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Meet Ysabelle Wallace, the influencer who made Coachella fun again

In case you haven’t heard, Coachella made a comeback thanks to influencer and #Ourchella founder, Ysabelle Wallace. From posting GRWMs inside a tent to the reality of using the campground’s public showers, Ysabelle is democratising the music festival experience one video at a time. Meredith Clark spoke to Ysabelle about the origins of #Ourchella, the importance of making Coachella available to everyone, and her guide to surviving a weekend in the desert

Tuesday 07 May 2024 17:14 BST
(Courtesy of Ysabelle Wallace)

Another festival season has come and gone.

This year’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival was full of surprise cameos, a Tayvis appearance, and some unfortunate technical difficulties. For some, Coachella 2024 marked yet another overpriced music festival experience they’d be relegated to watch at home on a YouTube livestream. Others simply couldn’t dream of travelling all the way to Indio, California, to watch their favourite artists perform on the Coachella main stage. And with Coachella becoming increasingly associated with influencers, photo-ops and brand deals, many people have professed that the festival has lost its appeal.

That is, until one 22-year-old began documenting her experience at Coachella on TikTok – prompting both her and her fans to launch a democratised festival movement known as #Ourchella.

Ysabelle Wallace, a TikTok star with 1.3m followers on the video-sharing platform, is largely responsible for the Coachella renaissance. During the first weekend of the event, which took place on 12 April through 14 April, thousands of commenters admitted that, for the first time ever, they experienced FOMO [fear of missing out] due to Ysabelle’s content.

“You have single-handedly revived Coachella, queen,” one fan commented.

“I’m having intense Coachella fomo rn omg,” another person said.

“Your videos are the only ones I’ve seen that make me even want to go to Coachella,” a third wrote.

The Los Angeles based influencer, who originally hails from the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has been a lifelong music lover. It was her sheltered upbringing that pushed her to welcome life’s unexpected opportunities, like the first time she was invited to attend Coachella.

(Courtesy of Ysabelle Wallace)

“As a kid I always wanted to be a pop star, but raving is the closest thing that comes to channelling that. Going to festivals is my identity because it’s a form of escapism from reality,” Ysabelle told The Independent. “You’re there for a certain amount of time and you can be yourself, or be whoever you want to be, and meet people who are just like you.”

It was Ysabelle’s candid Coachella content, which showed her and her friends camping on the festival grounds for three days in the desert sun, that prompted viewers to declare Coachella has made a comeback. Together with her equally-as-entertaining friends and their branded “Ourchella” graphic tees, Ysabelle filmed get ready with me videos from inside a tent and documented the aftermath of losing your phone inside a mosh pit.

While fans exclaimed, “I feel like I’m at Coachella with you,” Ysabelle says that’s the entire purpose of #Ourchella.

When did your love for Coachella begin?

My first Coachella was in 2022. I stayed in a house and it was a very last minute thing. I bought my ticket super cheap; it was a full send. There was no planning the outfits, there was literally no time to plan anything. I think from the moment I started going to Coachella, it was always like, ‘It doesn’t matter the outfit.’ As long as you got the ticket and the vibes, you’re ready to go.

The first weekend I went, I stayed in a house with my ex-boyfriend. It was very interesting because my first experience is tied to somebody, but when you look at it without all that and just look at yourself, I think I fell in love with everything about it - being in the grass, being in the music, the spontaneous aspect of it.

For Coachella last year, financially I was not doing well. I honestly couldn’t afford it, but I was like, ‘I want to go.’ So I figured out a way to scrounge up the cash and bought my ticket. My best friend at the time, she was like, ‘Have you ever been camping?’ And I was like, no. She was like, ‘We’re going to go camping.’ She kind of taught me about all the supplies and everything but I was just like, ‘I don’t know what I’m getting into but I’m so down.’

I started vlogging and what really took off was the fact that we bought a camping pass and it was $800 - and that’s insane - but that video got over eight million views. From the momentum of all that, I needed to show my followers exactly what this is going to be like. And they were like, ‘This is our Coachella. This is Ourchella.’

For those who don’t know, how would you describe what Ourchella is?

It’s an experience for everybody. It doesn’t matter where you are or who you are, you’re getting to experience it with me. I’m trying to show them the authenticity of Coachella.

It’s no secret that Coachella has received criticism from music lovers the more it’s become associated with influencers and brands. Is Ourchella almost like a response to the exclusivity of influencer culture?

I wouldn’t say it’s a response to the brands. From my experience last year camping, compared to the year prior when I stayed in a house, it was so different and it was so much better. I was like, this is what Coachella is about. This is what I want people to know it for, instead of it just being an influencer olympics or a photo-op. You’re just going to Coachella to go to Coachella. I want them to see that it truly is such a beautiful musical festival where you meet so many people and you do things that you never thought you would do.

It seems you kind of need to go with the flow when you attend these sorts of things, almost like Ourchella is inspiring that go with the flow attitude.

Yes, just be down for whatever is thrown at you. You’re going for the music, you’re going for the vibes, you’re going for the memories that you’re going to create. When you put so much of an expectation on it, it takes away from the fun.

Of course, Coachella tickets are known to be too expensive for some, while others can’t even afford to fly to California in the first place. Why do you think it’s so important to include your followers in the music festival experience?

I think it’s important to include everybody because they might not get the chance to experience it. I feel so blessed and honoured that I get to go because of them; I wouldn’t be able to do these things if it wasn’t for them. They deserve to see every aspect of what it’s like and how grateful I am to be there.

In addition to Ourchella, I think people just gravitate to your content because of how authentic it feels - almost like we’re there with you. What’s your approach when it comes to filming Coachella content?

I like to do live updates of exactly what I’m doing and where I’m at - whether it’s in the car camping line or at the tent or at the festival - because then everybody’s in the moment. There is a YouTube live stream of Coachella, so they could be watching the live stream, or they could be seeing exactly what me and my friends are doing, almost like virtual reality - the laughs, the jokes, the acts that we’re seeing. It’s important that they’re seeing those live updates because it’s as if they are there with me.

What are your essential tips to surviving a weekend at Coachella?

Comfortable shoes. Comfort is the most important thing. I would definitely cover your mouth from the dust because it is so dusty. You’ll get sick and still be in recovery like me. Be okay with being low maintenance. Don’t worry about your makeup, don’t worry about your outfit, don’t worry about your hair - it is so hot. Going with the flow, I would say, is another important thing to remember at Coachella. There are so many things you could be faced with, whether you’re camping or staying at a hotel. You could lose your phone or drop your ID. You have to be okay with even missing a set that you wanted to see and just accept that it wasn’t in the cards. You’re in the desert; anything could happen.

That reminds me of when your friend had her phone stolen the first weekend of Coachella this year. All the comments were like, ‘Oh my god, if that was me I would be on the floor dying. I would be curled up in a ball.’ And you guys did the exact opposite. Is that what you have to do at that moment?

Yeah, you have to just accept it’s gone. There’s nothing that you can do. You’re paying so much money for a ticket in the heat all day, so you can either choose to be sad over something that is out of your control or you can get some ice cream. We all had our phones so if anything happened we were there, but it did stink.

Maybe another thing to put under the survival guide is making sure that you’re with a good support system.

Making sure you’re with people who genuinely care and are going to be there through every step, instead of making you feel bad or upset over something like that. A good support system is very important at something like this.

So many people online declared that this year was Coachella’s comeback, or that for the first time ever they felt FOMO over Coachella – largely because of your content. How does that make you feel?

It honestly is crazy because this is how me and my friends act at every music festival. The fact that we were showing that and people were like, “This is making me want to go.” Like yes, that’s how it should be.

I met this person named Miller, and they told me, “We saw your videos and I asked my dad if he would be down for a road trip and we’re here this weekend because of your videos.” Sometimes I feel imposter syndrome when I read those comments because I’m just a girl, you know? To feel all the support that people are loving Ourchella, it’s kind of surreal and I’m still in disbelief.

It means that Ourchella is doing what you originally set out for it to do.

…Which is crazy. You come up with a goal, or a movement, or you create this community without even realising the impact that it will have and then you blink.

I’m sure everyone is dying to know what your plans are for next year’s Coachella, or is it too soon?

I definitely think it’s too soon. I don’t know who’s going to be playing next year. I don’t know which girls are still down to camp. I can tell you this year we met such wonderful people and I think next year when we camp, we’re going to have a big campground of all the people we met and all of our friends. It will be a step up. It’s gonna be a camping utopia.

I feel like Ourchella is my child. All that I strive for in life is to be the best version of myself, to create something that I love, and to show something that I love so much – which is music and dancing – in the most authentic way. I’m just so grateful that Ourchella is me in vlogging form.

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