View Full Version : Utopiachella

03-20-2010, 10:48 PM
so i graduate college in two days. i'm going thru all my old essays to see if i can find some paragraphs to throw in to my last essay ever cause well, i'm just fucking over it and i want to go to groove armada tomorrow night and not stress about my paper that is due on monday. i came across this short essay i wrote last may for a "sociology of art and literature" class about "art worlds" and since i hate the elitist pretentious pricks saying a bunch of dribbled paint on a piece of dog shit is fantastic art and something else isn't i decided to write about coachella instead of something like that. thought i'd share it, it's only three pages long double-spaced in word. got me all excited and i hope it helps you to get excited too. or in monklish's case, hope it helps inflame your hemorrhoids. 26 days, people.

Sociology 118L
26 May 2009

Nothing has the unifying capability of bringing people together like some good old-fashioned live music. Different genres of music bind together different demographics, races, ethnicities and genders, but no genre deliberately excludes a person based on any of those characteristics. Another way in which music can bring together diverse peoples is through the cultural event of the music festival. There are music festivals and then there is the mother ship of all music festivals: The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival held in the blazing desert of Indio, California. This year the extravaganza spanned over thirty-six hours on April Seventeenth, Eighteenth, and Nineteenth. For three-days, carried on the shoulders of an eclectic variety of music, a utopian community springs up on a lush green field with more than a half-dozen stages of music ranging from Paul McCartney to experimental electronic music and back again.
Coachella has something to offer everyone, save the poor souls who for some reason or another do not enjoy any music at all (God forbid that happens to anybody.) Last year I was simultaneously standing within five feet of four teenagers on LSD and a middle-aged couple with two infants asleep in a stroller. That was my first day at Coachella ever and the second I walked in I knew I was hooked. This year I returned the iPhone I got for Christmas to be able to afford a ticket. People scrounge up money all year to be able to afford the nearly three hundred-dollar event, because everyone knows it is worth it. Of course the promoters also cater to the elite, offering $5,000 fully furnished camping accommodations for the weekend. They even offer a payment plan option for tickets for those who can’t bear to part with three-hundred hard-earned bucks during hard economic times all at once. The utopian city of Coachella does not exclude visitors from far away lands either, as thousands flock from all over the globe to attend the festival. I met people from London, Argentina, Australia, and South Africa. Perhaps the best moment of the festival was during Paul McCartney’s magical and epic set that lasted till one in the morning. I was standing alone, as all of my friends had (inexplicably) left to go see a different performance, and I realize standing next to me was an eighty year old woman and her fifty something daughter singing “Hey Jude” along with me and tens of thousands of others. Writing this now gives me chills, but I just remember feeling so interconnected with five decades of people who this man has had a profound impact on. The Beatles, and subsequently Paul McCartney, are perhaps the biggest musicians of all-time. Half, maybe even all, of the music at the festival would not exist without the efforts of The Beatles. It was the music that brought together me and those two women and everyone else in the crowd in that beautiful moment that I will never forget.
The atmosphere surrounding Coachella permeates the freeways that connect the World to the utopian hub. If someone is heading to the grounds then they most likely have something written on a car windshield conveying that. Driving down the freeway all the way from Los Angeles there is incessant honking and hanging out of windows and cheering. Once past security and inside the festival most everyone has the biggest smile on their face they can conjure. I personally start running with my hands in the air towards the same palm tree everyday and give it a nice big hug and kiss. All recognize the phrase “Happy Coachella”. The lush green polo fields surrounded by statuesque palm trees and beautiful desert mountain horizon creates a sense of calm that nothing can go wrong in the utopian village. The atmosphere generated by the people’s attitudes and the music is actually so free spirited that no one seemed to mind too much when one man decided to strip completely naked and walk around. When the police finally subdued the man with a taser a crowd had gathered yelling at the police to let the man be, as he was not bothering anyone.
For years Coachella has served as the tastemaker for so many genres of music, determining what up-and-coming bands will reach the spotlight and which will flounder. Numerous big name artists, such as The Killers and Justice, were at one point bottom tier acts, but are now headlining caliber. In a way Coachella is an art world in itself as it determines what is quality music and what is not. The work of promoters to create a diverse line-up is operated by the approach “that cultural objects are filtered through - and are affected by - the people and systems that create and distribute them” (Alexander, 68). You would never expect to see T-Pain, The Jonas Brothers or Soulja Boy performing on the main stage despite their massive commercial success. Headlining artists must have a special balance of mainstream appeal and underground acceptability. It is in this way that the Coachella fans and promoters work within the cultural diamond “to select particular works from among the mass of stuff … as worth our attention after all” (Becker, 271). Once an artist becomes too poppy or mainstream they are commonly excommunicated from the realm of the art world Coachella creates and picked up by festivals that appeal more so to a commercial crowd. A stellar performance by an unknown band could catapult their careers.
In the end, you return to your normal life of individual alienation, but life is enriched for having lived through the experience of being interconnected with thousands of others so diverse, yet so the same, and for being a part of something bigger than yourself. Coachella is a cultural product that teaches its inhabitants to love, and tolerate others, and enjoy life and the finer things it has to offer.

03-20-2010, 11:02 PM

03-21-2010, 07:43 PM
Nice! Thanks for sharing

03-21-2010, 08:40 PM
I hope you got a decent grade on that, it's a good essay :)

03-22-2010, 01:29 AM
well done mmblack. I got to say other than some small grammar issues that was a great essay.

03-22-2010, 02:08 AM
cliches make me sad :(

03-22-2010, 09:03 AM
This guy's heart is in the right place and he means well so I feel kind of guilty for pissing in his corn flakes.


The atmosphere surrounding Coachella permeates the freeways that connect the World to the utopian hub.

is not scholarship.

03-23-2010, 10:35 AM
"Sociology of Art and Literature" class sounds a lot like Partynomics 101. Pass the lampshade and sign me up.

03-23-2010, 11:42 PM
haha to tom it's a huge joke of a class taught by a really hot twenty-something first year professor. it was more of a journal type thing about our personal experiences with "art worlds" and it was in may so i went with coachella. if you're looking for something a little more scholastic i could post the essay i just did about neo-slavery, legislation passed during the crack "epidemic" and the prison-industrial complex if you'd like?

03-23-2010, 11:50 PM
freshman classes as a junior.... classy


03-23-2010, 11:55 PM
going to USC ... not classy.

03-24-2010, 11:37 PM
going to USC ... not classy.


03-25-2010, 12:09 AM
...and the prison-industrial complex if you'd like?

let's see what you've got.