Congratulations to everybody who loves music festivals: Coachella begins this weekend, and ends in no less than 14 weeks (after which we will be spammed with celebrity style photos until at least Christmas or until we have all died).
And if you’re going, that’s terrific. Take lots of pictures of Beyonce please, and bask in the glow of the sun and warmth that would make me incredibly ill after spending about twenty minutes in it. (I may hate winter this year, but I know I’ll still need SPF 50 and freakish amounts of shade and water to survive summer.) Tell me which celebrities you see, and take enough Instagram photos to make me think you’re having a great time, but not so much that I get annoyed and start to hope you can’t find your tent on a night when you’re very tired.
Because, look: I’m good. I don’t want to go to Coachella or any music festival. And because I know we’re seconds from being inundated with Coachella #content, here’s why I urge you to join me on my journey of realizing no thank you: I have millions of reasons why I will not have FOMO this festival season.
The bathroom situation
I don’t know what the Coachella bathrooms look like (and I never will), but I am comfortable assuming that they are awful. Frankly, there are too many restroom-oriented what-ifs to be navigated when you’re spending several days in an outdoor setting. Too many people have used those bathrooms. Too many people have used those bathrooms incorrectly. One year, I went to a festival (I was young, it won’t happen again, I promise) and wore a romper and had to exist nude-like in a port-a-potty for more than a few minutes (on one of the hottest days in August). I will never forget any of it, and there are few words to describe how hard I’ve tried. Others at Coachella will experience this. Be thankful it won’t be us.
…Are a fashion statement that exist in the same realm as flip-flops: why. And the thing is, I know why. When you’re amongst thousands of Coachella enthusiasts, they seem fine. You will look at flower crowns and disaster footwear and think, “Maybe it’s my time, too.” But it isn’t. It’s nobody’s time. It is 2018, and we know there’s no reason to delve into pieces we once wore to channel certain characters of Laguna Beach or The Hills. We know this, and we know it right now while wearing clothes that are powerful enough to confront our enemies.
But then you step into festival territory. And everything changes. Which I know, because at the same festival I insisted on wearing a piece of inconvenient clothing, it rained a lot and I I took my shoes off and walked around like a peasant (and without boots), ignoring the fact that the terrain was unusually rocky and had I just stepped off the grass, I could’ve kept my shoes on and been normal. On regular days, I’m so germ-conscious that I won’t shake someone’s hand who just coughed.
The false sense of freedom
I am not fun and free-wheeling. Arguably, I am not very fun at all. I like what I like and what I like includes boundaries and my own personal space. I like actual beds to sleep in, and I need to know that I can leave an outdoor setting to descend on a home or restaurant or tiny patch of land that contains a roof and walls. I don’t like being in close vicinity to strangers, I need to wash my hands before I eat, and I need to eat regularly or risk becoming a bigger demon than I tend to be normally. Also, what I eat is dependent on mood and weather and clothing choice and what I’m doing later. And a festival provides not nearly enough certainties — ultimately, I would be forced to eat nothing but baguettes out of fear (and also because I wouldn’t have to touch the baguette, I could just eat it while holding it in its paper bag).
I cannot go breezily into that festival night — I need to know when and where and with whom and for how long and where are we eating and what are we eating and where do we keep it refrigerated and is there soy in that because I can’t eat soy and also I’m allergic to coconut and what do you mean I can’t just take a nap I have a headache why don’t I just take the car and pick you guys up on Monday morning.
I don’t like any band enough to stand without the option of seats
And neither do you. You hate it. You do! Come on. Standing? FOREVER? Absolutely not. Even Beyonce’s normal concert dates are in arenas where you can grab a seat and rest your legs while she gives it her all during a ballad. But a festival? An outdoor festival? You’re standing, baby. For actual hours, and without the option of abandoning your post for the bathroom should you need it because no one will let you come back to your old spot, and we both know it.
So no, I can’t. I will not. Not a single musician on this planet could convince me to stand without the option of bailing whenever I want. Beyonce could descend onstage with her supporting act, the cast of The Crown, and I would still say “I’m sorry, I can’t, don’t hate me.” Give me chairs, or give me a way out of whatever concert situation I am in. I don’t care how many celebrities are near me. They wish they were sitting too.