It’s a music festival, not a clothes festival

by Zoe Kaye, Contributor

If you’ve logged on to any social media site in the past week, chances are you’ve seen one-too-many photos of wide-brimmed hats, crochet tops and reflective sunglasses.

The flood of these posts has begun to change my view of The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, an event I attended and loved for the past two years.

But this year I decided to not go and I sold my ticket. Coachella has become an overpriced and overrated scene where privileged teenagers and young adults flock, not so much to appreciate the music, but to socialize and flaunt festival fashion.

Many of the attendees respect the music and art, but these typically aren’t the ones posing for the camera like primped-up flower children. Between the costs of festival-appropriate attire, wristbands, lodging, transportation and food and drink, the event easily totals up to $1,000 and more.

Is this kind of money worth spending if your first priority is social and not musical? This was first brought to my attention a few months ago when a classmate and I were discussing the thrill of Coachella being on the horizon. But the only thing she contributed to the conversation was her excitement about outfit planning — nothing about the lineup, the visual art instillations and the desert setting and feel.

Sure, dressing for an occasion can be half the fun, but music festivals are not fashion runways. It should be about music. With the progressing popularity of outdoor music festivals, there is an unwritten uniform dress code, especially for females. Its a Woodstock-inspired, boho-hippie and seemingly carefree look.

When in reality finding a statement-making outfit for each of the three days can be the most distressing part of the experience. Luckily, online stores make the process easier with their “festival wear” tab — which if thorough — will include everything from floor-sweeping suede vests to fake septum rings. Honestly, I can’t blame anyone for wanting to frolic around on Coachella’s lush green grass in a flowing dress and floppy hat.

It’s when blister-inducing sandals are paired with a metric ton of chunky jewelry that I begin to wonder how one can enjoy the music, let alone anything when trying to appear put-together in triple-digit heat.

However, after sacrificing time, money and effort creating the perfect outfit, a festival-goer can’t be blamed for flaunting it and documenting the fashion statement on social media.

Coachella was an incredible highlight of the past two years of my life. But for me, what was once a celebration of music and art has become an overpriced gathering of carefully-dressed artificial free-spirits, who honestly all look the same.

While I’m sorry to have missed Disclosure and Edward Sharpe, I’m glad to have sold my wristband.