Will Social Media Be The End Of Coachella?
The Debrief: Was your Instagram feed an unconvincing trail of #ad posts too?
The first weekend of Coachella 2017, aka the celebrity equivalent of your mate’s annual piss up in the back garden that, despite having kicked off in sixth form everyone still feel obliged to attend in their twenties out of loyalty to the sesh, has been a bit blah so far.
It’s the first time I’ve experienced negative levels of FOMO as I aimlessly scrolled through an Instagram feed full of samey-samey #chella pictures. Not much more than beautiful celebrities dressed rather unspectacularly (except Rihanna, obvs) looking very matte rather than moist considering they’re supposedly having a bit of a jolly in the middle of the desert.
I get the impression that, much like the parties of your adolescent past, The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, in theory, is always absolutely fine in reality. Once you get there it’s all good and you’ll probably have a nice time despite any initial reluctance to show up. Sure, Beyoncé having to drop out on account of the whole being pregnant with twins thing, was a bummer. But Lady Gaga smashed it, Kendrick Lamar never disappoints and Drake’s little surprise take-over of Future’s set was worth the hour long ‘you had to be there’ buzz that trickled across social media on Saturday.
But it does get to a point where everything, or rather everyone, just feels a little bit too try hard and a little bit false and those of us on the outside are blocked from understanding what the 'reality' is. You know when you open up Facebook and find a picture of two people from school who, knowing them now, you wouldn’t bet your last penny on them ever voluntarily sharing the same airspace? It’s a bit like when you spot Kylie Jenner sharing pictures of her ‘having the best time’ in the Coachella Bumble tent, looking like she’s having the worst time in the Coachella Bumble tent. It feels like no one really wants to be there but is, just like the rest of us, a slave to that overwhelming pressure to prove to the world that they are there anyway. Enter Instagram.
And, okay, this admittedly comes from someone who hasn’t ever been to Coachella (because lol, who can really afford Coachella?). But when ninety percent of what you see on social media is an uninterested face with a ‘blah blah blah #spon #ad #imbeingforcedtodothis’ caption beneath it, it kind of makes you wonder, do you actually want to be at Coachella or is this one of those situations that your mum has encouraged you to go to because all of your old friends are going, it’s only once a year and it would be rude to decline an invitation, my love?
I mean, Vanessa Hudgens was obviously having a good time and living her best life. But she’s the undisputed princess of Coachella who, according to the once a year we properly hear about what she’s up to, is permanently dressed in festival gear. But the first of her Coachella posts that popped up on my Instagram feed was purely for the purpose of giving a shout out to her so called 'brand partner'. Because #MarriottXCoachella makes all the sense...
It feels like what was once a mystical wonderland full of glitter-laden celebrities gathered in the middle of nowhere to bounce around to Calvin Harris, isn’t quite so mystical anymore. Instagram has made it all a bit too real, actually. Because it's not like we're getting too much of an insight into what the A-list are up to. It's more that we're being force-fed a barrage of sponsored posts that have very little to do with why we have any interest in Coachella in the first place.
We live in a world where Instagram is currency as much as it is a social media community where it’s fun to post pretty pictures. We’ve known it for a while, and it’s not going to change any time soon. But what shatters the filtered version of events that we've grown accustomed to also knowing that Vanessa Hudgens was apparently paid about £8,975 to attend the festival a few years ago. Albeit by McDonald's, but still. Which lends itself to me not being able not to roll my eyes and wonder how much Levis had to pay Emily Ratajkowski to post an artfully lit pic of her 'desert booty'.
Quite honestly I'm over it. And it's not the whole #sponsored post thing that bothers me in this instance, that's just the way the world goes around at the moment. It's more that once upon a time there was something quite appealing about every so often getting an 'accidental' glimpse of an otherwise very together A-lister losing themselves in the festival experience. But now that's clouded by the manufactured image of these celebs representing some brands while they happen to be listening to good music in the middle of nowhere.
So sue me for craving the glory days of crappy phone signal, blurry pictures and people genuinely having a good time and being happy to be where they are.
At the end of the first weekend, there were 2,803,500 Instagram posts tagged with #coachella. Which is more than double the 1.1 million people who actually follow the @coachella account. And okay, I know tags and follows are very different things in Instagram land, but I think I can be forgiven for assuming that you'll have equally as different people tagging and following Coachella.
Followers are in it for the music, you see. But (no judgement intended, we've all done it) an educated guess tells me that the hash-taggers are probably more likely to be using it just to prove that they were there. It’s all very posey. And while that's all well and good for a while, there comes a point where the posing overtakes the enjoying, which can't be good for anyone.
The spectacle of charismatic famous people faux-frolicking in the Californian sunshine wears thin after a while. So thin that we stop actually giving a shit about who played at Coachella, what they wore and who was watching. That's why things like #Couchella2016 prevail, and I'm not mad about it.
Like this? You might also be interested in...
Follow Jazmin on Instagram @JazKopotsha
At work? With your gran?
You might want to think about the fact you're about to read something that wouldn't exactly get a PG rating