Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Coachella, No Longer My Dream Vacation

“I don’t want to go to Coachella.” The words actually came out of my mouth as I deleted the email from KROQ announcing how to win sold out tickets to this year’s event.

I shocked myself with this statement, as anyone who knows me understands that for 10 years Coachella was all I looked forward to. I didn’t go on vacation every year, but I did go to Coachella. The words, “I don’t want to go to Coachella” are ones that I never would have imagined thinking let alone saying out loud in my empty apartment.

I was immediately filled with doubt about my own response and thought, “Of course you want to go to Coachella. You always want to be there.” But the sad reality was I truly didn’t. Things have changed greatly for the music festival in the desert. When I first started attending the event in 2004, it was a breath-taking good time. There was space to move about, you developed a sort of kinship with fellow festival-goers, and while there was the occasional celebrity sighting, it wasn’t the sole purpose for attending.

The idea was to see new bands, observe and participate in the artwork, see your old favorite bands, enjoy the company of the group of friends you only see once a year, and on Saturday night as the show came to a close at midnight, relish in knowing that you still had one more day of amazement ahead.

While the festival still provides opportunity for all that I have mentioned, it has become so overpopulated, over publicized and overrated, that tickets are nearly impossible to purchase. I am not simply talking about waiting for the instant the sales website opens, but also in cost.

Call me old, but parking miles away, walking in herds of hipsters, hovering over full portable restrooms with seats soaked in urine, and waiting in long lines for everything, have been added to the list of “things I did in my 20s.”

The only acceptable way for me to do Coachella now would be to rent the air-conditioned sleeping cabana with VIP access. No parking each day or calling for a taxi, you’re already onsite. But there are drawbacks too, no pool and the cost is insane. Several thousand dollars will get you into this exclusive club, but there are no fast-passes for the lines and you can’t bring much of your own booze into the tent. Of course, if you had thousands of dollars to blow on a tent and tickets, you probably wouldn’t mind purchasing every drink you wanted to have over the now three-day event.