It is a question every college student in Southern California hears: “Oh my god, are you going to Coachella this year? The lineup’s, like, super sick!”
Unfortunately, no matter how “sick” the lineup is, those who want to make the hipster pilgrimage down to Indio, Calif., are often stopped in their tracks by the staggering cost of attendance.
Standard passes for Coachella cost $375 at face value. Prices increase sharply for extra bells and whistles, such as VIP passes, hotel rooms, shuttle tickets or even camping spaces at the festival grounds. Factor in three days of overpriced food and beverages, and suddenly the Coachella price tag becomes comparable to that of a new laptop computer.
Most college students simply do not have the room in their budgets to justify such a large purchase. Fortunately, there are many new ways for students to enjoy all the features of a music festival without destroying their bank accounts. These alternative events take place much closer to Los Angeles, allowing attendees to sleep in their own beds, shower in the privacy of their homes and still post photos on Instagram to their heart’s content.
For example, Goldenvoice, the organizers behind Coachella, have taken note of the festival’s high price and responded with a series of concerts called “Localchella.” These shows happen throughout the month of April and feature nearly 40 bands from the Coachella lineup, performing headlining sets at local venues in L.A., Pomona and Santa Ana. The shows include up-and-coming acts like The 1975 and Haim, as well as more established bands like Foster the People and MGMT. It also allows fans the opportunity to see the one band they really care about on the lineup for about one-tenth of the festival cost. Additionally, since the various bands headline each show, their set lists tend to be longer and more varied than what they would play at a festival like Coachella.
There are also a growing number of independently-organized music events happening on Coachella weekend. For the 21-and-over crowd, “Brokechella” offers four stages of live music and interactive art exhibitions for the incredibly reasonable price of $10, which took place in downtown L.A. on the second Saturday of Coachella. Record Store Day happens the same day and sponsors live shows, merchandise giveaways and more at music stores all across L.A.
If these events fail to completely satisfy that Coachella itch, the Internet can help satiate music fans no matter where they are. Live streams for both weekends can be found online, allowing everyone at home to experience the music of Coachella while saving them from the dehydrating 100 degree heat. And if they cannot watch the bands perform live, they can find bootleg videos from every set uploaded to YouTube by the end of the weekend.
So next year, before torching an entire paycheck for a Coachella wristband, consider seeking out these alternative opportunities. Not only will they serve as a prime chance to wear that homemade flower crown — they will save hundreds of dollars in the process.
Jeremy Childs is a junior English and Comparative Literary Studies major. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @WeeklyJeremy.