Coachella: Expectations vs. Reality

by Madison Silvers

Oh, Coachella, how we love you. Now that the festival is over and we’ve all returned to our regularly scheduled programming, we can get real about what’s behind those perfectly captured Insta posts. What you see isn’t always what you get—especially when it comes to marathon-style concerts in the desert heat. Maybe you expected to land front row spots for your favorite band only to end up 500 yards away and squished between sweaty shoulders on both sides. Or maybe you forgot about the port-a-potty situation when you imagined your ideal weekend and found yourself in line with three thousand of your closest friends trying desperately not to wet your pants. We all went into the festival with high expectations—and in most cases we weren’t disappointed—but sometimes reality has other plans.

 

 

Expectation

While daydreaming about your weekend of fun, you never really considered how you’d get to the festival itself. Pesky transportation issues never even crossed your mind as you packed your fifth pair of shoes, and when your wristband arrived with a handy shuttle pass you threw it in your purse and promptly forgot about it. You figured you’d Uber back to your hotel after the festival when your feet were finally protesting the miles of walking you’d put them through. You even entertained the idea of Beyonce and her crew driving by, seeing you waiting for a ride, and popping open the door to invite you to an exclusive afterparty. We all have dreams, right?

 

Reality

You unearth your shuttle pass beneath the avalanche of receipts, gift cards, and snacks in your bag and get in line with the other hundreds of people waiting for a bus. Sure, the line is long and after the first hour you’re pretty sick of waiting, but all is forgotten when you arrive to the sweet sounds of your first concert of the day. Fast forward to the end of the night: The Weeknd has bid you adieu with fireworks and one last serenade, and you’re ready to crawl into bed and get some sleep before day two. You and your friends look for the shuttle line only to hear that the wait for a bus is over two hours long. After a quick detour to the Uber area, a nearby festival-goer informs you that the wait for a ride is over three hours long. The clock strikes four when you finally make it to your bed, and no matter how you try to get around the lines and the surge charges, it’s the same story every night of Coachella.

 

 

Expectation

The outfit you’ve picked out has been styled within an inch of its life and you’re positive it’ll look great with the iconic ferris wheel in the back of your picture. Cool-girl combat boots, metal bra-style top, floor-grazing skirt, and accessories to match will surely make you the most fashionable girl at the festival. You’ve even tried it all on to make sure it looks good together and your fashion sense didn’t lead you astray—it’s perfect. You find a youtube tutorial for an intricate braided hairdo and another for a colorful makeup look. You’re ready for anything the weekend could throw at you.

 

Reality

Metal, when left in the sun, gets hot. Every time your arm brushes against your top you get a second degree burn and you blind yourself when the sun hits you just right. Thankfully the sun sets a couple of hours after you arrive and you’re able to enjoy your outfit again…that is, until you realize that your new boots haven’t been broken in. Before you know it, your feet are covered in blisters and you’re stepping carefully to avoid the landmines of pain you’ve created for yourself. That hairdo you spent hours on? It lasted an hour before you were desperate to get your hair off your neck and threw it into a ponytail. By the end of the night you’re a limping, dusty, burnt mess that can’t wait to get into a t-shirt and shorts. By Sunday, your festival style is leaning more towards the comfortable end of the spectrum, and you can’t bring yourself to care. You’re having too much fun jumping up and down at Eminem in sneakers—sans pain.

 

 

Expectation

When the lineup was first released, you and your friends spent countless hours in the group chat deciding who you absolutely had to see. After swapping Spotify playlists and listening to your favorite songs on repeat for months, you’re ready to be in the crowd when all of your favorites take the stage. Half the fun of a festival is experiencing it with your best friends by your side, so, as a precautionary measure, you all copy down the times and stages of the concerts you’ll be seeing. You half-heartedly decide on a meeting point in the off chance someone gets separated, but secretly everyone knows it won’t be necessary—why would anyone wander off?

 

Reality

You’ve wandered off. Whether it was for a slice of pizza, an overpriced drink, or simply because you had to run to the bathroom, you find yourself all alone in line. Well, as alone as you can be with thousands of people around. You call your friends only to realize that service isn’t exactly easy to find in the middle of the desert, and when you make your way to the meeting point your crew is nowhere to be found. Probably because they’re still at the show you left behind in the quest for a mediocre fish taco. You manage to locate them thanks to a well-timed text message between concerts and you meet up before your next must-see show, vowing to bring walkie talkies next year. You will, without a doubt, forget this promise before the weekend is through.




Madison Silvers
Madison Silvers

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