Fans heading to Coachella this weekend can eschew the dirt in favor of amenities such as private jets, and air-conditioned tents. All sponsored by the types of large corporations that likely would’ve caused Woodstockers in 1969 to throw their hands up in disgust.
Coachella has a swelling resemblance to a luxury resort. With music festival lineups getting more homogenous the 18-year-old fest has gone from a humble single-day event in the rustic California desert to a two-week extravaganza. Now completely refurbished with holograms, fingerprint scanners, and a giant roving caterpillar. Opulent amenities are now Coachella’s next attempt to remain unique.
Travel like the talent itself:
Let’s start with how the revelers will get to the affair. Instead of carpools, the new way to attend Coachella is via private flight.
Private jet company XOJet said “private-jet activity into three airports near the venue during the festival dates rose 40% in 2016 from a year earlier”. Competitor JetSuiteX is offering flights for the first time this year from Burbank, California, to Jacqueline Conchran Regional Airport, a 20-minute drive from the festival grounds. “We’ve created a schedule that helps people get to and from the desert at prime times,” a spokesperson said.
Then there’s JetSmarter, a new company that bills itself as the “Uber for private jet travel” . It provides flights throughout the Coachella region as well.
Sleep comfortably through the show:
Furnished safari tents have been offered for several years as VIP perks for those willing to spend than stay and ‘glam up’ than stay in a cheap hotel. But this year Marriott, the world’s largest hotel chain, is getting in on the action.
The company recently auctioned off eight air-conditioned tents each set up to look like a real Marriott hotel room. They were only allowed to be bid on using hotel loyalty points. Marriott is even tacking on parking, on-site concierge, and private restrooms, solely for those people who want to forget that it’s an outdoor music event.
Of course, no luxury experience would be complete without American Express, the Jay Z of the financial services world. The credit-card company has been partnering with Coachella in recent years to offer special discounts and promotions for cardmembers. This year they are setting up the “American Express Platinum House” at the nearby Parker Palm Springs hotel. It is open to holders of its $550-a-year Platinum card.
Just For Instagram?
A hungering for aesthetics plagues not only the stage, but the crowd standing in front of it. While all music festivals take their inspiration from Woodstock, dressing like a hippie isn’t exactly enough.
“Festival attire” has come into the norm—or rather, the necessity.
The retail companies have also launched entire lines of festival wear. Previously heavily promoted during summertime festival season is now available year-round. Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Condé Nast Traveler, Esquire and Harper Bazaar have all added to the fashion checkpoints required for the outdoor fest.
Ruthlessly Corporate :
The beads and feathers adorning Coachella-goers’ shirts immediately say: I am a person who loves music!
Last month, Coachella’s organizers revealed perhaps the true extent of its corporatization, when it filed a lawsuit against hipster retail brand Urban Outfitters. The crime? Urban Outfitters had named several items of clothing after the festival without seeking its permission.
According to Coachella, Urban’s “unauthorized apparel” interfered with the festival’s official merchandise sales and brand name. These concerns are less befitting of a niche music celebration than, say, a money-grabbing corporation. That, in the end, is Coachella’s new soul.