My In-N-Out double double and animal fries having already passed in (and out), my week of truancy spent in the California sun is officially over. Bronze and beleaguered, I arrive back to Shithaca’s gloom and a poppin’ Cmail inbox after living the dream at Coachella. Jealous? I ain’t gon’ lie — it was kind of perfect. For one, I’ll be set with a slew of default profile pictures for months. What’s more, I’ve got enough stories to tell (think Texts From Last Night) to last at least two semesters. And before you tell me about your CTown weekend of frats on frats on frats, I got two words to stop you in your tracks: Tupac’s hologram. But while I could get into the strange sorcery of 2Pacalypse’s appearance at Snoop and Dre’s headlining set, I’ve got to say that Coachella is nearly as much about the people as it is the music. That being said, here are the five people you meet at Coachella:
1. The Bon Iver Bros
I first noticed these frat boys when they decided to set up a game of Beersbee in the endless security check-in line. These shirtless dudes were pounding Miller High Life’s in their neon wayfarers and Christian Audigier board shorts. Of course, I judged them like I judge anyone who wears Ed Hardy, and I thought, “I guess someone has to be here for Avicii.” Little did I know, I asked some beefy guys beside me at Bon Iver to cover me from the creepy stoner dude who, despite his nearly catatonic state, would not stop following me. Those beefy bros very promptly stood guard and then immediately broke out in bellows as Justin Vernon came on stage. They then proceeded to belt out every single Bon Iver lyric word-for-word in perfect accuracy. They even had Vernon’s falsetto down. I don’t — what the — huh? This does not compute. But the next day, once again queuing up at Coachella’s many security checkpoints, I overheard several bros extol their love for Beirut’s front man, Zach Condon, and St. Vincent’s Annie Clark. Protective, gentlemanly frat boys into Beirut and Bon Iver — be still my heart. I love myself a contradiction. Serious question — do we have these Bon Iver bros at Cornell?
By hipster, I actually mean a bunch of try-hard teens in crochet crop tops wearing feathered hippie headbands with Smart Waters in their suede fringe bag. I’m pretty sure they have a shrine made to Vanessa Hudgens as their divine entity. Let me tell you, I can spot a “hipster” a mile away by their Aztec-print tote. The real perpetrators are the girls who think they can pull off a Native American headdress. Sure, white girl, I really believe you sympathize with the Cherokee nation, but could you express your emotionality without a feathery three-foot protrusion poking my face as I try to watch the stage from behind you?
3. Hipster Haters
Hipster haters prevent Coachella from becoming one bad UrbanOufitters campaign. They’re condescending and critical but also a godsend. When they get drunk, they like to run into the groups of pseudo-hipsters seated at the venues (awaiting the next set) screaming the best things: “Get out of your cuddle puddles!” When they get stuck in a crowd of high-waisted studded denim shorts, they like to shout, “Hippie roadblock! It’s a hippie roadblock!” While they’re not always fun — I mean, I should be allowed to wear a maxi shirt without a hipster hater heckling me — they’re necessary as the keepers of the hipsters.
4. Philosophical Druggies
More than half the population at Coachella is either drinking, blazing, rolling, tripping or all of the above at any given moment, but I much prefer the philosophical druggies to the belligerent drunks and faded ravers. The philosophical druggies often offer surprising insight. Front row at Jeff Mangum, I found myself theorizing the cause of Mangum’s reclusive lifestyle with some compromised individuals. As the vocalist of Neutral Milk Hotel, Jeff Mangum has been in hiding for years, much to the chagrin of his fans, and it’s difficult to determine exactly why. Amongst the druggies and I, we theorized that if Zach Condon was a sandwich, he’d be something on pita bread with avocado sprinkled sunflower seeds. If St. Vincent was a sandwich, she’d be a panini with grilled asparagus and something fancy like truffle oil. But if Jeff Mangum was a sandwich, we couldn’t tell if he’d be a cucumber finger sandwich or a sloppy joe — he’s really that much of a mystery. Needless to say, this sandwich conversation would’ve never occurred without the help of some THC and MDMA.
5. The One-Uppers
You know those pretentious fucks that like to strike up conversation with other festival-goers just to hear themselves talk? Coachella is crawling with these jerks. “Oh, you’ve only seen The Black Keys at festivals? I mean, I much prefer smaller venues. In fact, I just caught them at the Mercury Lounge last week but honestly they had much better showmanship in 2008 when I saw them at the Bowery.” Unfortunately, these conversations will turn into pissing contests between one fedora-wearing asshole against a capri-wearing douchebag trying to recite all the opinions and analogies they memorized off Pitchfork.