Coachella 2020 Is Officially Canceled

Remember events? Nah, me neither. It’s been about three months since we started taking the coronavirus pandemic seriously in the US, and pretty much every large-scale event in the spring or summer was canceled or postponed long ago. But even as many states have begun to reopen, things like concerts and sporting events with fans present are looking less and less likely for the remainder of the year. Today, Billboard reported that Coachella, originally postponed from April to October, will not be happening in 2020.

That’s right, you can officially hang up your flower crown for this year, pack away your festival clothes, and cancel that Airbnb in Palm Springs (good luck getting your deposit back). This week, AEG, the parent company of Coachella promoter Goldenvoice, made some drastic cuts, and announced in an internal memo that they’ve essentially canceled everything for 2020. Along with laying off 15% of their staff and furloughing over 100 employees, the memo stated that it is “clear” that live events, including Coachella, will not return until 2021.

The bad news doesn’t end there. The memo suggests two options for Coachella 2021: either an April festival in “smaller form,” or a full capacity festival in October. So it’ll either be next spring, and tickets will be impossible to get, or there won’t be a Coachella for 16 more months. Honestly, I’m not really a music festival person, so it makes no difference to me, but for all those people who shape their personality around their Coachella Instagrams, this is rough news.

While lots of people are sure to be disappointed that they won’t get their ferris wheel pics this year, AEG’s decision not to have a festival at all in 2020 is probably a solid public health decision. After all, it’s not hard to imagine that 100,000 people crammed into a field daily for two weekends in a row could be a nightmare in terms of a potential second wave of coronavirus. Just imagine trying to get all the people doing drugs having a great time in the Sahara tent to cough into their elbows. A nightmare!!

While several states have seen spikes in COVID-19 cases in recent days, it’s impossible to predict where things will be a few months from now. So far, there’s no word on whether the 2020 lineup will be carried over to next year, but maybe they can use this time to find room for a headliner who’s not a man? Idk, just a thought.

Images: @andrewruiz / Unsplash

Finding Out I’m Not A Music Festival Person, At A Music Festival

I feel like most people would describe me as go-with-the-flow. Most of the time, my texts in a group chat about plans sound like “whatever works for everyone!” and “sounds good to me!”. This isn’t because I don’t care about whatever dinner or trip we’re brainstorming, rather it’s because I just kind of enjoy being along for the ride. Fun to me is just everyone else having fun! (It should be noted that therapists have also told me that I’m extremely codependent, but that’s for another time.)

This, along with a relocated friend, is how I wound up camping in the fields of Tennessee for an eternity long weekend. This is also how I learned that music festivals, like tank tops and Game of Thrones, just aren’t for me. Both because of interests and my body type.

It all started in a harmless fashion, someone sending a link to tickets in a group chat saying “omggg let’s go!”. Usually, when things like this happens, what follows is just a symphony of “oh for sure!”’s until no one ever addresses it again. Easy. Except this time, there was an added element: I had a friend who recently moved to Tennessee (a state I only sort of knew existed beforehand), and the ticket link was for Bonnaroo—a music festival in *survey says* Tennessee. This upped the ante, so we all decided to pool our funds together and buy wristbands and camping passes for three days.

I obviously agreed to go on this adventure with friends, because I always love spending weekends with friends! The dots I forgot to connect, though, were that how I usually love spending those weekends are sitting in a chair in an air-conditioned space with cell reception and a glass of Pinot Noir. Cut to me sitting in between a Walmart bag of tent supplies and an almost equally-sized bag of Doritos. Baby, let the games begin?  

I don’t know why it didn’t click to me that when you’re camping, it’s actually camping. Despite being told “we’ll be sleeping in a tent,” I feel like my mind just equated a tent to an RV, JoJo style.

jojo

There’s a lot that people don’t tell you about music festivals when they talk about music festivals. I’ve heard about how seeing DJ Panda Bear or whoever on molly was “literally life changing” 800 times, but I’ve never ONCE been told about hammering a tent pole into the ground at 7am with a handle of Svedka because you don’t have a hammer. Once your tent is set up as much as a tent can get set up by the hands of five twenty-somethings from the Tri-State area, you unpack your things and… sit waiting for music to start. Okay, I can get down with chugging PBR and waiting for Chance the Rapper. I think I’m back on the bandwagon… until I see the map of where the music actually is.

Basically, getting from your campgrounds to where the festival actually is can only be described as the journey you would take on the Oregon Trail. Except instead of contracting Cholera, you just run the risk of ruining every girl named Lindsay’s Instagram photo. After trekking, we made it in to the festival grounds and I immediately was confused: was this a festival about music or a festival of people who love lines? Cause that’s almost exclusively what I saw.

The crowds of people didn’t seem to mind waiting 25 minutes for vegan hot dogs in the heat, but I’m someone who is always a little sweaty and has minimal patience when it comes to food. I think my main issue was that I lack the *chill* factor that makes music festivals enjoyable for everyone else. I don’t want to smoke in a circle on the dirt, I want to have a dirty martini. Is that too much to ask, outdoors? Speaking of the outdoors, I think the moment I realized that this life wasn’t the life for me was when I filled a jug of water with a hose to pour on myself as “a shower.” Very different from my Sunday ritual of taking a bath with a piece of eucalyptus hanging from the faucet. 

Despite having my basic rights stripped away from me (air conditioning), I do have to admit that it was a pretty amazing experience to be away from cell service, responsibilities, and the realities of the world for a few days and have nothing to worry about besides being able to get the best spot to cry along to Lorde songs live. After the weekend, I realized two things: not everything is for me and to never insult people who use the phrase “glamping” again, because I think they’re now my family.

While I quickly realized music festivals weren’t for me, I’m glad I went to test the waters—and water pressure of the hose I used as a shower. It was a fun experience that did make me feel instantly younger—until I woke up hungover in 98 degree heat from four beers and very much felt my age. All that said, will happily take any free VIP tickets from anyone to anything!

Images: @hannynaibaho / Unsplash; Giphy

The Betches’ Festival Guide To Electric Zoo

Planning for festivals is a lot of work, and nobody likes work. Sure, you could read through 16 different Reddit threads to figure out what to wear, how to get there, if it’s worth it to splurge for VIP, and whatever else you need to know, or you could just check out the Betches festival guide.

At this point, I figured I would do something useful with my knowledge of music festivals, so I decided to start a series of guides. You are welcome. I’m starting off our festival guide series with one of my favorite festivals, and one that I go to yearly even though I am, as they say, pushing 30: Electric Zoo, Ezoo for the lazy initiated. Taking place during Labor Day weekend on Randall’s Island, this electronic festival is a fun send-off to the summer that’s easy to get to and even easier to navigate. *Looks to the camera* *Waves to the viewers* Let’s go.

How To Get There

If you don’t live in New York and haven’t figured out how you’re getting to Ezoo yet, god help you. Assuming you’re not within driving distance, which will take care of things, you’ll want to fly to LaGuardia because I’m biased it’s probably easier to get to the areas you’ll want to be staying. But if you cop a deal out of JFK or Newark, then do you. As far as actually getting to the festival, you are likely going to be walking there over the RFK bridge. You can also Uber/Lyft to the festival (highly recommend so you can save your engery/feet), but you can’t Uber out. Ubers literally will not pick up from Randall’s Island (or at least, they didn’t last year), so you’re going to be either walking back or taking one of the shuttles Ezoo has. Plan accordingly!

Where To Stay

Ezoo is not a camping festival and does not offer the option, so you’ll need to reserve some sort of accommodations in advance. Remember all your friends in Harlem and/or Queens who you made fun of for being broke? Yep, it will be time to hit those people up for a couch or half their full-size mattress! That’s becaues Ezoo is on Randall’s Island, an Island between Queens, and uptown Manhattan/Harlem that is within walking distance from both those locations. (As long as you are a little loose on your definition of “walking distance.”) If you don’t have friends with a free place to stay, you could try to Airbnb in one of those areas I mentioned, or just stay literally anywhere in any hotel you find. The subway system is extensive and you’ll be able to get uptown from wherever you are, but sticking to the east side will be easier because getting crosstown, especially on weekends, is a huge bitch. 

What To Wear

Ezoo is electronic music, which means this is the weekend to bust out your full raver girl attire. The great thing about this is that you can wear literally anything in the world you want and nobody is going to look at you sideways and you won’t feel out of place. You could wear a bra, a thong, and fishnets. You could just wear pasties. It truly does not matter, just bring some glitter and throw on some fun makeup. Unlike other festivals, nobody cares what you’re wearing.

 

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Leveling up by squading up. It’s the #EZoo way. #squad

A post shared by Electric Zoo Festival ? (@electriczoony) on

See? Pretty normal summer attire.

Above all, though, wear something COMFORTABLE. You’re likely going to be walking 20-30 minutes across a bridge to get to the festival, so this is not the time to wear your giant platform boots with the heel (not like any festival would be the time for that, but this one especially). Also, New York weather circa Labor Day is a fickle bitch, so plan appropriately. It could be 90 degrees and sunny af. It could pour on you. Both things happened to me last year alone. Whatever your outfit is, make sure it incorporates good walking shoes, and bring a poncho just in case.

What Ticket To Buy

At this point, a 3-day GA ticket costs $300, and a VIP ticket costs literally double that. According to the website, VIP gets you admission (duh), plus a faster-moving VIP line at check-in. You’ll also get “Premium views, private VIP flush toilets, shaded chill out area with seating, full VIP cash liquor bars, complimentary cell phone recharge stations, and complimentary passed hors d’oeuvres.” Now, is it worth it? Maybe. I’ve personally never had a huge issue with the non-VIP port-a-potties, however, seating is a real issue. There’s basically one small hill where you can park your butt without getting stepped on, and that’s it. There are other areas where you can charge your phone for free, like the T-mobile activation. Also, it’s 2019, buy a mobile charger.

There’s also a “Platinum VIP” option, which gets you more of the same, plus “Exclusive Platinum Only Premium views,” whatever that means. That option costs $949, and there’s no mention of any cash bar. If I’m dropping close to a grand on a festival, you better give me as much free Casamigos as I can legally drink, and you better make that known in advance.

Personally? Unless you are very picky regarding crowds and bathrooms, I would just rock with GA. You’re literally spending double the price for basically some passed hors d’oeuvres that they are probably going to run out of in the first hour after the festival doors open.

The Vibe/Crowd

“Ew, Ezoo? Isn’t that for 16-year-olds?” everyone says to me when I tell them I’m going there. I’ve been 3 times so far, and frankly, no. The crowd is actually older than you’d expect. I have never once looked around at my fellow festivalgoers and said, either aloud or to myself, “Ugh. The children.” You know where I have said that? Gov Ball, Coachella, The Meadows (RIP). Also? The vibe is way more chill than that of other festivals. Think less pushing and overall dickishness. People tend to respect other people and their space. Sure, if you’re trying to get to the front at Bassnectar 10 minutes after he already started, you are going to get some pushback. But as far as festivals go, the people here are generally pretty nice and chill.

Regarding the crowds… yeah. Friday is typically a dream and you can walk around freely. Saturday, you’ll see a noticeable increase in festivalgoers. By Sunday, it will be nearly impossible to move from stage to stage. Enjoy Friday as much as you can, and be sure to budget enough time in between sets to navigate through the crowds. And get there early because there WILL be a line to get in.

aLIVE Coverage for ElectricZoo.com

The Production

It honestly varies from year to year. The year the theme of the festival was The 6th Boro, everything was animal themed (why? don’t ask…) and the main stage was a giant elephant. That was really f*cking cool. The year before that, it was a cobra. Last year, for the 10th anniversary, it was just… a big sound wave, sort of. That was a bit of a letdown tbh. Truthfully, the theme of Ezoo every year should be animals, and I’m hoping they bring back the animal stages. Last year, Sunday School Grove also sponsored a jungle themed stage, which I never made it to but it looked awesome.

aLIVE Coverage for ElectricZoo.com

 

Okay, literally as I was writing this, Ezoo released a photo of this year’s main stage, which looks sick.

 

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‪Sneak peek for next week ? ‪ This is our tallest & widest mainstage ever — an evolved, futuristic, 3-D, fire-shooting New York City skyline stage set to tower over Randall’s Island ? ‪ If you still weren’t sure about coming next weekend, checkmate.‬ ? → electriczoo.com/tickets‬

A post shared by Electric Zoo Festival ? (@electriczoony) on

Damn.

Who To See

The 2019 lineup boasts big names like Eric Prydz, Diplo, Kaskade, Above & Beyond, Zedd, Armin Van Buuren, Alison Wonderland, Skrillex & Boys Noize, and a f*ckton more. Here are a few of my other personal recommendations:

Excision: If you’re into some harder sh*t with more music/noises than words

NGHTMRE B2B Slander; 4B; Getter: If you want to hear your favorite music on the radio right now, but like, trappy.

Boogie T b2b Squnto: If you want some fun groovy music that will make you want to dance

Flux Pavilion: If you want dubstep

Seven Lions: If you want trance/melodic dubstep/if you don’t know what that means, it’s a little more chill than most of the other stuff I’ve listed above.

GTA: If you want house/trap/hip-hop

Don’t want to listen to me? That’s fine, Ezoo made a Spotify playlist with songs from the 2019 artists.

Other Things To Do

While there are a few art installations and activations, there’s not a whole lot to do other than see acts. Space on Randall’s Island is kind of limited, so there’s room for the stages and tents, plus food and drinks, and a few pieces of art. Last year they had a fun makeup/glitter station, and apparently giant Jenga. Like, there’s stuff to do if you’re looking for it, but people are mostly there for the music and not the Instagrams.

aLIVE Coverage for ElectricZoo.com

That being said, they have afterparties and, while I’ve never been to one because I’ve been too tired, the lineups are sick. Acts include Borgore and Shaq (among others, and YES, that Shaq), Eric Prydz, R3HAB, and a lot more. It’s worth staying up for.

Overall, Ezoo is the best/only? electronic festival in New York, and it’s one of the more manageable festivals that exist. If electronic music is your sh*t, you should consider going. If you hate that stuff, don’t go. You won’t like it.

Images: electriczoo / Instagram; aLIVE Coverage (4)

Woodstock 50 Is Going To Be The Next Fyre Festival

Despite how many influencers go to Coachella every year, the original Woodstock is still the most iconic music festival of all time. In August 1969, over 400,000 people made their way to upstate New York for a music festival that would be a defining moment in the counterculture generation. Over the years, there have been various revivals of the Woodstock festival, and this year, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, is going to be the biggest of them all: Woodstock 50. Well, it’s supposed to be the biggest, but right now it’s looking like a total sh*tshow. Let’s examine what’s going on with what may end up being the Fyre Festival of upstate New York.

Earlier this year, Michael Lang, one of the co-founders of the original Woodstock festival, announced that he would be organizing a 50th anniversary edition. The site for the festival, Watkins Glen International Racetrack, already has an iffy past with music festivals. Last summer, there was supposed to be a Phish festival there, but it got shut down due to water quality and safety issues due to flooding. Lang announced that for Woodstock 50, a separate water supply would be brought in to avoid these problems. Already, this sounds like a mess.

The lineup for Woodstock 50 was announced in March, and it’s pretty impressive. Headliners include Miley Cyrus, Jay-Z, Halsey, The Killers, Santana, and Chance the Rapper. It’s a little all over the place, but I’m still impressed. Reportedly, though, iconic acts like Led Zeppelin, Paul McCartney, and Billy Joel all turned the festival down. Looking back now, maybe they knew something we didn’t at the time?

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It's time #Woodstock50☮️♥️?

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Tickets for Woodstock 50 were supposed to go on sale on April 22, which already seemed a little late for a festival of this size, but that date came and went with no updated information. Then, on April 29, the main investors in the festival, a company called Dentsu Aegis Network, announced that they were pulling their financial support, and that the festival would therefore be canceled. The issue? Besides being surprised to learn that “Dentsu Aegis” is a real company, and not a secret society from a sci-fi movie, the Woodstock 50 organizers pulled some shady sh*t. The festival reduced the capacity to 75,000 in order to make room for people camping. The capacity was initially promised as 150,000, so Dentsu Aegis was understandably upset that they were only going to get half the ticket sales.

Despite a main production partner, Superfly, also pulling out a couple days later, Lang said that the festival would still go on as planned, and that they were seeking out new financial backers. That sounds fine, but it was revealed that all of the artists on the lineup had made payment deals through Dentsu Aegis, not the festival itself, so they were no longer obligated to show up at the festival. Yikes.

Earlier this month, reports circulated that Michael Lang had found a new financial backer for Woodstock 50, but he still needed a mass gathering permit for the festival to go on. Additionally, he filed an injunction against Dentsu Aegis, saying that they had no right to declare the festival canceled, and also demanding that they return $17 million that they removed from the Woodstock 50 bank account. He also alleged that Dentsu had prevented the tickets from going on sale on April 22.

This week, a judge ruled that Dentsu Aegis did not have the power to cancel the festival, clearing the way for it to proceed in August. However, the judge also said that Dentsu did not have to return the $17 million, so Woodstock is still broke. Now, Michael Lang is adamant that Woodstock 50 is going to happen in August as planned, but it’s still unclear who’s paying for it, or when tickets will go on sale.

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Thank You Woodstock Nation! #WoodstockNation #Woodstock50 ☮❤?

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As if this story wasn’t already messy enough, there’s a whole other situation going on with Woodstock 50. Live Nation, one of the biggest concert promoters, is holding a separate Woodstock 50 anniversary concert, also taking place in August at the site of the original festival. Some of the same artists are even scheduled to perform at both Woodstock 50 events. Michael Lang filed a cease and desist order against the Live Nation event, but it’s still moving forward, and tickets have been available for weeks. Honestly, if I had to choose one, the Live Nation concert is definitely a safer bet.

At this point, it’s still wildly unclear if Woodstock 50 is going to happen, but if it does, I can’t wait to see how gigantic of a mess the whole thing is. If you’re planning to go, you should definitely bring your own water and toilet paper, because things are probably going to get dicey. I would give you the link to buy tickets to Woodstock 50, but lol tickets to this thing are never going on sale. Brb, gotta go send some emails to try and get press passes. Can’t wait for the competing Hulu and Netflix documentaries about this in 2021.

Images: woodstock / Instagram

I Was Sober At A Music Festival & This Is What It Taught Me

If you know me, you know that there are a few things I like in this world above all else: contemporary R&B, cheese, and partying. One of my favorite pastimes lately is day drinking. Does that sound concerning when I type it out? Yes, moderately. Cool, charging onward. I also love going to music festivals—I typically go to three or more a year. I know, I’m insane. How do I do it? No idea. I think it’s a lethal combo of loving live music and hating myself, in order to willingly spend my money and PTO days getting f*cked up in a field, standing so close to speakers that the bass makes my insides vibrate. Hey, everybody’s got their idea of a good time.

So I was surprised as anyone to find myself, at 10pm on Friday night at Shaky Beats festival in Atlanta, as Rüfüs Du Sol closed out day one, dead-ass sober.

*Record scratch* Yeah, that’s me. I bet you’re wondering how I found myself in this position. I’m about to tell you.

I guess, in order to really get the full picture, I have to back up a bit. The year was 2018. The weekend was Labor Day. The festival was Electric Zoo, one of my favorite festivals that I have been going to for the past three or four years. (I have lost count at this point.) Every year, I tell myself that I’m not going to do too many interviews and I’m just going to enjoy the festival, and every year, all three days, I get sucked into doing an interview at like, 7pm, which is prime festival time. Seriously, all the best acts start playing right at 7pm! Don’t get me wrong, doing interviews is great; I get to meet and talk to artists like Alesso, Alan Walker, and Troyboi. But it also takes what should be a fun and relatively relaxing experience (going to a festival and writing about it after the fact) and makes it stressful: coordinating interviews, plus making it to the acts I want to see, plus simply giving myself enough time to maneuver through the crowds and make it to my interview slot in time.

And when you factor drinking into all of that, what should be a simple activity gains so many moving parts that it becomes like solving the Da Vinci code. Because I can’t be drunk during my interview, but ideally I’d like to be a little lubricated so I’m not super self-conscious and awkward, but I can’t pregame too hard, but drinks at the festival are absurdly expensive, and you can’t pay for anything in cash, because the festival is cashless, so now I gotta make sure I have enough money on my wristband for a drink, and if I don’t have enough I need to go to another kiosk to add money to my wristband, and…

dr. Phil confused

You see what I mean? After everything was said and done, of course I had a great time at the festival, but I spent so much time running around, getting to my interviews, figuring out if I was too sober or too drunk, waiting on line to get a drink, etc. etc. etc-f*cking cetera, that I forgot to actually appreciate the fact that I was at Ezoo. It’s funny, many people will regret how much they drank during the weekend (which I have done in the past and will likely continue to do in life, don’t get me wrong), but after that weekend, I regretted how much mental energy I spent worrying about how much I was drinking and when I’d have another drink and from where I would procure said drink. To this day, I feel dumb and a little ashamed about it.

So when I found myself back at Shaky Beats, another one of my favorite festivals, in Atlanta this year, I didn’t want that sh*t to happen again. I’ve become a little tired of drinking in general—the taste of most types of alcohol, the way beer makes my nose stuffy (which I suspect is some sort of allergy or intolerance but I’m too afraid of the consequences to get it checked out by a doctor), the way it zaps me of all productivity and energy the next day.

I didn’t set out to be sober the first day of the festival, but found myself that way half on purpose, half by accident. I didn’t pregame, which was by design. Drinking plus Atlanta heat equals total exhaustion, so I didn’t want to drink until the sun went down anyway. Second of all, I told myself going into Shaky Beats that I was going to have a good time, and not worry about getting drunk or anything. I just took a “if it happens, it happens” type of approach towards drinking at the festival (one I should take to my love life as well, instead of this death grip I currently have on trying to control every interaction I have with a member of the opposite sex, but that’s neither here nor there), rather than a “I will be bored if I don’t have a consistent buzz the entire time” approach.

And you know what? At around 8pm, I still hadn’t had a drink, and I really wasn’t missing anything. I was, seriously, totally sober (not even uppers or weed!), and having a great time. Not to mention, I was 100% alert. And, like, why wouldn’t I be having a great time? I genuinely enjoy the music (it’s the whole reason I was at the festival), and could say I saw some of my favorite acts, like Big Gigantic, What So Not, and San Holo—and remembered their entire set. At that point, since the festival ended at 10:30pm (my only gripe with it, tbh), I just didn’t see the point in drinking. Sure, I could have a $11 beer or whatever, but what would it do for me that I wasn’t already currently experiencing? Nothing.

Contrast that to the next day, when I did decide to have a couple of drinks. Why? I don’t know; I felt like it. And honestly? I just felt kind of off. Once the sun went down, I was like, two Mike’s Harders deep and just overall in a weird mood. I can’t describe it. It was maybe a mix of the alcohol and the knowledge that the festival was ending soon and I’d have to get on a plane the next day and go back to work that just had me feeling a little bummed out, in a way I couldn’t put a finger on. Yeah, I still had a great time—I saw Party Favor, hands down my favorite act of the weekend; discovered Clozee, a French DJ who is getting added to my pregame playlist immediately; and got showered by glow sticks and confetti during Martin Garrix’s headlining set—but I left the festival feeling kind of dampened. Drinking wasn’t even really worth it.

Am I going to be sober forever? Probably not—recently, I was on day eight of a ten-day course of antibiotics and itching for a glass of wine at the end of a long day. But, as f*cking dumb and cliche as it sounds, I know for a fact now that I don’t need alcohol to have a good time. Does it help sometimes? Yes, especially if I’m forced into a situation I don’t like (see: birthday parties where I only know the birthday girl or boy). But at a place like Shaky Beats, when I’m with people I like, doing something I genuinely enjoy anyway? Except for the vague sense of ennui, it didn’t add anything to the experience, and knowing that for the future feels kind of empowering.

Images: Katrina Barber

That ‘Coachella Herpes Spike’ Is Probably Fake

Just when I thought the Coachella 2019 coverage was really, truly over, leave it to herpes to come in and ruin everything. The internet was blowing up this morning after TMZ posted a report that this year’s festival was responsible for a major spike in people seeking treatment for herpes. At first glance, it’s a funny story, because Coachella is basically two weeks of people getting f*cked up and making poor decisions in the desert. It would make sense that a disease as common as herpes would thrive in this kind of environment, but this whole story is actually just nonsense.

The source of the report is HerpAlert, a website that offers “online treatment and diagnosis” for herpes. Basically, people send pictures of their junk, and then a professional reviews the pics and decides if you have herpes. Sounds legit! According to HerpAlert, they usually only handle about 12 cases a day, but during the first two days of Coachella, their numbers soared close to 250. Also, since the start of Coachella this year, they’ve had over 1,100 cases in Palm Springs and the surrounding areas, including LA and San Diego.

While these numbers are definitely enough to get anyone’s attention, they’re pretty misleading when it comes to what herpes is actually like. Honestly, I know this stuff from my 9th grade health class, but we got some info from Dr. Robert Huizenga just to be sure. Dr. Huizenga is a physician, sexual health expert, and the author of Sex, Lies, & STDsBasically, he knows what’s up when it comes to herpes.

First of all, the most important thing to note is that the initial spike in HerpAlert patients occurred during the first two days of the festival, which does not add up with the timeline of the onset of herpes. Dr. H says that it takes herpes symptoms three to seven days after contact to appear. Given that Coachella is a three-day festival and many of these “cases” were submitted only during day two, that is not enough time to have contracted the herpes virus while at Coachella, no matter how many people you hooked up with on the camp grounds. It just does not compute.

Second of all, and more importantly, Dr. H notes that you can’t diagnose herpes with a blood test until 14 to 30 days after contact. Sores or rashes can show up before that, and could in theory be diagnosed with this picture-sending app, but it’s not as reliable as getting an actual blood test done. Seeing as it has barely been 14 days since weekend one of Coachella, it’s very unlikely that over a thousand people all contracted herpes at the festival. If anything, this whole “Coachella herpes outbreak” story is probably just proof that people are misinformed about sexual health (or wore too much glitter near their junk and are paranoid), rather than any indicator that there’s a major herpes outbreak in Indio.

Coachella Tip: The chick with the glitter eyeshadow wearing a bikini top and feathers is totally down to hook up/give you herpes.

— caprice crane (@capricecrane) April 10, 2015

Of course, everyone should go get tested regularly, whether or not they’ve been having sex in the desert, and use protection. Maybe next year Coachella should send out STI informational brochures along with the wristbands. And after you get tested, take a moment to send prayers to the poor doctor who had to review all the pictures of dirty junk that influencers were sending during Coachella. Yikes.

Images: Daniel Dvorsky / Unsplash; Giphy; @capricecrane / Twitter

The 8 Best Music Festivals You Haven’t Heard Of

Having withdrawal from Coachella? Want to go to a festival you can actually afford? Same on both accounts. Live music is an expensive habit, and a lot of festivals don’t come cheap. The solution? Instead of going to a big-name festival where tickets will cost you a month’s rent in a Southern U.S. city, set your sights on a lesser-known one. These underground festivals will often pull some big names, and plenty of newcomers just waiting to be discovered. That’s the best part of a festival anyway, right? Discovering new artists because you just happen to walk by their set? That’s how I discovered Flosstradamus, one fateful Bonnaroo night. Anyway, this isn’t about me; it’s about you. Sort of. Check out these underground festivals this summer. For the purposes of this article, I am mostly classifying an underground festival as a newer one, since you probably haven’t heard of something if it’s new. Not so much that they are highlighting underground music, because I don’t know anything about underground music, unless we’re talking about alt. R&B artists I found on Spotify and Soundcloud. Let’s begin!

Shaky Beats Music Festival

Set in Central Park, Atlanta, Georgia (yes, that is a real park, and no, they do not mean Centennial Park), this two-day dance music festival boasts headliners Rüfüs Du Sol and Martin Garrix. Other performers include Big Gigantic and San Holo, plus tons of other names you’ll want to see. While not super duper underground, Shaky Beats is still relatively unknown since it’s only in its third year. That means you can actually see the performers you want. Having been, this is a fun, small, manageable festival where you can’t really lose your friends since the grounds are not that big and you will have service (hallelujah!). Plus, since it’s not on an island, you’re not going to get stranded with no shuttle service (unlike a certain other EDM fest). And if you want to keep partying once the festival is over, there are a few late-night show options. With tickets at $139 for two days, it’s very affordable, considering that is less money per day than I paid for one Khalid show at MSG.

Elements Music & Arts Festival

 

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Today is Earth Day. Earth is one of our five Elements. It’s more than a stage, it’s a testament to our deep love for this planet. At #ElementsFestival, we try our very best to support Mother Earth and everything she provides for us. This year, we are bringing back artists who create in symbiosis with nature, and will be (safely and consciously) building one of our stages around a tree. From picking up trash, to providing plastic-free options onsite, we think #EarthDay is every day. What can you do today to help the planet? ? @olga.klimova.art

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If you’ve got eclectic taste in electronic music, you’ll want to check out Elements Music & Arts Festival. Now in its third year, this camping festival in Lakewood, PA has headliners including Disclosure, Big Gigantic, and Sofi Tukker, but the rest of the names are not the types of artists you’re hearing on the radio. Or at least, I’m not. And I thought I was hip! There will be art installations and programming from sex-positive NY-based venue House of Yes. It takes place over Memorial Day weekend, meaning you don’t even have to take a day off work to enjoy this festival. Tickets start at $249 for a three-day pass, which is still way less than renting a house in the Hamptons.

Capitol Hill Block Party

Capitol Hill Block Party

So apparently Capitol Hill Block Party has been around since 1997, but this is the first I’m hearing about it. Then again, I don’t live in Seattle, so what do you expect? Did I totally miss the mark with this pick? Tell me in the comments! Anyway. Taking place from Friday, July 19 through Sunday, July 21, Capitol Hill Block Party has artists from a variety of genres. Headliners are RL Grime, Lizzo, and Phantograms. Other performers include Snakehips, Aminé, Denzel Curry, and others. Sure, the lineup is lighter on indie rock bands and singer-songwriters than Sasquatch!, but since it’s not returning in 2019, what else do you have to do? Tickets start at $160 for a 3-day ticket, which in the festival world, is basically free.

Under The Big Sky Music & Arts Festival

 

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Let’s ride ? . Kick up those heels this Summer with @nathanielrateliff & The Night Sweats, @bandofhorses, @dwightyoakam, @CodyJinks, @Jennydianelewis, @ElleKing, @JamestownRevival + a hell of a lot more! . Walk the ranch to explore local beers, eats and arts set under the big sky with the sounds of some of the finest Americana, Country, Indie Rock & beyond. . Tickets on sale Tuesday, February 19th at 12 PM MT (Ya’ll don’t forget to set an alarm ⏰) . All Ages // July 13+14 // Local Craft Beer // Arts // Rodeo // Trail Rides // Petting Zoo // #underthebigskyfest

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Judging by the bare bones website, lack of pre-2019 Facebook profile picture, and two single Instagram posts to date, I’m guessing this is the inaugural Under The Sky Music & Arts Festival. The Americana, folk, and alt-country fest is taking place at Big Mtn Ranch in Whitefish Montana, which is precisely the setting I would picture for this genre of music festival. Even though this festival is flying under the radar, they’ve booked big name acts like Jenny Lewis, ZZ Ward, Band of Horses, and Nathan Rateliff & The Night Sweats. (Incidentally, The Night Sweats is also what I call my backing band.) Two-day tickets start at $119.

The Greatest Day Ever! Music Festival And Carnival

I attended Greatest Day Ever a few years ago, back when it was on Governors Island in one small tent with MetroBoomin and DJ 4B. It’s come a long way in the six short years since its inception and now boasts performers like Pusha-T, Carnage, and Zeds Dead. While they’ve tried out a few locations, this year the festival and carnival is happening at Ford Amphitheater on Coney Island. There will be carnival rides, meaning you can get that ferris wheel pic, and actually go on the ferris wheel, unlike some other festivals. This one-day-only event (hence the name) will be on July 13, with tickets starting at $65. Again, given I paid way more than that to see one artist, that’s not a bad price.

The Lyrical Lemonade Summer Smash

 

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some incredible summer smash moments ✨captured by Marcus McDonald

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In 2018, Chicago’s Lyrical Lemonade and Spkrbx Presents joined forces to put on a one-day festival in Douglas Park. Back for its second year, the festival has expanded to two days, bringing performers such as Playboi Carti, Lil Yachty, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, and Cam’ron. And that’s just for day one. Day two artists include Juice Wrld, Tyga, and a whole lot more. Damn, that’s a lot of people. And it’s outside, unlike other festivals you might go to that typically pull this kind of lineup but take place inside an arena (*cough* every radio stations’ “summer festival” that’s not even really a festival because it takes place inside, which is way less fun). Tickets start at $150 for a two-day pass.

Sandjam Music Festival

 

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The next set of names to take this stage, will soon be posted on this page. They’ll make it here before Santa and if we’re lucky, before it’s time to eat turkey. So, time watching this page will be well spent. Cause in the near future, we’ll start dropping hints. ? @sandjamfest is powered by @pepsi. #rock #alternative #electro #musicfestival #festlife #goodtimes #indiepop #pop #music #beach #saltlife #florida #pepsi #visitpanamacitybeach #letsgo

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After its inaugural year in 2018, the self-proclaimed “adult-alternative rock music festival” returns to Panama City Beach, Florida. With a lineup including Kings of Leon, Young the Giant, The Revivalists, and more, it’s sure to be a vastly different experience than the time you went to PCB on college spring break. (Or perhaps that was just me.) The festival takes place literally on the beach, and you can’t beat that setting. Tickets start at $149 for a 3-day pass.

Just Like Heaven Fest

 

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One wasn’t enough so here’s another shot at heaven. Passes for May 3 are on sale Friday @ 10 am ✨?

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From what I can tell (i.e. lack of info to the contrary and sparse social media presence), 2019 will be the festival’s first year, so if you’ve heard of it I am extremely impressed. Happening in Queen Mary Park in Long Beach, CA, this two-day festival will have performances by MGMT, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Phoenix, Passion Pit, and many more. The festival is sold out, according to the site, but you can join the waitlist for tickets (or check out the event’s Facebook page, where you might have some luck and get one secondhand from someone trying to offload their pass).

Images: justlikeheavenfest, sandjamfest, thesummersmash, underthebigskyfestival, elementsfestival_ / Instagram; Joshua Lewis; Jerry Chen; Courtesy of aLIVE Coverage (2)

When Did Coachella Become An Influencer Playground?

I’ll start by saying that, yes, I did go to Coachella this year (and if you want to see my content, check out my Instagram). Cool, now that I’m done being the most terrible person alive, let’s talk about Coachella. A few years ago when I first started working for Betches, I didn’t even really know what Coachella was. I remember editing an article on “5 Celebs Who Embody Coachella” and having next to no clue what the article was even talking about, but I published it anyway because I was just doing my job.

In recent years, though, Coachella has become impossible to ignore. Now, it’s less of a music festival and more of a cultural event. The focus in the media is on the music and production as much as it is on figuring out which celebrities attended and what they were wearing. And, even furthermore, it’s about the parties surrounding Coachella. There are invite-only parties like Revolve festival, not to mention Neon Carnival and Framework Presents after-parties. When did Coachella become like this, anyway?

It’s a complicated question, so I decided to research the lineup through the years. Although Coachella started as a rock festival, they were pulling acts like Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Beastie Boys even in 2003. In 2004, their attendance doubled and hit 120,000 guests, with The Cure, Radiohead, and then-relatively-unknown The Killers performing.

2007 seems to be when things start to take off—the festival expands from one day to three, and pulls $16.3 million in box office revenue, up from $9 million the year before. The following year, Prince gets added to the lineup; in 2009, Coachella books Paul McCartney. Around this period is where things start to turn towards the mainstream. In 2010, Jay-Z becomes the first hip-hop artist to headline the festival, and the next year Kanye West headlines. But perhaps the most precise turning point towards the mainstream occurs in 2012, when Coachella expands to two weekends, and most notably, Dr. Dre headlines and brings out the Tupac hologram. This is where press for Coachella explodes; the Desert Sun reports that this performance overshadowed even Radiohead’s headlining set, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame notes it as one of the 20 greatest festival moments ever.

But I didn’t want to take one article’s word for it, so I consulted Reddit. One user wrote, “I feel like since 2011 when Kanye and Kings of Leon headlined Coachella really broke into pop culture,” adding, “it was at that point where I began to hear Coachella mentioned a helluva lot more on radio, tv, in online media and by regular 9-5 types in everyday life.” Another echoed, “I think it was after 2011 being the last time it would only be one weekend… I strongly believe it went ‘mainstream’ (or got more popular) after that year because me and six friends bought our wristbands and car camping a MONTH before the event… there’s no way that could ever happen again due to everything selling out in a matter of minutes.”

This timeline tracks with the advent of Instagram, which launched in 2010 and featured its very first ad in 2013. I’m not a sociologist, but I’d venture that Coachella’s increased presence in mainstream popular culture, coupled with the simultaneous rise of Instagram, created a perfect storm of photo opps, so to speak. Compounded with the increased ability to actually make a living off of Instagram as an individual and not an established retail brand with every passing year, these factors turned the festival into the millennial influencer wasteland it’s seen as today.

Is this accurate? ??? pic.twitter.com/ELfVdED7hA

— WORLDSTARHIPHOP (@WORLDSTAR) April 16, 2019


In short, it wasn’t always like this, and this perception as an Instagram destination is relatively new, compared to the festival’s 20 year history. But even still, Coachella has earned a reputation as being a social media playground—but is it deserved?

On the surface, unequivocally yes. You’re talking about a massively popular event that’s attended by celebrities and “regular” (but still well-off) folks alike, that is not accessible to everybody. The fact is, going to Coachella is expensive. Most multi-day festivals are going to run you a couple of hundred dollars for the ticket price alone, not counting travel and accommodations. I probably spent a grand just getting and staying there—I don’t know for sure, I don’t want to think about it. So you have a bunch of people who have at least some money, plus people with tons of money, risking heat stroke together to stand in a giant crowd and maybe see the top of the head of an artist whose songs they vaguely know, projected from a giant screen 100 yards away. It’s inherently pretty douchey; combined with the fact that the festival has now achieved unparalleled name recognition, if you say you’re going, you sound like a huge asshole. And I will say that, compared to other festivals I’ve been to, Coachella is the only one that’s as much about what you’re wearing as who you’re going to see. On top of that, you’ve got these larger-than-life 3-D art installations, an iconic ferris wheel, great natural lighting until 8pm—so of course people are going to take pictures, and they’re all going to be the same ones. So, yeah, it does seem like a Coachella problem.

can u imagine having enough money to go to coachella and u spend it on going to coachella

— niiice. (@niiiceband) April 12, 2019


But is it really?? I’m going to say no. Not because Coachella is not one giant Instagram activation, but because everything these days is. We are all out here taking the same fake candids in any environment that is remotely photogenic. Go to a random street corner of Manhattan and you’ll likely see girls posing for in front of a parked taxi cab. Hell, at least Coachella is still a music festival, unlike Museum Of , and all those other pop-ups that are unabashedly made explicitly for social media. I have been to so many of these events, and most of the time it’s like being in the North Korean supermarket from The Interview—everything looks shiny from the photos, but all the depth is manufactured. That monochrome ball pit that looks amazing on your friend’s feed? It’s likely a standalone pit in a bare room (that’s 100 degrees because it’s not properly ventilated; the room was probably constructed in a pinch for the sole purpose of this pop-up). That rainbow wall? A few feet of painted plywood propped up and stuck in the corner of a sparsely decorated backyard. Some of the Coachella parties might fall into this latter camp, but the festival? It’s a festival. A real, 3-D, walk-around-it-and-touch-things, listen-to-music, festival. People are going to take pictures there, just like they do in any other restaurant, bar, birthday party, or park, so like, who really cares? This is not a phenomenon unique to this particular festival.

And, look. I’m not saying Coachella is this perfect utopia. Not at all. There’s plenty to dislike about it, like the fact that it’s overcrowded, expensive, their security system felt like more of a “pray something doesn’t go horribly wrong” attitude than an actual plan, or most importantly, it’s got shady links to anti-LGBTQ organizations. Be mad about that, but don’t be mad that it’s a place where millennials millennial.

Images: Don Indio; worldstarhiphop, niiiceband / Twitter