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Coachella concert-goers reveal what festival is really like when you’re ‘not a celebrity’

‘I went once and will never do it again’ said one previous Coachella attendee

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Tuesday 18 April 2023 17:31 BST
Related: Frank Ocean performs at Coachella

Coachella festival-goers have shared a candid look at the realities of attending the three-day concert when “you are not a celebrity”.

The first weekend of the annual music festival in Indio, California, was this past weekend, with thousands of fans pouring into the desert to see performances from a star-studded lineup of artists.

With pricey tickets, and additional fees for camping, accommodation, transportation, and food, Coachella is often not as glamorous as influencers and celebrities make it seem on social media. Thousands of attendees spent a lot of their time at the festival waiting in long lines for bathrooms, showers, food and more.

In response, many have taken to TikTok to share this realistic view of a Coachella weekend and viewers can’t help but be surprised.

In one video, shared by a user named Kaela who goes by @kaelalala24 on TikTok, a woman talks about waking up at 6am on Coachella day one because she had to use the portable toilets.

“It’s currently six in the morning, I woke up early because I have to use the Porta Potties, which I’ve already had four anxiety attacks over, I’m not even kidding when I say that,” she said.

Kaela was one of the thousands camping at Coachella, which costs an additional $149 on top of the $549 ticket cost. In her video, she said she would be scoping out the “shower situation”.

“Hopefully, the line isn’t too long,” Kaela said, before filming the long line of people waiting their turn to use the showers. At 8.20am, the TikToker said she and her friend had been in line for an hour and 20 minutes.

As she waited to take a shower, Kaela took the opportunity to ask fellow attendees how they “feel,” with one woman responding: “I feel dirty,” while another said: “I feel dusty.”

Kaela then updated viewers about the shower experience.

“I actually had water pressure, but my other friends did not. They said they had four dribbles of water and they had to cup the water to [put on themselves],” the TikToker said, before noting that “overall” the wait to use the showers was only an hour and a half. As she updated her followers, she ate a Spam sandwich in her tent while she waited for the festival to start.

In the comments under Kaela’s video, which has since been viewed more than four million times, viewers expressed their appreciation, and surprise.

“Thank you for this, confirms I will never do this…” one person commented, while another said: “Thank you. Finally the realistic side of Coachella. I went in 2014 and never again.”

“I salute your positive attitude,” someone else jokingly admitted. “I went once and will never do it again. Hotel me please.”

In another video, shared by a user named Jackie who goes by the username @jackietanti, the woman posted another perspective about camping at Coachella.

Jackie said in her video that setting up their tent had gone smoothly, but that she and her friends ultimately struggled when their air mattress wouldn’t inflate.

“I planned on showing you the camp, but I’m having a crisis,” she explained. “So, happy night one.”

In another video, Jackie shocked viewers when she revealed that two coffees and two burritos cost $64 at Coachella.

“Capitalism really popped off today,” she said, before adding in the caption: “The sh***iest part of Coachella.”

“I gasped,” one viewer admitted, while another said: “I can justify the ticket cost, but not the food, camping or anything else.”

Other videos broke down the costs of a day of food at Coachella, while some documented their and fellow attendees’ discouragement and disappointment over delayed acts such as Frank Ocean’s. Some concert-goers even said they waited hours just to get a good view of the performance.

A user named Sahory, who goes by @sahorybet on TikTok, also shared a video showing what it is like to “get ready at Coachella when you are not a celebrity”.

In the video, Sahory showed a huge tent set up with various mirrors and a huge crowd of people waiting in line to get ready for the festival.

“I feel for how much it is to be there, the accommodations should be better,” one person commented.

Another said: “I cannot imagine the stress I would feel knowing people are waiting on me to finish my makeup.”

The set up surprised some viewers, with many revealing that they’d expected less from the festival when considering the other camping amenities.

“This is the best thing I’ve seen about Coachella. Absolutely adorable,” one person commented, while someone else wrote: “Wait, this is kinda fun, a big get ready party is so cute.”

This is not the first time attendees have shared the downsides of Coachella. Influencer Remi Bader admitted last year that she “hated” her experience at the festival after revealing that she hated how dusty the festival was, and how difficult it was to navigate the expansive desert traffic.

“I hate it here,” she said. “I hate Coachella. I hate Palm Springs.” She later clarified that she doesn’t hate Palm Springs, but that Coachella was “not for [her]”.

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