Ahh, Coachella. An exotic and alluring word that conjures visions of epic, hedonistic musical retreats to the distant California desert. In high school in L.A., Coachella was what everybody looked forward to- papers and projects assigned for that April weekend never stood a chance. Now, Coachella is a distant memory for me, obscured by D.C. rain and expensive plane tickets.
Also since high school, Coachella has truly entered its prime as a Big Deal in the music world. Its success has led to an entire culture of summer festival-going, and has caused it to expand to two separate weekends. The festival has gained more notoriety with each passing year, becoming more and more a symbol of the so-called Millenial culture and a larger sign of the times- where musical omnivorousness rubs shoulders with big money and thrill-seeking.
Because of its cultural significance, Coachella is a source of as many editorials as music reviews. There are endless thought-pieces to be found online about the event, regarding not only the music performed but the social media use, fashion and behavior of festival-goers, as well as larger meditations on the changing face of the music industry and society’s treatment of music in general.
Yesterday, Ben Ratliff of the New York Times shared his thoughts in a piece called “Artists and Spectators, Not So Far Apart“. Featuring nice slideshows of the three days of Coachella weekend 1, this article meditates on many ideas that the festival spawned: the shrinking difference between artists and performers, the death of the bro and rise of young women as the new arbiters of music culture, as well as actual reviews of many performances in the light of these revelations.
It’s a very interesting piece and worth reading if you’re curious about the state of pop music today. Also includes shouts out to Arcade Fire and The Knife, both of whom with CDs in the music library! Check out the CDs and listen while reading for a new perspective. It’ll be sort of like mixing Dark Side of the Moon with the Wizard of Oz.