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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Don’t be fooled, Coachella is no paradise

Thousands of people just spent thousands of dollars to sweat in the California desert. Yes, I’m serious.

But, that’s only the tip of the iceberg (or, the sand dune) when it comes to the monstrosity that is Coachella. Not only is this music festival really only used as a chance for privileged millennials and Gen X teenagers to take a few cute Instagram photos, but the festival itself is highly problematic.

Coachella’s Billionaire Owner’s Anti-LGBTQ Donations:

Social media hasn’t been quiet these past few weeks about how your Coachella ticket is allegedly contributing to anti-LGBTQ organizations. Philip Anschutz, the founder of Anschutz Entertainment Group, is the conservative billionaire that owns Coachella and is the reason the mainstream festival has become so controversial.

Proved by multiple tax filings, he donated thousands to companies with strong anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and policies until at least 2015. Although his past problematic outlooks and donations have been discussed by media outlets, these donations were really brought to light when The Washington Post linked an infographic from a nonprofit called Freedom for All Americans exposing the money trail from Anschutz to anti-LGBTQ groups.

Anschutz’s main donation contributes to a group called Alliance Defending Freedom. According to the infographic by Freedom for All Americans, this anti-LGBTQ group “trains attorneys, files lawsuits and advocates for anti-LGBT policies” and “equates being LGBT with committing incest and bestiality and has repeatedly advocated for the criminalization of homosexuality.”

The donations to these groups have since screeched to a halt from Anschutz’s foundation, as both he and Coachella were put under mass scrutiny over these allegations. In a statement regarding the controversy, Anschutz claimed that media calling him out for being anti-LGBTQ was “fake news” and that he immediately ceased donations to these groups.

While such donations are not being distributed by any Coachella-related foundations, there is no telling that Anschutz didn’t know exactly who and what he was donating to. Again, he wasn’t just donating to one anti-LGBTQ organization, but three of them, and for multiple years. Your Coachella money could very well still be going toward a man and company with homophobic beliefs.

Sexual Harassment and Assault:

Coachella is a feeding ground for sexual predators. According to a popular Teen Vogue article from 2018, the writer traveled to the festival to interview attendees about sexual harassment. As a foreshadow to her results, the writer revealed that she was groped 22 times herself throughout the three-day festival.

Out of the 54 women she interviewed, every single one experienced an instance of sexual assault and harassment. While this is common for festivals and concerts, Coachella, at the time, was not providing anti-sexual assault literature or policies for anybody who attends. For a music festival that is the highest-grossing in the world, this is astonishing.

This year, Coachella has enacted policies regarding sexual assault that make it no longer tolerated. I’m curious to know if this change has affected the amount of assault and harassment, or if any protocol is actually being enforced.

But, the fact that it’s 2019 and this is just now being published to their website assures me that Coachella is still garbage. Posting an updated “Code of Conduct” to a website isn’t standing in solidarity with survivors.

Ticket Prices:

In conclusion, ticket prices for Coachella read as the following:

General Admission: $429

VIP: $999

That’s not to mention housing, which Coachella offers suite packages up to $10,000, or travel costs, overpriced food and outfits. Do what you want with your money, but is the Instagram glam worth all this money and time?

Rayanne Painter can be reached at [email protected] or @rayphenomenon on Twitter.

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  • Z

    Zane Thomas // Apr 29, 2019 at 10:38 am

    Which Coachella did you go to? I mean, you couldn’t possibly publish an article like this without actually attending the fest that you’re so flailingly disparaging? Right?