Coachella’s Drake Pick Is
Bad Mojo For Major Festivals
The Coachella Lineup Has Been Announced And With Emo-Hip-Hop Superstar Drake Headlining, It Appears The Essence Of Cool Which Festivals Like Coachella Once Exuded Is Now Available For Purchase To The Highest Bidder
Image by Drew and used under the terms of a Creative Commons License.
By Jeff Moses
Modern Times Magazine
Jan. 6, 2015 — Ever since Woodstock, America’s supernatural first mega festival, copycat events held a certain air of mystique about them. Music festivals were a bastion of western counterculture, something for the dirty hippies, the beatnik artists, and the dangerous bikers.
They were way out in secluded corners of the country, and attending meant leaving your life behind for awhile and becoming a part of the festival vacuum.
But now, festivals are springing up all over the country and in every major city. Hosting a major music festival for a city is almost as great a sign of financial stability as having a major sports team, or building that new convention center. It’s as much about how much money it brings in and how mighty it makes a city look as it is about the music. So while huge corporations are paying huge headliners humongous dollars to come play their festival in every city around the country, it starts to eat away at the draw for storied mega-festivals like Coachella.
Now don’t get me wrong, I realize Coachella is as much about big business as anyone else; at least in the past they would try and hide that behind amazing lineups featuring the hottest up and coming indie bands. But in 2015, with just about every major city in America featuring at least one massive musical event, Coachella is responding as anyone would expect an immensely wealthy, formerly popular figurehead to respond. They are trying to buy their way out of it.
They went out and got Drake to headline Sunday, April 12 and 19. He’s a wildly popular musical superstar, but he really doesn’t have any business headlining Coachella because he’s a teeny bopper. He’s the darling of the American music industry, a hip-hop Taylor Swift, if you will, who has been universally accepted by mainstream culture since his days in the wheelchair at Degrassi High School. Drake headlining Coachella is the festival admitting that they are going after a far more Top 40 oriented audience than ever before. His inclusion on the lineup at all is recognition that Coachella is going after a completely different demographic than they have in the past.
Quite frankly, Drake headlining Coachella completely squanders any credibility they once had, even through the last few years of $350 tickets and $50 T-shirts. Granted, Coachella has welcomed radio friendly hip-hop headliners before. They have had Kanye West and Jay Z in successive years. But both J and Ye have been lightning rods for controversy in their careers while still maintaining status as bona fide legends in music.
Drake, not so much.
Even more frankly, it is an insult to Coachella’s entire dedicated following and catalog of artists, many of whom have been following and attending the iconic musical event since its inception in 1999. Music festivals were supposed to be about more than playing music that is currently on the radio, and Coachella is generally a trendsetter when it comes to the other mega festivals like Bonnaroo, Sasquatch, and Austin City Limits.
With Drake as a legitimate headliner option for one of the country’s biggest festivals, how much longer before we see Justin Bieber on the farm, the Jonas Brothers at Sasquatch, and Miley headlining ACL?
Don’t even get me started about AC/DC.
Jeff Moses a senior contributor at Modern Times Magazine. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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