Starting in 1999, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival has been a juggernaut in the music festival realm.

Known for its celebrity attendees and superstar headliners all the same, the festival has become somewhat of an annual social media phenomenon in April each year.

People sitting at home scrolling on social media are bombarded with the unrelenting outfit pictures from influencers enjoying the festival and the inescapable marketing of the brands that have taken them.

Brand compounds have become commonplace at Coachella with established labels taking groups of influencers to the festival - giving them a place to stay, transport to and from the festival site, as well as an abundance of branded freebies.

All in exchange for some brand exposure.

Whilst the celebrity curated version of Coachella is fun to see online, it is so far from the reality experienced by many other people paying for the festival from their own pockets. 

A general admission ticket to the festival costs an eye watering $499 (about £400) and that is solely for entry into the festival.

For a shuttle to and from the festival, it’ll be $619 (£496.56) and this cost doesn’t even include somewhere to stay.

The cost is no issue for influencers being whisked away by big companies but something a person may have to save months for in order to afford. And the huge cost also doesn’t include onsite food and drink which could cost you anything from a reported $15 for one iced coffee to a disagreeable $64 for two burritos and a water. 

Concerns have also been raised about the impacts the festival has had on fast fashion. Whilst the festival has made a concerted effort to be more sustainable, festival goers feeling the pressure to dress to impress have turned to cheap and unsustainable one-time-wear clothing in order to look the part. 

The festival also tells us a lot about online culture and the ways in which we interact with influencers.

Vicariously living through these stars attending the festival makes the event seem largely unattainable especially for people living outside America.

The festival runs for two weekends. The first weekend has been described as a “celebrity pilgrimage” where the majority of the social media content comes from whereas the second weekend is for more casual attendance.

It can be fun to see an influencer's experience at Coachella although it does exemplify the gap between celebrities and the general public 

  • This article was written by Mia Bavington, from Peter Symonds College, as part of Newsquest's Young Reporter Scheme.