Coachella: music over ethics
The Weeknd. Beyoncé. Eminem. When these three household names were announced as this year’s headliners for the 2018 Coachella, which is taking place from Friday, April 13 to Sunday, April 22, it seemed nearly every 20-something college student was ready to get their wristband. That is, everyone but me.
As an avid music lover and music festival admirer, Coachella seems like the music festival to attend. While I want to take part in all this fun everyone else seems to be having but me, I can’t bring myself to spend the money.
No, it’s not because of the insane price point but because of Coachella’s ethics.
In recent years, Coachella’s co-founder, Philip Anschutz, has been tied to funding several organizations that embody the opposite of what Coachella capitalizes on.
Coachella is marketed as a place where music lovers can unite, have a good time and let loose in an inclusive and environmentally sustainable location.
According to Billboard, Anschutz has funded organizations such as the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the National Christian Foundation (NCF), and the Family Research Council (FRC), who all have anti-LGBTQ+ agendas.
Anschutz has also contributed to other organizations and politicians with anti-environmentalist ideals, including climate denial, and anti-labor union sentiments. This behavior is contradicting to the experience page on Coachella’s website, which includes how the festival seeks to better the sustainability of Coachella Valley.
Anschutz released a statement amid these allegations and claimed to strive for inclusivity within his company. However, he continuously finances organizations that go against his claims.
The Anschutz Foundation ceased funding for ADF, NCF and the FRC in the midst of all the controversy but then proceeded to fund organizations like The Navigators and the Center for Urban Renewal and Education have the same anti-LGBTQ+ agenda as the other organizations.
As a college student, I do a lot of little things to save money where I can, like letting my clothes hang dry, adding water to my dish soap to extend its life, sharing textbooks with friends and buying the off-brand to save a few dimes.
I do these things so I can afford to study and live in an expensive city like San Francisco and so that I can indulge in my favorite things: makeup and concert tickets.
With that being said, whenever I do hand my money over to pay for an extravagance, it has to be worth it. I don’t believe that any lineup is good enough to convince me that my money should be handed over to Anschutz.
In the midst of the Trump administration, it is important now more than ever to look at what people and organizations we choose to support as their values may not be in line with our own.
During his presidential campaign, Trump tried to market himself as a pro-LGBTQ+ Republican by holding up a pride flag at a Republican convention.
Trump’s first year as president was anything but LGBTQ+ friendly. Trump’s administration failed to acknowledge pride month, tried to reinstate the ban on transgender people to join and serve in the military, rescinded a memo that protected transgender workers and a guidance that K-12 schools who receive federal funding should respect trans students rights as they are protected under the civil rights law.
I know that a lot of people will overlook Anschutz’s financial endorsements and ethics because they do not believe that their ticket purchase will make a difference in the grand scheme of things or are simply unaware that this was even occurring.
As college students, money is hard to come by and while I understand the desire to treat oneself to a concert or a music festival, I urge you to think twice about what you choose to spend your money on.
Your money could be being used to fund something that you do not support.
Every ticket purchased for Coachella is by default funding Anschutz’s actions.
As for me, I will be attending the Camila Cabello concert on Coachella’s opening day and anxiously await BottleRock and Outside Lands.