It’s that time of year again. The Coachella lineup gets announced and thousands of Twitter accounts owned by British teenagers tweet, retweet and favourite the universally saddening “I wish I was going to Coachella *emojis* *sad faces*” tweet. Granted, a large number of the bleating masses probably aren’t beaming ecstatically over the reformation of LCD Soundsystem or the potentially insane set from Death Grips, but there’s a place at Coachella for every kind of British festival goer.
Let me start by saying that, obviously, not everyone can afford a trip to California and back, attending the world’s most glamorous music festival inbetween. A quick look at flights and ticket prices alone starts at £600+ (which should by no means be taken as a definite price). Then there’s travel to and from LAX, possible stays in hotels, expenses for food and drugs… It can all get quite pricey. Even so, it’s doable.
Coachella tickets can be paid off monthly when bought in advance, so if you’re dead set on going you might need Monica from Friends levels of planning. I managed to go on a fairly lengthy trip around America (including Coachella) in my second year of university, thanks to student loans and a helpful (now ex) girlfriend. I’m a lazy shit and you’re better than me too, so you can definitely do it.
I’ll apologise in advance for lumping everyone who goes to British festivals into three small-minded categories but fuck you, I have a word count, rule of three, etc. etc. Chances are, you’ll somehow fit into at least one, if not all categories anyway.
Here are the (not at all) definitive British festival goers and reasons why they should go to Coachella.
The Modern Music Lover
Well it’s a music festival, ain’t it? You might be that person at Reading, staring at the GCSE celebrators with contempt for not getting up at 9am to plan their whole day around which sets they can attend, and I’m right there with you. It can be frustrating walking from one end of your campsite towards the main arena overhearing “nah mate I’m just gonna get twatted and see whoever’s headlining tonight” for the tenth time, but a festival is about your own personal experience, and yours is focused around the music and sets like this:
British festivals are stagnating in a cesspool of heritage acts and a lack of modern cultural awareness, but Coachella is right on the money. This year’s lineup covers the critically-acclaimed artists, the populist choices, the technical wizards, the whiplash-inducers and even a good selection of British artists, if you’re feeling particularly homesick or patriotic. Check the poster below and tell me that’s not one of the most well-rounded lineups you’ve ever seen.
You know how terrible British crowds can be, too? There’s always a mouthy prick leading a conga line of pissed up cunts barging through the crowd shouting “SCUZEMESORRY” in their most obnoxious and unapologetic tone. There’s a high chance you’ll get pissed on. No one will enthuse with you over the importance of X band in Y scene. You will probably get punched by a ‘roided mass of vodka-soaked muscle.
At Coachella in 2014, I arrived late for Lana Del Rey’s set and the crowd was so packed that I couldn’t move past the half-watching, half-chatting crowd of semi-interested people. I was standing behind two of the world’s tallest bros and couldn’t really see past them. “Well shit,” I thought. Then the most miraculous thing happened. One of them turned around and said, “oh shit man, sorry! Do you wanna stand in front of us? We’re not really that bothered about Lana.” Check-fucking-mate, English festivals.
I’m not one for putting a killer outfit together for a festival because inevitably it’s going to get fucked up and I am poor and therefore cannot replace my wardrobe with Daddy’s money the next day. However, I’m not an idiot. At a music festival where thousands of young people are visible to each other, it’s obvious that they all want to prove their material worth to the Instagram-filtered eyes of their peers.
My problem is that English festivals are probably the worst place to do this. It’s cloudy. It fucking rains. You’re not Ryan Gosling or Rachel McAdams in The Notebook. You don’t look sexy in the rain. You look like a fucking frog because this is English weather, the least sexy weather there is. Your makeup is spilling onto your carefully planned Asos ‘festival’ outfit and all your hard work is ruined.
Well, what should you do? Go to fucking Coachella. Seriously. It is heaven on Earth for fashion. I’ve never seen so many beautiful people in such sick fits, swanning around like they’re America’s Next Top Model. You might think you’re hot shit at Glastonbury, and that’s probably because the woman next to you is there with her husband and two kids doing her own thing, not trying to impress any muscly 20 somethings with how far up her arse her denim cut offs go.
At Coachella, I guarantee you’ll feel about as attractive as a Cornish pasty and feelings of overwhelming inadequacy will consume you. Only for a short while though, before you become inspired by the angelic creatures that look as though they were born boho by Mother Nature herself. AND IT’S FUCKING SUNNY. AND THERE’S GREEN GRASS. AND MOUNTAINS. AND PALM TREES. The surroundings are so picturesque that even your pale English ass can’t help but be enriched and shimmer like sun-kissed beaches. Be sure to take plenty of pictures, because all those other bitches back home will be jealous-liking the fuck out of them on your ‘gram.
Even when a sandstorm threatened to fuck up everyone’s day, Coachella’s elite fashionistas went back to their tents and emerged with an entirely new fashion concept: Sandstorm Chic. You beautiful, creative people.
Yeahhh, we all see you ketted up behind the overflowing shit-stained cubicle. You’re a fucking mess, and we’d probably be jealous of you if we weren’t thinking how ashamed your mum would be. We’d be jealous because drugs are fun, and you’ve clearly had a lot. The problem with doing this in the UK though, is our culture of getting so fucked up with the intensity of a thousand exploding stars.
Calm your shit, and go to Coachella. Go make friends with anyone around you, and I guarantee they’ll be willing to share their Escobar-baric levels of drugs with you. Now, a lot of drugs your new trans-Atlantic friends might have, but they’re not about to give you a nudge and say “oi Chris mate, let’s bosh the ‘ole lot and ‘ave it large at the silent disco!” Y’see, Coachella is about meticulously planning, with a healthy degree of caution, how to best utilise the myriad substances at hand in order to have the most mind-blowing experience.
The beauty of Coachella is that everyone is on drugs, but no one is drooling inside a piss-damp tent asking for their mum. I remember volunteering at Reading Festival in 2012 and overhearing reports from the medical tent that two 15 year old girls had to be taken to hospital after taking ungodly amounts of Mandy. They clearly had no fucking idea what they were doing. It’s a common occurrence, too. If you’ve ever been to a British festival, chances are you’ve seen some fucked up shit.
If alcohol is your poison, you might want to rethink your Coachella plan of action. It can be ridiculously hot out there. If you don’t drink enough water, you might fuck yourself up in the not-so-fun way. Temperatures can reach up to 100 Fahrenheit, which translates to around 37 degrees Celsius. It’s that temperature where even in the most sober moments, your body and the atmosphere become seamless and it feels kind of fucked up. Regulate yourself properly though, and you’ll have the time of your life with that extra transcendental dimension.
If you haven’t been swayed by now then you’re either still in year 11 and/or a massive pagan. That’s okay though, you can stay unwoke, attending these moribund English festivals full of wobbly messes and puddles of ket-vomit. These are your festivals now.
For the rest of you, you won’t regret taking the extra time and money to experience a festival that is clearly the queen of its kind. Get your backpacks and go’chella.
All images via Coachella Facebook.