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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: Is there even music at Coachella anymore, or is it just a clothing ‘battleground’?

Courtesy of Alan Paone (CC BY 2.0)
Sunset during Coachella in 2014. Photo Courtesy of Alan Paone (CC BY 2.0).

Kylie Jenner wore a swimsuit to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival that was covered in sequins and couldn’t actually get wet. Zach Braff wore shorts and a T-shirt — an astoundingly unique ensemble that was somehow still deemed worth noting by the media — and, according to social media, other celebrities did in fact wear outfits to Coachella. 

Why do we care? Were these noteworthy fashion choices? Some were, but most were just simple clothes, just like the rest of us wear everyday.

Which artists played at Coachella? I have absolutely no idea. The media is fixated so heavily on the clothing aspect of festivals, the reason they even exist — music — is completely ignored.

Coachella is a music festival based in California that has occurred annually since 1999, minus a hiatus in 2000. It has morphed from a single-day event to one that spans six days over the course of two weekends. The festival hosts an incredible amount of musicians — this year’s lineup included Guns N’ Roses, Zedd, Crystal Fighters and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, among a menagerie of other bands and artists.

The growth of Coachella into a cultural gathering has brought about a new fashion scene of “festival clothing.” Knit tops and shirts adorned with flowers are a trend among festival-goers. During the festival, stores such as H&M sell clothing at booths and tents that highlight the stereotypical boho, outdoorsy music festival style. This also accommodates festival-goers unprepared fashion-wise for the sometimes sweltering California weather.

From the articles and posts on social media this year, though, it seems like Coachella has become nothing more than a battleground for who can wear the most boho outfit. The fashion scene at festivals has grown into a huge market for clothing and accessories — most of which, in my opinion, are too silly or impractical to wear anywhere outside of a festival.

What I don’t understand is why everyone seems to be so intrigued by the clothing aspect of this event. First and foremost, Coachella is about music, but also has art installations. The festival has also taken steps to improve possible environmental issues. Refillable water bottles, “recycle art,” and solar-powered DJ booths are just some of the implementations that make Coachella more environmentally friendly.

Who wouldn’t rather hear about how great the weekend’s music was or how cool the art installations were, rather than see yet another picture of a famous person’s Coachella outfit? If Coachella publicity focused more on the festival’s positive aspects and, yeah, music, it might not be so disliked.

It would almost be better to have Coachella stop completely than have the ridiculous associations of girls running around in cut-off jean shorts and flower crowns. To an outsider, it seems too focused on clothing choices than on music or sustainability. Coupled with incredibly expensive tickets, Coachella comes across as a shallow, appearance-obsessed event in which people can flaunt the expensive and ridiculous clothing they bought to wear for a single weekend. 

Follow Nicole Rochon on Twitter.

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