Coachella 2017: What Is It Really Like?
What happens when a seasoned Glastonbury native finds themselves adrift in the blistering California desert, surrounded by the sun-kissed and the glossy-haired, for one of the world’s most illustrious and most exclusive festivals? Vogue's Olivia Petter tells all.
lower crowns? Check. Incessant selfie-taking? Everywhere. Vegan doughnuts and cold-pressed cocktails? Of course. It’s easy to see why celebrities love Coachella. From the second you arrive, you know you’re not in Kansas (aka Pilton) anymore. Not a cider stand in site, nor a speck of mud, it’s a far cry from the less-than-civilised atmosphere you’d expect from a drizzly British festival. From the elusive VVIP area to the alternative culinary offerings and teacher-like drinking regulations - pass the glitter and go behind the scenes of the enchanting enigma that is Coachella.
Whilst Glastonbury perpetuates a kind of loose lawlessness (I’ve been six times and couldn't tell you one non-legal rule), Coachella can feel a bit like a school trip at times. Firstly, you can only sip your drink in the enclosed area you bought it from; there are a number of beer gardens and vodka tents where you are obliged to finish your drink before moving on. But before you think you’ve solved the riddle by opting for time-friendly shots over G&Ts, think twice: bar staff aren’t permitted to serve shots of spirits onsite. They will, however, serve you a “shot” of tequila with a splash of water in it. Yummy.
Most festivals will not dictate who is and isn't permitted to be at the front for a performance. Usually, a bit of pushing paired with a doe-eyed explanation that you’re “just looking for a friend” will do the trick. At Coachella, however, while one half of the front section is open to fans, the other half is barricaded off and reserved for VVIPS only (they want you to know just how important they are, hence the extra V). This is where fellow performers and their glittering entourages will hang out. The boundaries on this law are a little blurry though. After two days of flower-crowned, glittery-faced lemmings, the security guards are no longer able to distinguish between the VVs and the mortals. Put on your best smile, tell a joke in your British accent and you’ll be breezing through to mingle with the glitterati in no time.