Crowds swarm Coachella festival in 2014. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The stomping and swift strides of feet making themselves known in the desert, the pulsating vibrations from the speakers reaching the bounds of the festival grounds, and the dust whipping in the air from the terrain being overstepped. 

Not this time.

Now the wind curls, the grass grows, and there is not a footprint in sight on the festival grounds of Coachella in Indio California

As cancellations and store closings continue to occur due to coronavirus March shelter in place orders, owners of Coachella, one of the largest music festivals in the world, followed suit by postponing their two April weekend events. 

The hope is a return in the fall of 2020.

The Coachella postponement disappointed more than 100,000 fans who planned to dance in the desert listening to major bands.

Coachella — officially the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival —  started in 1999 and has increased its attendance cap each year. But many festival-goers have been left out of luck for receiving their deposits and refunds for flights for the predicted April weekends. Coachella tickets cost approximately $429 plus fees, with a festival pass and shuttle combo reaching $504 plus fees, and lastly a VIP Festival Pass going for $999 plus fees. 

By postponing the festival to October 2020, many eager attendees who come from out of state may not have the ability to attend given the ambiguity of the situation at hand. 

Many factors go into the attendance of a festival outside the purchase of a ticket, such as: A  place to stay, outfits to wear, transportation, and food and beverage depending on the group or individual. 

Kat Nicole, a senior Integrated Educational Studies (IES) major at Chapman University and an attendee of Coachella for consecutive years, knows exactly how devastating the postponement could have been on her deposits. 

“Before the JW Marriott refunded me due to their hotel closing because of COVID-19, I would have lost about $3,000. So when the hotel originally told me I wasn’t going to be refunded, I was devastated,” Nicole said. 

Despite the confusion after the stay-home announcement in March, ticket holders were able to receive a refund until May 1, 2020. 

The postponement of the festival to the fall holds many uncertain implications for students at Chapman. Many graduating seniors may not be living in the state prior to graduation in May of 2020, and therefore may not be able to attend the festival. Approximately 35.4 percent of students come from outside of California, which puts them at a disadvantage for being able to attend Coachella without extensive transportation costs. 

Charlotte Francis, a senior at Chapman and Massachusetts native, was planning on attending the festival in April 2020.

 “It definitely is unfortunate to have it moved to the fall because most seniors will be in different places around the country or at full-time jobs that won’t allow for a long weekend in the desert,” Francis said. 

For many, there are still memories. Said Brandon Pike, a junior business administration major: “Coachella was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Everyone is there for one reason: music. It doesn’t matter what you look like, what race you are, gender identity, where you are from. It is a place for everyone to unite under a musical umbrella.”


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