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What Has Happened to Coachella?

Over the last ten years, the music festival Coachella, held in Indo, California, has lost its appeal to the new generation.

Coachella's Ferris Wheel. Shutterstock/Abhishek Bharatvanshi

It seems that Coachella has relied too much on its reputation over the last few years. They are selling tickets slower than they have previously. In January, the performers for Coachella were announced, and the next week, tickets went on sale. Tickets were expected to sell out as they do every year; however, this year, they only sold up to the first tier out of three. There may be a few reasons why the tickets have not sold out yet.

Lineup

The first reason Coachella did not sell out could be the performers. The main lineups for the festival are Lana Del Rey on Friday, Tyler the Creator on Saturday, and Doja Cat on Sunday. No Doubt will also perform.

These artists are trendy with Gen Z. The idea of having the main headliners is that they are the biggest and most popular right now. However, many were not ecstatic about the main headliners this year as they do not appeal to the public. This leads people to avoid watching them. This tends to happen yearly with Coachella, as some performers only interest some.

However, these singers have had some controversy around them, making it more difficult for individuals to want to see them. These are the main headliners, which are essential because they are last to perform as they are the most anticipated throughout the night. If artists are not appealing to the public, selling out tickets becomes more challenging if no one wants to see them.

Fame and Gen Z

Another reason that Coachella has yet to sell all of its tickets is because the festival has relied too much on its popularity over the years. Coachella’s heavy reliance on its big reputation has led it to withhold from marketing the music getaway. They underestimated how unaware Gen Z was of the festival. A great way to get more people to sell more tickets is to advertise Coachella. Coachella needed to promote the festival but instead relied on the past and expected everyone to want to see it and buy tickets.

The fame that Coachella has brought over the years has been euphoric. Many celebrities have visited over the years, and their presence has given Coachella a big name for this reason. More people would go to Coachella not just for the performers but for the fame that the celebrities brought to Coachella. 2015 was the year that Coachella took off with celebrities, making it more famous than it had been in previous years. Celebrities like Kendall Jenner, Emma Chamberlain, and James Charles have all brought enormous publicity to Coachella’s name.

Regardless, this fame has only brought a big deal to millennials. Gen Z is not finding fame and popularity amusing anymore. They do not see the allure that makes Coachella so popular. They feel that other things are more important than attending the festival.

Millennials saw Coachella as more of a time to listen to music and experience a different setting. Coachella is a place where many get to enjoy the desert and the festivities it offers. Yet, Gen Z sees this experience, wants to avoid it, refuses to relish it, and sees it as out of style today.

Times are Tough

Lastly, Coachella is no longer advocating for Gen Z because of expenses. Today’s time is getting expensive, and the public is having difficulty keeping up with prices. Tickets for the first tier are $499, the second is $549, and the third is $599, excluding additional costs. However, it is not only the tickets that cost a lot. It is the trip itself that also comes with Coachella. Many folks from all over the world come to California just for the festival. Additional expenses, like the plane ticket, hotel, and food, are pushed onto the trip as a whole. Especially when others in the area are aware that more people are coming out to see Coachella, prices are bumped up even more, which makes it harder for people to want to go all three days.

Credit: Shutterstock/ Tim Remer
Girls at Coachella. Credit: Shutterstock/Tim Remer

Moreover, prices in the U.S. are getting higher, making it more troublesome for people wishing to attend. People are trying to save money rather than spend more of it. This leads to Coachella’s tickets not selling out. Many have to decide whether they want to go and spend more money or stay at home. Gen Z is finding that it is much more manageable and less expensive to just not visit the concert. The alternative too that people may want to do is watch it online. Coachella live streams the concert on YouTube for others to see it the day of.

Other festivals are also another option for people. They are not obligated to attend this one and can go to a different one that is much cheaper, too, like the Outside Lands, which is held in San Francisco. There are much cheaper options, and people do not have the money to spend over a thousand dollars to attend a weekend at Coachella.

Outcome for Coachella

As a result, reasons why the public will not want to catch these performers have concluded in tickets not being sold out. This is the first time in ten years that the music festival has had tickets for an extended amount of time—during the opening weekend of tickets, only the first tier sold, not the second or third. The music festival has yet to sell its third, last tier for both weekends. When tickets went on sale in 2015, they sold out in 40 minutes. In only four hours, tickets sold out in 2022.

Coachella expected, like every year, to sell out. Unfortunately, they did not anticipate that this year would be different due to certain conditions and standards not being set. It seems like Coachella has died out with the last generation, and no one else wants to go. Gen Z discards what the concert brings for them and decides to put their focus on other agendas. Coachella seems that it might be outdated and will no longer be as memorable as it was back then.

Written By

Third year in professional/technical writing at San Jose State University.

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