The Great American Music Festival: Coachella, Dubstep, and Epinephrine
“Is it the sixties yet?”
Every year, Coachella Valley in Indio, California is flooded with hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from around the country and around the world. These pilgrims—fans of music, fans of dancing, fans of ecstasy, fans of sweat—come from all over to experience (and that’s really the only verb that can be used) the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, most commonly referred to in totum pro parte as simply Coachella. I use the word experience because although it is, broadly, a music festival, people don’t come simply to hear music. You can listen to music on a gramophone, or an ice cream truck, or even your computer. They come for the spectacle that is the Great American Music Festival.
Coachella, Lollapalooza, Bamboozle, Burning Man, Bonnaroo, and SXSW are all immensely popular festivals in the US and, for the most part, consist of the same basic elements: a requisite handful of impressive headliners, a back-catalog of mid-level and rising (and decidedly-not-rising) artists, several stages, a village of corporate tents, and Stonehenges of supernaturally large speakers. Depending on the festival there are often carnival rides, craftspeople in tents, temporary gardens, mushroom fountains, and a number of other very quirky things. If the traveling