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The Real Scoop on Coachella, from a 5 Time Veteran and Indio Local

April 30, 2015 - by Michelle Jackson

During its 21-year run, Coachella has grown to become one of the largest 3 day music festivals in the world. It's pretty rare to meet someone who has no idea what Coachella is. However, everyone has an opinion on the legendary festival in Indio, California.

Being from the Coachella Valley, the famous music festival has been in my backyard for a good part of my life. Here are my thoughts - the real scoop - on the different aspects of Coachella.

An Unbeatable Range of Music

Coachella has always been known for its diverse music. The music festival actually had its debut by hosting a Pearl Jam concert. However,this year it was quite surprising to see that out of 163 acts, 67 of them were EDM based.

I have nothing against EDM - in fact, I'm a huge fan - but for a festival that is known for its rock and indie artists, I was surprised. Since I enjoy a wide variety of music, this wasn't going to make my decision making any easier. I'm sure other Coachella-goers felt the same way.

Going into the event I told myself that I would stick to the Indie bands, but as the weekend progressed I found myself more and more at the Sahara tent. Moral of the story? Great acts can be found at any tent, not just the main stage or Sahara. In fact, this year the Yuma tent was the place to be, featuring legendary DJs like Carl Craig.

As the music trends change over the years, you just have to learn to go with the flow. If you are a true music enthusiast, chances are you will find many artists that you are dying to see on the Coachella line up. I always find it hilarious when someone comments on the line-up saying, "Oh, it isn't really that good." You're saying that out of 163 acts, you can't find any that you would like to see live?

Do I Have To See the Headliner?

Most of the time people are drawn to the Coachella scene by three large printed names on the set list and maybe the first line underneath them. Just from a small handful of artists, people make the decision of whether or not to attend this festival.

Don't get me wrong, 90% of the time the headliners are usually on my must see list, but they shouldn't be the make-or-break-it factor to attend a legendary event. If fact, sometimes the headliners aren't even the ones to to see. If you do some research on Soundcloud or Spotify, you're bound to find some new artists that you will do anything to see at Coachella.

From this year, the biggest set time conflict for me was Drake, the mainstream hip hop artist, and Kygo, the up and coming tropical house artist from Norway.

In past years I have had the pleasure to see legendary headliners like Dr.Dre & Snoop Dogg with the resurrection of Tupac, as well as the surprise performance of Beyonce with her husband Jay-Z. Unfortunately, not every headliner blew my mind.

Last year, Outkast's reappearance was supposed to be the ultimate throwback, but all I wanted to do was leave and find my car. It was sad to admit that their music was officially outdated and the crowd was obviously just waiting for 'Hey Ya.' This year, Drake's performance surprised everyone with his makeout session with Madonna in weekend one and Nicki Minaj simply saying 'hello' to the crowd in weekend two.

After much deliberation, I made the plan to watch Drake for an hour and then end the night at Kygo in order to get the best of both worlds. It was a perfect plan until Drake was on 30 minutes late, so that cut my Drake time. While Drake was swapping spit with Madonna I was getting lost in Kygo's melodic tropical house beats. It was a very chill environment and everyone loved it. I love my bass music, but this was a nice change. Kygo was the cherry on top to a blissful weekend at Coachella and I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

The Fashion Scoop

Every year, people spend oodles of time and money on finding the perfect Coachella outfits. Even I'm guilty of that. Once March starts, so does my Coachella outfit search. Flower headbands and fringe are usually a must!

As the Kardashians and Vanessa Hudgens make a statement in the land of Coachella, they are are also raising the world's attention. Selena Gomez, Kendall and Kylie Jenner, and Vanessa Hudgens have all been seen sporting a bindi at Coachella. Certain cultures are taking offense to the use of their sacred items for a fashion statement. Wearing Native American headdresses and bindis are causing quite the commotion, yet that doesn't seem to stop them or anyone else. The hashtags #ReclaimTheBindi and #CoachellaShutdown are taking over the twitter-verse. Their tweets are directly attacking those who may have criticized their culture at some point and now seem to find it "trendy." No one wants their culture exploited.

Dressing cute doesn't have to be controversial. Stick to something trendy, but not offensive.

The Coachella Culture

In the span of 2 decades, Coachella has created its very own culture. This is the place to be yourself and meet new people. There hasn't been a year at Coachella I haven't made a handful of new friends - friends from other states who actually make an effort to see each other every once in a while. You can't find those people just anywhere.

But not everyone is a friend for life. Of course you'll run into that girl who mauls everyone in the crowd just to get to the front. You'll probably see that meat head being obnoxious trying to hook up with the girl in front of you. But that comes with attending an event for over 600,000. Not everyone is a gem, and that's alright. Take a second, realize who you want to be surrounded by, and carry on with your life. We're all here for a good time, however everyone else wants to spend it.

Is it Worth it to Come Back?

Coming into Coachella this year, I had the mindset that this was my last and final year, for a while at least. I have made so many wonderful memories at this event and its hard to say goodbye to something you love and have grown up with. The music, the people, the experience - everything about Coachella is amazing and I don't want to let go.

What could possibly be steering me away? Rising ticket prices, overselling tickets, difficulty getting tickets, and Coachella becoming the it place to be for anyone and everyone are just a few reasons that could steer a veteran away. I remember a few years back talking to people about Coachella and their responses being more like "oh that's cool, but i'd never go." Now everyone is ready to dish out $500 just to say that they went. Coachella was a hipster's paradise and now the hipster inside me is cringing.

Even though these negative aspects exist, there are still many positives to outweigh them. If there's anything that has always gone right at Coachella for me, it's experiencing it with the right people. They are the biggest reason I keep coming back, to create more incredible memories. That's what Coachella does for me, it provides the location and the music, and I bring the people.

With all this being said, even if I don't know where I will be in life when Coachella comes around again... there's a huge possibility I will be on my computer, ready to purchase my pre-sale Coachella ticket.

Whether you were at Coachella or not, there are many more upcoming festivals!

Check out the Top 40 Festivals of 2015, according to burners!