The days of going to music festivals solely for the music have come to a grinding halt. Festivals—Coachella in particular—are now the breeding grounds for teens and young twenty-somethings to become Insta-famous. For the second year in a row, Goldenvoice and Instagram have partnered up to bring us #CoachellaEmpty, in which a group of the world’s top-followed, ultra-cool teen influencers take photos and videos for Instagram while they frolic, twirl and strut around the Polo Fields before everyone else is granted entrance into the festival.
Coachella has evolved (or devolved, rather) into a place where young, barely-legal teens in their fringed-out festival wear promote and debut the festival to the world over social media. In fact, many people were able to see what the festival grounds looked like prior to getting through the gates, eliminating the aesthetic mystery. We’re living in a world where teens with perfectly tailored Instagram profiles are marketing tools for massive, world-renowned music festivals. Not bands or musicians, but teens like Los Angeles Insta-stars Maddi Bragg and Tanner Zagarino, who’ve become famous for creating YouTube channels featuring videos about what it’s like to let your boyfriend apply your make up and hair-styling tips for guys who are growing their hair out.
Each of the 12 Goldenvoice influencers have between 500K to 3 million followers on Instagram, along with obsessive fans who comment on pictures saying, “I LOVE YOU! I WANT TO BE YOU!” because of the lifestyle they portray via social media—an image that Goldenvoice has molded into the Coachella ethos.
And yet, the ever-trendy teens are what long-time festivalgoers complain about most when it comes to Coachella: It’s become the place to be—not for the performances, but because it’s the place to be seen. The hope of becoming an overnight Insta-star as a result of taking the perfect stylized photo at Coachella has become a motivation for millennials to make the trek out to the Polo fields.
Instagram has given people the platform to use music festivals as means of becoming famous for taking good selfies and looking trendy. But at the end of the day, the influencers promoted by Goldenvoice are proof of how the festival has changed (devolved) since its inaugural year in ’99: Coachella’s become a mainstream millennial haven. Having back-to-back years of #CoachellaEmpty is a sure sign that things aren’t changing.
This is the future, guys.