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Indio draws in Instagram influencers

The modern Coachella festival is an indie-esque fashion show with popular culture’s best soundtrack to match

<p>Is the culture of "pics or it didn't happen" taking away from the music of Coachella?</p>

Is the culture of "pics or it didn't happen" taking away from the music of Coachella?

Every year, Indio, California becomes an epicenter for music-lovers who brave glamourous hour-long shower lines and mud-bogged fields in order to see their favorite musicians dominate the famous Coachella stages live. The valley becomes riddled with star-studded and rhinestone-laced concertgoers, filling the venue with glitter space buns as far as the eye can see. Coachella is one of the most famous music festivals in our popular culture, and as such, it has drawn in the most prominent figures of online popularity. Hundreds of self-proclaimed Instagram influencers like Indy Blue and Emma Chamberlain often attend Coachella, decked out in the most fashionable festival wear money can buy — or sponsors can provide. Influencers who attend the festival are the epitome of today’s so-called indie couture and look like the poster children for the ultimate Urban Outfitters ad.

When walking around the festival grounds, seeing countless mini photoshoots occurring at every turn is inevitable. After paying such a large amount of money and securing the most fashion forward outfit possible, the protocol is surely “pics or it didn’t happen.” But have you ever imagined a music festival without any personal music coverage? Attendees certainly take endless photos and videos of their favorite artists, but all we tend to see on social media is concertgoers posing in the gardens. Today’s all-consuming social media presence is likely diminishing the focus on Coachella’s music acts and putting more of an emphasis on its fashion. These photoshoots we see scattered across our feeds are a representation of the continuously shifting values of festival-goers.

On the rare occasion we do see music-based coverage, it is often to expose an artist’s onstage mishap. Country music superstar and social media sweetheart Kacey Musgraves received a large amount of coverage due to her failed attempt at a “yee-haw” call-and-response, and more specifically her laughable reaction to the audience’s confusion. However, what we did not see was the massive disco ball adorning the stage behind her as she performed a raw version of “Slow Burn,” creating an acoustic, sonic dreamscape at golden hour. In favor of her yelling at the audience, we lost the gorgeous aesthetic of her layered and whispery vocals.

Coachella is a concentrated example of society’s current values and our diminished attachment to the music we consume. There can often be less of an interest in music due to our detached — and predominantly digital — listening methods. Not to say this observation applies to all individuals who attend Coachella today, but the influencers we often see on social media shape our perception of the proper festival experience. Crocheted crop tops and knee-high latex boots are a more common social media sighting than eye-catching sets and artists on the rise.

An amalgamation of all these superficial occurrences detracts from the artistic, musical history being made onstage and the actual goal of Coachella itself — to showcase the most promising and progressive artists of today. However, any kind of excitement surrounding this annual music-centric event is certainly a positive, whether it be purely fashion or music-based in nature.