By Breanna Bordelon
Every April thousands of concertgoers flock to Indio, California to rub shoulders with A-listers and create lifelong memories in a desert full of wonders.
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival marks the pinnacle of achievement for established and up-and-coming musical talent from around the globe.
The event, held on two consecutive weekends in April, features hundreds of artists ranging in genre from rock, indie, pop, hip-hop and electronic dance music.
Attendees from every continent make the journey to California to experience the live music and first-rate revelry like they never have before.
For Texas Tech freshman Taylor McLean, attending the festival is something she has always dreamed of doing but never thought of as a real possibility. McLean, a public relations major from Amarillo, Texas, said she always believed it to be a commodity that only the rich and famous could afford.
“It’s so weird because all these years I would always see these famous people going and I never thought I could do something like that,” McLean explained, “but now I’m going and it’s so insane that I get to experience that too.”
McLean said when she bought her ticket in January, it was so surreal it felt more like a dream but, now that the weekend is here, the reality of going on this life-changing trip is starting to sink in.
“Every time I listen to a playlist of someone who’s going to be there,” McLean said, “I literally get an adrenaline rush.”
McKendree Bentzel, a sophomore political science major from Aledo, Texas, said he has been preparing for the trip for months.
“Getting the ticket, the shuttle pass, coordinating transportation there, getting the hotel; It’s a lot of planning,” Bentzel said. “And, obviously, getting your outfits together is a huge deal.”
McLean said that putting together her wardrobe for the event was the most time-consuming part of planning.
“The outfits, of course, are the most important part,” McLean argued. “You have to look cool. You have to stand out.”
McLean said that in order to go to Coachella she has had to budget her money wisely.
“I have spent so much money to make this happen,” McLean explained. “With the plane ticket, the hotel, the outfits, plus whatever I spend there, I be at about $1,500 total.”
Time Magazine estimated that the average Coachella festival goer will spend about $1,600. Even the thriftiest attendee is estimated to spend over $600, if they are willing to opt for the on-site camping option and forego the luxuries of a hotel room.
Ellie Tillotson, a junior health communication major from Kenmore, Washington, said she thinks that Coachella is worth every penny.
“It about the experience. That’s what draws people in,” Tillotson said. “It’s expensive, but, at the same time, you’re seeing like 40 different artists and you’ll never see all those people in the same place anywhere else.”
Tillotson said since she goes to school in California, she feels like she has a little more insight on how to prepare and what to expect.
“Like 30 of my sorority sisters are going so I have a better idea of what to wear and how to stay safe,” Tillotson explained, “but I’m still just as anxious as anyone else.”
Bentzel said he decided to go more on whim but he could not be happier about his decision.
“I’ve never been to a big music festival and I figured, I’m young,” Bentzel said, “and this is probably the only time I’m going to want to make that 16-hour drive to California.”
Bentzel said he urges anyone thinking about going to just do it.
“I am not even there yet and I know this is 100 percent worth it,” Bentzel said. “I know it’s expensive and it’s a lot of work getting ready for it but the experiences you’ll have are priceless.”