Admiring fun from afar

 By Allison Hamburger

I will probably never go to Coachella.

As I settled for watching some of my favorite artists perform at the festival via YouTube’s live broadcast two weekends ago, this sad realization sunk in. My college kid-sized budget and schedule will probably not allow me to attend any time soon, and there’s no guessing whether I will be able to go as an adult.

I spent much of that weekend envying my friends and classmates who traveled to Indio, Calif. I glowered at the empty seats in my classes on Friday and bombarded my attending friends with texts. I was jealous, or more accurately, “coachell-ous.”

It seems like people are always talking about Coachella. My Facebook newsfeed explodes with elation when the line-up is published each year and frustration when tickets sell out. Questions about the school’s attendance policy are murmured, but those with tickets would be willing to accept any repercussions if they existed. A lie, a detention, anything is worth the three days of music, sun and freedom.

Or so I imagine. Coachella feels like a myth more than anything else. It has transformed in my mind from a simple music festival to a mystical experience, a unique subculture of musical wonder and unparalleled delight. Even its name feels a little magical. And the YouTube stream could never convey all that.

As it dawned on me that I may never make it to Indio, my envy raged momentarily. Like most fables, the legend of Coachella must be rooted in some truth. But more likely than not, my perception is exaggerated. Coachella is really only a music festival, just one with an excellent line-up and a strong following from private Los Angeles high schools.

So maybe I’ll never be able to tell my children about an epic Coachella weekend way back in the 2010s. I had a perfectly average weekend instead. But I’ll live.

I probably would have had a positive experience, but my burning “coachell-ousy” will fade, and I’ll never really know what I missed.

Of course, should the opportunity arise to attend some future year, I wouldn’t dare pass it up.