The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

4 Reasons Why Coachella Is Not What It Seems

In the past few years, Coachella has become the most famous festival in the world. With headliners like Beyoncé, The Weeknd and Eminem, it attracts people from all over the world. Of course, one cannot talk about Coachella without talking about the art, sculptures and fashion. A Twitter user @xowenm tweeted “Mariah Carey gets stronger at Christmas time and Vanessa Hudgens gets stronger during Coachella season” since many describe Vanessa Hudgens as being the “Queen of Coachella”. But it is not all good in the desert paradise: camping was delayed because of strong winds, allegations have come out against the owner, and people have been complaining about the cultural appropriation of the festival goers.

  • It’s Expensive

A 3-day general admission pass for Coachella is $429. In comparison, the general admission weekend pass for Firefly festival in Dover, Delaware, ranges from $269 – $349. That’s at least an $80 difference. Yes, Beyoncé is not performing at Firefly, but Eminem, Arctic Monkeys and Kendrick Lamar are. Eminem performed at Coachella, and Kendrick Lamar joined SZA and Vince Staples on stage. Also, California has warmer weather than Delaware, it is currently 89 degrees Fahrenheit in Indio, California, and 60 degrees Fahrenheit in Dover. This is important when you consider going to a festival that had 125,000 attendees last year, according to Hello Giggles, an online news source. This year, Coachella tickets sold out on January 5th with the official Coachella Twitter account tweeting, “Passes no longer available.” accompanied by a picture that said, “Thank you.” Plus, Dover is a 2-hour car ride from DC, whereas Indio is a 37-hour car ride. And if you wanted to fly to Coachella, you’d have to add those costs too.


Story continues below advertisement
  • Cultural Appropriation

Jessica Andrews, a Teen Vogue reporter, published an article called “We Interviewed 5 Cultural Appropriators at Coachella 2018” ( ), where she asked 5 people that were wearing garments that were not part of their culture why they were wearing them. They defined cultural appropriation as being “the idea of borrowing things from a “minority culture” by the mainstream” and “continues to be a polarizing issue within the fashion industry and beyond, and at music festivals”. They also raised the important point that “cultural appropriation often happens in spaces where historically disenfranchised groups are either not prevalent or denied access” and that “it takes a certain amount of privilege to “choose” ethnic garb when you don’t have to grapple with the lived reality of being that ethnicity.”


One of the festival goers they interviewed wore a hijab and said “”I’m just trying to be involved in everyone’s culture because everything is so pretty, like the hijabs. I was wearing a hijab earlier because they’re so beautiful and so pretty.”” also saying “”[That’s] horrible because they can wear what they want to wear”. “Everybody should be able to do what they want and not be judged by anybody.”” Teen Vogue explained that “Hijab, an Arabic word meaning barrier or partition, according to the BBC, is a traditional covering for the hair, neck, and sometimes face worn by Muslim women. It’s a religious symbol that’s heavily stigmatized and misunderstood. Women wearing hijabs have been attacked because of it: They have been kicked out of public establishments and targeted in gruesome hate crimes.”


Wearing garments that have cultural significance and that people get targeted in hate crimes for can be extremely offensive to the people of the  culture, and an exhibit of white privilege. One must understand the culture and the significance of it, and then decide if wearing it could be offensive to other people.


  1. The Reasons Why (Some) People Go

This is more of a personal opinion, but it seems like most people go to Coachella to brag about the fact that they have the money to go, they go for the Instagram pictures, or to meet celebrities. Now I’m not saying that people don’t like Beyoncé. What I’m saying is, that because there are so many people there, that it can be hard to enjoy the music since people are so far away. Additionally, a big problem in music festivals are drugs. An article by Desert Sun says that “According to Indio police, there were 152 arrests between Friday and Sunday at the Empire Polo Club. Another 125 people were arrested during the music festival’s first weekend. Arrests were mostly fueled by drug possession during each weekend, but alcohol, thefts and fake identifications also played roles. During the second weekend, police say 76 people were arrested on suspicion of possessing or selling drugs. Another 37 arrests were for alcohol-related offenses involving minors with fake IDs or people providing minors with alcohol. There were 25 arrests involving public intoxication and seven people were arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance.”

Here is the full article:



  • The Allegations Against The Owner

Articles by news sources like Daily Beast, Fader, Complex, and other news sources have accused the owner of Coachella, Philip Anschutz, of donating money to pro-gun, anti-LGBTQ+, and other right-wing organisations. Daily Beast’s article mentions an Afropunk blog post many times. This blog post says that “in even more covert efforts, the Anschutz Foundation gave $110,000 to Alliance Defending Freedom, $50,000 to National Christian Foundation, and $30,000 to Family Research Council between 2010 and 2013, all of which have been known to support prejudice against LGBTQ efforts. Since 2008, the Anschutz Foundation has donated $175,000 to the Mission America Foundation, a far-right organization whose president considers homosexuality to be a “deviance.”” It also talks about how “to add insult to injury, Greenpeace notes that media companies owned by Anschutz figure prominently in the denial of climate science and the promotion of climate-change skepticism.” Daily Beast says “Anschutz released a statement, insisting that, “Recent claims published in the media that I am anti-LGBTQ are nothing more than fake news—it is all garbage.””


Cara Delevingne has been one of the famous people that have called Philip Anschutz out for his donations. After confronting him, she posted on Instagram praising Beyoncé for her performance, “I am speechless. That performance made me burst into tears and sent shivers down my spine. Especially the Destiny’s child reunion. ICONIC is an understatement. Thank you for inspiring so many and for lifting each other up. #GirlPower @michellewilliams @beyonce @kellyrowland.” When she received backlash for praising Beyoncé’s performance, Delevingne wrote I still refuse to go to a festival that is owned by someone who is anti LGBT and pro gun. I am allowed to shame that man and the festival and show my appreciation of an artist at the same time. Just because I love Beyonce doesn’t mean I now love Coachella. I still wouldn’t go. And I will let nothing get in the way of me showing my love or hate for something. Don’t let anyone come between you and your truth” on her Instagram story.


Daily Beast article:

Fader article:

Complex article:  

Afropunk blog post:


By Sofía Sánchez Jiménez

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All International Dateline Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *