appreciation is beyond anything that I ever witnessed growing up.

There is simply no reason to ever see more than a few bands at a time on any given day, and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying, or on drugs.

I like roller coasters, but there’s absolutely no reason for me to go to an amusement park and ride multiple ones. That’s simply over-indulgent and ridiculous. I often seek out singular roller coasters and just go ride it once, then go home. I also enjoy drinking beers, but I think it’s silly to go to the Great American Beer Festival and try dozens of 1 oz samples. That’s just insane that anyone would enjoy anything like that.

Dude, seriously? I absolutely love music, and could picture no better way to spend my day then walking from stage to stage seeing live acts. How is spending an entire day, if not three, doing what you love most that absurd?

Festivals like this aren’t for people who like music, they’re for people who kind of like the idea of drinking in a crowd in a field near other potential sexual partners

There’s nothing like making a broad stroke assumption about a group of 100,000 people, right? This was one of the most asinine points to this entire article. How could you possibly know what the personal objectives of every individual be? You can’t.

I paid close attention to the way people were consuming music this last weekend though. I wanted to see if people knew who the artists were, or if they were just scanning the crowd for their next piece of ass. It came as no surprise to me that the people standing watching the shows were actually watching the show. People sang along. People danced. People turned to their friends and exclaimed how much they loved this song. People smiled ear to ear as they heard one of their favorite bands play one of their favorite tunes.

Coachella, and festivals like it, are the enemy of the authentic music experience. The bands don’t like playing there, the fans aren’t getting a proper introduction to the music in its natural setting

What is the authentic music experience? After spending some time researching this in Webster’s dictionary, I soon realized that there’s no definition for it. Isn’t this a rather subjective thing to describe? For me, an authentic music experience is enjoying music in any setting. I’ve been at Red Rocks watching shows with amazing stage production and mind blowing natural acoustics. I’ve seen a bluegrass band play at a bar in Downtown Denver. The two are miles apart, but I still enjoyed the music all the same. It seems to me that an authentic music experience is simply watching live music, in any setting.

As far as artist’s concerns with playing at Coachella, I’ll simply use a quote that Michael Menert posted just the other night.

“…had an unbelieveably fulfilling experience at Coachella. Made new friends, saw a lot of old friends, played a set to a receptive and responsive crowd, experienced Wu Tang and RHCP, both of whom weigh in considerably in my musical development early on… thank you PL, Sophie, 12th, kraddy and the crew at DoLab, CAA, Vendini, the homie Blake from Nashville, my management team, and Coachella for leaving me feeling brand new, even though I still haven’t slept since Friday haha! heading home to turn this potential energy kinetic…”

So, what’s my end game here? Go to Coachella. Don’t go to Coachella. I don’t care, and it’s frankly none of my business. If you want to go and have that experience, please do so. You only have one life to live, so you might as well make the most of it. If you detest the thought of standing in the hot desert sun with thousands of people, then don’t go.

For me personally, Coachella was an absolutely amazing experience, and one that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I’m still thinking back to jumping around like crazy reciting line after line of Wu Tang songs, sitting in the grass listening to Postal Service play “Such Great Heights”, and screaming my lungs out as Two Door Cinema Club belted out “I Can Talk.” The decor, the lights, the stages, created an unbelievably setting that most music lovers would have enjoyed.

If you want to comment, hit us up at @themusicninja

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