THE COST OF FLOWER CROWNS AND DANCING IN DUST
This week on the Internet there are two kinds of people — those who went to Coachella, and those who are bitching about not going to Coachella.
It happens every year in April. Music festival season kicks off and hundreds of thousands of soul-seeking, fashion-forward, bohemian-hippy hybrids flock to palm desert in the heart of the California wild and dance like animals to bands they’ve most likely never heard of but that have, like, totally changed their lives.
I get it; I’ve seen the pictures too. There’s that ridiculous Ferris wheel standing above those skinny desert palm trees and those even skinnier fashion bloggers standing there trying to look like they’re not posing for the photo within an inch of their life.
It looks like no one standing in front of that giant carnival ride has any care in the world.
It looks like they simply spent $2,000 on a glorified camping trip at the drop of a hat and said sayonara to their open-schedule jobs as creative designers and social media gurus to go waltz around in the dust wearing Doc Martens and silk kimonos while indie bands play the soundtrack to their latest love story.
And yeah, you bet it makes me envious.
But here’s the thing — I’ve never bought tickets to Coachella. Every year, I complain about not being at Coachella, but I’ve never even looked into how much it would cost.
Why? Because I know the experience wouldn’t provide for me what it looks like it would.
Sure, I love music. I also love being able to walk around in a flower crown and not be given the stink eye. I love dancing, I love it when a whole bunch of strangers get together and — under the influence of whatever — become life-long friends in a mere moment and I love that people are still nostalgic for the Woodstock days, but there’s something precocious about the Coachella scene that irks me.
It’s the whole marketable freedom thing. My generation has completely lost itself in it.
We buy clothing from Free People because it’s bohemian inspired and they shoot all their models somewhere on Route 66 wearing big floppy hats and tassels that blow in the breeze.
We do yoga because we think it will take us to some Zen space that will inspire us to have our own sort of Eat, Pray, Love adventure.
We read Jack Kerouac because he says things like “there was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep rolling under the stars.”
We go to music festivals like Coachella because we’re sold on the idea it will somehow help us experience this freedom we’re chasing.
I’m on board. I have Kerouac quotes taped up all over my apartment. I listen to Lorde — who’s the equivalent of a real life, musical Wednesday Addams — all because she makes it OK to dance weird and interpretive in front of Jay-Z at the Grammy’s. I say things like “next year I’m totally going to go to Coachella.”
But I’m not.
This time next year I’ll open up Twitter and I’ll see the streams of people who, like me, have decided to spend their money on other things — like smoked Gouda and Anthropologie dresses — and are now feeling resentful that they’re not prancing around in the dirt to songs by bands named Duck Sauce.
And yeah, you bet I’ll be envious all over again. But I won’t be any less “free.”
— Andria is a twenty-something blogger living in Kamloops with her 100 pairs of heels and 200 paperback Penguin Classics.