Now Reading: My Expectations of Coachella Were Wrong: A Personal Account of the Festival


My Expectations of Coachella Were Wrong: A Personal Account of the Festival

April 23, 20186 min read

The Coachella Music Festival is one the most popular music festivals in the world. Celebrities flock there, among thousands of others, creating a lot of different, inaccurate expectations of the festival. Experiencing Coachella is something I’ve always dreamed about, and this year, I was finally able to go.

Going into the festival, I was expecting the environment to be super glamorous and over the top. However, once I got there, I soon realized that it wasn’t very different than other big music festivals I’d been to. Port-a-potties, the hot sun and a big open field covered with increasing amounts of littered garbage as the night went on. It is a classic music festival at heart and not as intimidating as I thought it would be.

Timothy Brown poses during Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club, in Indio, Calif. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

As I ventured through the venue, it was apparent that Coachella fashion is a pretty big deal.

I saw some of the coolest, craziest outfits that I could only dream of pulling off myself. One thing that I loved about it was that you could wear the most outrageous clothes and no one would look at you funny; everyone accepts you as you are. It was not all supermodels in designer couture; rather, there were plenty of festival goers in tank tops and shorts.

When it comes to the weather, Coachella is notorious for its scorching heat.

Hailing from Michigan, being burned alive was a big concern of mine. I was pleasantly surprised that — while reaching triple digit heat — being at the festival was bearable. After all, heat quickly drops in a desert, and I was comfortable throughout each day. In addition, I was expecting the grounds to be extremely dusty, since bandannas are considered essential. However, there was not a time when I felt that I had to wear it over my face in order to breathe. The weather at the festival grounds was overall much better than expected.


I was expecting the food to be good, but very overpriced, and that is essentially spot on.

On Saturday, I paid $15 for four dumplings with a 1/2 cup of noodles underneath. It was delicious, but I was already hungry again by the time Beyoncé got on stage. On Sunday, I paid $15 for a cheeseburger. It was 7oz, so I got more for my money than with the dumplings, but it didn’t taste any better than a homemade burger. Spending this much money without even getting any sides is upsetting, but it is definitely better than starving in the hot desert.

@beyonce via Instagram

The music acts that Coachella is able to gather is undoubtedly what sets this festival apart from all of the others.

Seeing Beyoncé perform was nothing short of incredible. I’m amazed at how well she can sing live, in addition to how well she can deliver an intense dance routine.

I expected Beyoncé to be great, but experiencing her set in person is better than I ever could have imagined.

I also expected it to be impossible to get anywhere near the front for the music acts, but it was actually much easier than any other festival I’ve been to. Before Portugal. The Man’s set, I was able to make my way to the front, as Cardi B fans left.

Portugal. The Man is one of my favorite bands, so getting to be so close to the stage was exciting and something I didn’t think I would be able to do. Every set was well-put together and definitely lived up to the hype of the Week 1 livestreams. I didn’t expect to have so much fun at every set I went to, especially for the artists I don’t listen to.

Above all, people come to Coachella for the music, and the music is what allows this festival to be a triumph.

@therachelmartin via Instagram

Coachella 2018 was not what I expected in a lot of ways. Being there allowed me to see it for what it really is — a festival with the world’s greatest music acts. I, without a doubt, hope to return to Coachella one day.

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