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Roving Teen Reporter:
Not Disneyland!
Leah Gans | La Jolla Country Day Junior


It was all glitter and rainbows in the valley of Indio at the 16th annual Coachella music and arts festival last month. Many know this festival as the one that’s “impossible to get tickets to” as it nearly sells out fifteen minutes after tickets go on sale. But, if you are one of those lucky few who manage to snag a ticket, you are in for an amazing three-day festival experience. Despite the high temperatures during the day and the cold weather at night, the expensive tickets, and the trip (basically to the middle of nowhere), all year people are counting down the days until they can return for the “best weekend of their life.” So what, exactly, is it that makes this festival so great and worth the hassle of getting to? For every person it’s something different.

“For me it’s the music, the lineup is always amazing. I have never felt so happy as I did when I saw Alt J perform live. It was definitely one of the best memories I have so far,” answered TPHS Junior Mara. On the other hand, CCA student Annie shared, “I’m not that into music, I listen to the top 40 and the radio, but I didn’t recognize that many names on the lineup this year and I wanted to go anyway. I’m so glad I did. Getting dressed up in my flower child garb, seeing everyone’s crazy outfits, and most of all, seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces -- it’s an image that a photo can’t really capture.”

This was my first year attending Coachella. I have been dreaming about it since I was a 7th grader with braces when I first discovered what it was. This year, my parents finally gave in and I made it out to Indio for Weekend One. My time there was incomparable to anything I’ve ever experienced. There is something about being surrounded by people jumping up and down in bright colors and wearing flower crowns that is very serene. The green grass, the good music, and experiencing it with friends, is a teenage utopia. Everyone there is filled with gratitude. It is difficult to get there and, because of that, everyone is making the most of it. My favorite memory was in the “Sahara Tent,” where friends and I were watching David Guetta perform. We got there a little late, but somehow we managed to push our way to the front so that we were touching the railing that separated us from the stage. After David Guetta finished, there was a surprise appearance by the Black Eyed Peas. Fergie, someone who I have worshipped my entire life, stepped off the stage and stood, singing right in front of us. Then she reached her hand out and grabbed mine. My whole body literally shook with excitement. After their performance was over I started bawling, I was so happy and overwhelmed. I called my mom and told her all about it, but she could barely hear me between my crying and the loud background music. When I got on the shuttle to leave the festival that night, I announced to the whole bus: “So my phone broke, and I lost my favorite bracelet today, BUT GUESS WHAT? I HELD FERGIE’S HAND!” The whole shuttle clapped and hands reached out for high fives as I walked back to an open seat. The excitement, love, and support I felt was overwhelming. It was as if I had just placed first in an Olympic event. This particular story is one of many that I have from the weekend, and most attendees likely have similar ones to share. I say forget Disneyland. Coachella is the happiest place on earth.


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