Coachella persists in popularity, despite the beliefs of the owner, Philip Anschutz

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Coachella persists in popularity, despite the beliefs of the owner, Philip Anschutz

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  Every April, our Instagram timelines are flooded with over-saturated, colorful photos from the most infamous music festival in America: Coachella.

  This year will most likely be no different.

  The festival began in 1999, just a few months after Woodstock. But the Coachella of today would probably be unrecognizable to those who attended the first one ten years ago.

   Instagram certainly paints the festival out to be the most care-free, beautiful 3 days of the year — a heaven on Earth, if you will. The most famous artists in the world all gather in Indio, California in mid-April to perform for thousands live and via livestream.

  As if it were a fashion show, attendees break out their crop tops, bandanas, flowy dresses, thigh-high boots and kimonos as they strut around the event, usually caring more about getting the perfect shot in front of the famed ferris wheel than listening to the music.

  Coachella announced its lineup via social media platforms the night of January 2nd and people immediately prepared to buy tickets, which would go on sale the upcoming Friday. General admission costs a hefty $429, while general admission plus a shuttle will run you about $509. And if you want VIP? Well, you’re gonna have to cough up a thousand dollars.

    And I’ll admit it: if somebody offered me a free ticket, I’d accept it probably with only a moment of hesitation (probably in regards to how I would be allowed to fly across the country rather than the nature of the festival). Even if I ended up sweating off all my makeup and missing half of my favorite artists, having the experience still seems well worth it. Most people just want to say they were at least there when Ariana Grande headlined the third day.

  But there is a major problem with Coachella: Philip Anschutz. Anschutz is the founder of the festival and owner of entertainment company, AEG.

  He also happens to be an off-the-wall Republican who has donated hundred of thousands of dollars to conservative foundations with homophobic, xenophobic, and anti-climate change values. These are ideals that would would be expected to be frowned upon at a southern Californian, seemingly liberal event.

  We need to hold the performing artists accountable for their actions. Many artists that attend are openly gay, transgender, people of color, feminists, etc. However, they still accept large sums of money to perform at the problematic event, only to go home and preach social justice in their Instagram captions.

  Despite what many may consider Anschutz’s disturbing views, most don’t see this as a deal-breaking issue- at least not deal-breaking enough to stop buying tickets and indirectly giving money to harmful organizations. These are the same people who advocated for Bernie Sanders, who attend pride parades, and who tweet links to articles calling attention to global warming. So why do they show support to these social issues, but not when it means sacrificing their good time? This is an internal conflict that I, too, face.

  I do not agree with Anschutz’s values, but I would love nothing more than to listen to good music in the springtime with my friends in the Californian sunshine.

 It’s the same thing as listening to artists with problematic pasts. Kanye West’s actions are borderline psychotic, but I still shamefully indulge in private. We think, what difference does it make if I just listen to one song? If I go to one festival? If I support one movie with a problematic director? The difference is that you’re supporting all of that person’s work, and, in turn, encouraging their practices.

 I’m not saying boycott every piece of artistry, every person, and every event with a slightly problematic past. If that were the case, we would all live in isolation. What I am saying is that Coachella is an absolutely massive event that generates millions of dollars, its owner is a paradigm of an evil man with too much power and money, and people should stop going to this event specifically if it’s the only activism they participate in all year.

  Lowering the attendance of the festival probably won’t be enough to shut it down, seeing as it has years of history and its own mini-culture. But maybe it would be enough to force Anschutz to step down and to tarnish the festival’s reputation.

  We need to be as consistent as we can be in our activism. You shouldn’t pick and choose when to defend your opinions just for your convenience. We need to start treating Coachella like the problem that it is.