Coachella 2018 ticket to set you back $1030: Is it worth attending the hyped party?
When it comes to music festivals of such a large-scale, spanning over a long time, it won't be surprising to come across cases of substance abuse.
A scorching sun, hundreds of dollars, and severe exhaustion. This is just the tip of the iceberg, meaning the perils associated with attending Coachella 2018, the biggest Music and Arts Festival that rolls out this Friday the 13th.
Since it's conception in 1999, as an alternative, musically-driven solution to mainstream events, the annual gala has attracted an impressive number of festival-goers, whether it's the luxurious sorts who are very well capable of splurging and indulging in the swankiest offers or the ones camping onsite.
And with the increased international participation in the following years, the fest-organizers did exactly what they should have - turn Coachella, which was previously a two to three days-long event, into a grand affair spanning over at least two weekends, from Friday through Sunday.
This year's party schedule, in fact, is split into two halves, April 13 - 15, and then again continuing from April 21 - 23.
What's even more fascinating about Coachella is that, over the years, it has become synonymous with this much-anticipated fete, where both the line-up of artists and the after-party serve as an equal motivation for attendance. Add to this the boozy, sunbaked sets, the experience of witnessing world-class performances up close, and a high chance of bumping into your favorite celebs - of yes, Coachella is the place for A-lister spotting - and sunny Southern California instantly turns into a must-visit place for enthusiasts.
This year, however, the hottest desert extravaganza heads to the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, where a slew of singers and artists are lined-up to take the stage, and this includes our very own Queen Bey.
You heard me right, with Beyonce back in the Beyhive, it's time to get into 'Formation'! Joining the 36-year-old music sensation are some of the topguns including The Weeknd and Eminem. And these are just the big names, headlining the festival. Asides from them, the 2018 gala is looking forward to performances by hip-hop sensation Cardi B; Tyler, the Creator; Miguel; Haim; David Byrne; SZA; Fleet Foxes; and Jamiroquai, amongst many others.
As glitzy and YOLO-esque all of this looks like, the business of Coachella - which is the ticket prices, the cost of attending the parties, and so on - reveals a contrasting picture, especially if you are planning on attending the festival last minute.
How much do the Coachella tickets cost?
Despite not a single rock act headlining the event this year, there is absolutely nothing curbing the ticket sales, as always. In fact, even before the line-up for the year was announced, Coachella 2018, including weekend 1 & 2, was completely sold out - with prices ranging from $429 for general admission to a $1000 tag on the VIP passes that include access to special VIP lounges and seating areas, such as the Rose Garden.
At the eleventh hour, though, the only hope for scoring a pass to the festival is through StubHub, and do not be surprised to see the secondary ticket market giant bump up the prices. At present, a ride of Coachella, this weekend, will set you back at least a $1030 and this is minus the multitude of expenses including VIP Parking (over $300), Shuttle Passes (around $55), Camping Passes ($130).
Activate your wristband in the mobile app before you arrive in the desert, so you don’t miss a second of the festival 👌 pic.twitter.com/eF3cjRAjQk— Coachella (@coachella) April 11, 2018
However, a cheaper alternative to the fest-experience would be to wait until the next weekend with Friday, April 20 opening at a nominal range of $412. All in all, a quality time on the sprawling lawns of the Empire Polo Field during this time of the year is, what some fans might call, an inexpensive experience.
What are the additional expenses?
On the most primary level, those traveling to Indio from other states or outside the country would be shelling out a hefty amount on flight tickets (to LAX). In addition to this, visitors would want to beat the heat, which means they will have to look out for hotel accommodation that will at least see a price soar by 116% (for 2-star), as per reports.
In order to make the stay and traveling back and forth from the festival to the respective hotels comfortable, there are shuttle services - which makes for an additional charge
According to the data released by StubHub, it is usually seen that there's a stark decline in prices after Weekend 1-- which is when all the headliners perform -- kickstart the event.
“Weekend 2 passes are also generally less expensive and have fewer crowds, so this is a great time to see the same lineup of artists at a reduced cost,” StubHub spokeswoman Jessica Erskine, was quoted as saying.
And yet, as it turns out, there's no decrease in the demand, which for the first weekend is projected to be up by 24%.
Now, a Coachella crusade would definitely remain incomplete without paying a visit to the several food stalls and bar. The Heineken Experience is a legit thing at the desert-bound festival and so is the Outstanding in the Field Dinner - a complete four-course meal prepared by celebrated chefs in the beautiful VIP Rose Garden that amounts to another $225.
Altogether, the drinking and dining at luxurious Coachella outlets does add up to a lot but there's a way to go around this as well - stocked up cars with enough snacks, groceries, and water bottles that will last you through the weekend. Although, it's quite improbable to visit the valley and not indulge, at least gastronomically.
Other risks you would want to avoid
Coachella takes place in California and yes the state has legalized recreational use of marijuana, but that doesn't mean festival goers are allowed to indulge while at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. This is because the state prohibits using marijuana in any public or private place - that is not an individual's property.
"We just wanna provide a safe environment where people can enjoy the show and we're there to protect their well-being,” Dan Marshall, Indio police Sgt. clearly explains, adding that "selling of narcotics is illegal. If you're caught selling narcotics in Coachella, you will be arrested."
But this is just as far as weed is concerned. When it comes to music festivals of such a large-scale, spanning over a long time, it won't be surprising to come across cases of substance abuse. Even more worrisome is when the substances are mixed or there's introduction of other kinds - "1/4 party goers have reported use of Molly or Ecstasy", as per reports.
According to Joseph J. Palamar, Associate Professor of Population Health and Drug Researcher at New York University, about half of Molly users have tested positive for a new drug, called bath salts - the street term for synthetic cathinones.
In reality, observers believe that going to festivals symbolizes a sort of escapism, which is further fueled by the music and the drugs.
"What I am finding is that the people who frequent these nightclub parties are more experienced with the drugs like Ecstasy, but a lot of these people who attend festivals have never used these drugs before," says Palamar, "and they don't know what they are doing."
There's also this theory that music festivals like Coachella often sees fans emulate their favorite celebrities, who in one way or the other might be open and even encouraging about drug usage in their personal lives.
"It's not really good to mix anything," Palamar adds, dispelling all the myths about substance abuse, especially when it comes to cocktailing, a common phenomenon at fests.
Besides the fact that substance abuse is not the brightest idea, it's is also suggested that you choose the right company, know what drugs your friends are on (if they are), and steer clear of giving in to peer pressure.
The safest thing you can do as a festival goer is to stay honest!