This Friday, April 15, the 2022 edition of Coachella is launched. For the few of you who have never heard of this famous festival, and even for the others, Yahoo invites you to explore behind the scenes, not always as brilliant as what can be found on the Internet…
And here we go again! Every year (separated in 2020 and 2021 by you-know-what), nine letters are embedded everywhere in your Instagram, Twitter, and even Facebook feed: COACHELLA. This is the name of this festival of “music and arts” that has been held in April in the California desert since 1999. This year, from April 15 to 24, 2022, those who go there will be able to attend the Harry Styles shows. , Billie Eilish, The Weeknd or even Doja Cat and so many others. This is how other artists who have already participated, such as Beyoncé, Rihanna, Justin Bieber and even the darlings of the French scene like Daft Punk, Christina and the queens, Charlotte Gainsbourg or DJ Snake. So, you will have understood, if you haven’t already, Coachella is THE place to be in April. Except with success comes controversy. And for that, the festival drags quite a bit.
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Inconvenient financing… or not
Let’s start with the basics. At the origin of Coachella is Anschutz Entertainment Group, the company in charge of organizing the festival. At its head we find Philip Frederick Anschutz. His name may not mean anything to you, but he is a particularly powerful American businessman. In 2020, he is ranked 41st. of the richest people in the United States according to Forbes. Except that Philip Frederick Anschutz has more than once put his taste for business at the service of his personal beliefs. And that is the problem. Member ofevangelic church There is talk of Presbyterian, the billionaire behind the Coachella festival in 2013. We then learn that he has donated several million dollars to conservative groups. anti-LGBTQ+comme l’Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and the Family Research Council (FRC).
Philip Frederick Anschutz denies this and says he would “immediately stop all contributions” to groups that “fund anti-LGBTQ initiatives.” Almost everyone believed it. Except that a few years later, the American magazine Billboard stick your nose into Philip Frederick Anschutz’s little business. And surprise: his company tax returns reveal donations made between 2017 and 2018 to anti-LGBTQ+ groups. This time it’s Colorado Christian University and a Christian camp, Sky Ranch Christian Camps. The first threatened with suspension LGBTQ+ students who “dress or act differently from the biological gender that God created.” The second believes that “all intimate sexual activity outside of marital relations, whether heterosexual, homosexual, or otherwise, is immoral and sinful.”
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Trapped in the pocket, Philip Frederick Anschutz, an excellent strategist, turned to another option. In 2017, he made several donations to politicians with anti-LGBTQ+ ideas, such as Senator Cory Gardner, who strongly opposes LGBTQ+. marriage for all and pro-guns, as is Scott Tipton, who also opposes abortion. If the little pranks of Philip Frederick Anschutz with the American conservative right have been public for a few years, the stars continue to go to Coachella. In 2019, the singer Lizzo had been questioned by a fan about her participation in the festival. The American artist then explained that most such organizations are in the hands of “cult millionaires who donate to sectarian organizations”: “I do what I have to do to make sure my big black voice is I can’t wait to dismantle hate. that’s funding this country… but until then, I’m going to put great black, female, lgbtq+ bodies on stage and tell our stories.” A view he doesn’t share at all. Cara Delevingne. In 2017, the actress and model publicly expressed her boycott of Coachella on Instagram: “I always refuse to go to a festival that belongs to an anti-LGBT and pro-gun person.”
The juicy business of the stars
But then why, in a time of awareness of inequalities and social advancement, are stars still performing at Coachella? Besides the very jet-set aspect of the festival, and the place it now occupies in pop culture, there is obviously the question of money. In 2017, the founder of Coachella, Paul Tollett, explained that the headliners of this edition, Kendrick Lamar, Lady Gaga and Radiohead, received between 3 and 4 million dollars for their performances on stage. For two concerts that require much less funding and energy than an international tour. Add to that the prestige of the event, and you have a “yes” from the biggest stars.
Also, it is not only they who find their account there. In the French 2.0 scene, Youtube or Instagram stars never miss an opportunity to shine at Coachella. Lena Situations, Nabilla Vergara, Noholita or Enjoyphoenix have already set foot there. Every time, it is mainly on Instagram that this beautiful world posts photos of skilfully crafted outfits just for the occasion. And brands quickly understood that a product placement or a simple sponsor at Coachella could perhaps bring them more visibility. in the columns of New York PostAmerican influencer Maryam Ghafarinia, a regular at Coachella, confessed that she had never managed to attend a single musical performance at the festival so far. The reason ? You have to “run to create content”. All day, she’s active, changing clothes to shoot videos and photos, then posting all of her on Instagram to honor her collaborations with brands. “There’s a lot of work,” she says. According to the New York Post, influencers like Maryam Ghafarinia can earn up to $10,000 during the festival. And, of course, get there for free, while tickets for a 3-day pass cost between 464 and 515 euros. For VIP Passes, you have to pay between 970 and 1105 euros.
Coachella is fertile ground for anyone looking for money and/or fame. The story of Charlotte d’Alessio is one of the most famous examples. In 2015, the 16-year-old Canadian was seen at Coachella through the lens of a famous fashion photographer. Shared on social networks, the photo of her is causing a stir. Today, Charlotte d’Alessio is a model and is followed by 1 million people on Instagram. As you may have understood, over time, the Coachella brand has gone beyond the range of a simple music festival. We could even forget this dimension if music programming were not so prestigious year after year.
A dress code in the viewfinder
From now on, Coachella is THE showcase of influence. Impossible to miss this event when you have a CV 2.0. In addition to brand collaborations, it’s a chance for everyone to show off their special Coachella look. because yes, the party managed to impose a very particular dress code. A mix between the basics of the hippie movement and other ethnic references. This is precisely what prompted the American journalist Jessica Andrews to publish an article in 2018 called: “How to avoid cultural appropriation in Coachella” on the website of teen fashion. According to her, “some Coachella attendees see the festival fad as an opportunity to knowingly or unknowingly demean cultures for the likes of Instagram.” And to support her claims, the journalist takes as an example the feather headdresses or the bindis that adorn the faces of certain festival attendees and that are, originally, symbols that represent the third eye on the forehead of the women of the south of Asia. “I’ve worn a Pocahontas costume for Halloween in the past. It’s a mistake I regret and I’ll never do it again knowing how painful it is.” Being the appropriation a subject of this type today, it’s easier than ever to learn about cultural symbols,” he wrote.
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In 2017, it was Quebec journalist Maïtée Labrecque-Saganash, a member of the Waswanipi aboriginal community, who took up the pen in an article published in the Subway Journal. “We repeat it every year, but they refuse to listen to us. It has become normal to see Coachella festival goers proudly displaying elements of another culture, for a weekend of binge drinking. Something I have often had to discuss, because indigenous feather headdresses were a trend in 2012,” she said indignantly. And to clarify: “Not even I who am an aboriginal can’t, they are reserved for chefs. It’s annoying to see people walking around with that on their minds when our culture is no longer forbidden to us recently.” Since then, consciences seem to be more aware of this topic, and some of these accessories have almost disappeared from the Californian landscape.
It remains to be seen what this 2022 edition of the Coachella festival holds for us. For this, he goes to social networks, because, in the end, that is where everything really happens.