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Coachella Is the 'It Place' for Influencers

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IIf you scroll through the TikTok page of Linda Cuadros, a social media strategist and podcaster based in Miami, you’ll see viral videos from the “pre-influencer era” of Coachella. There are images of flower crowns, occasionally seen celebrity, and most notably lesser social media influencers.

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, taking place in Indio, California and now entering its second three-day weekend this year, has changed since Cuadros’ participation in 2014, 2015 and 2016. With nearly 1 million views according to the comments on her videos, she’s not the only one nostalgic for the Coachella she once knew. One viewer writes, “This is what makes me want to go, but now it’s a money pit for most influencers.” “Throwback to when this was an indie event,” writes another.

Cuadros, like many others, has noticed that the music festival has become something more like the “Influencer Olympics,” a nod to the online content creators who have taken over the event in recent years. (The festival was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.) “Coachella was more about the experience of discovering different music that you’ve never heard before. And you weren’t so worried about how people were going to see you via Instagram and whether you were wearing the right clothes,” she says. “Now people obviously do it all for the phone.”

Read more: Why Frank Ocean Isn’t Playing at Coachella This Weekend

Online content creators have developed several industries Cosmetics To MarketingSo it comes as no surprise that he has begun to make his mark on the music festival, which debuted in 1999. At Coachella, as at other high-profile events, brands incentivize sponsors to participate in the festival by providing tickets and access to exclusive parties. , in exchange for branded content created during their stay.

current TikTok ‘it-girl’ Alix EarlFor example, attended Coachella this year courtesy of GUESS, flew in her private jet, wore an entirely denim sponsored outfit, and showcased the clothing brand ‘Guess Originals Compound’ He has more than 5 million followers at festival houses and parties. For online creators at the festival, fashion often takes precedence over music. Earl’s Coachella videos have been viewed over 100 million times, with his outfit videos gaining the most traction. (Out of more than 25 videos uploaded by him on Tiktok only One featured a musical set in the background).

Beware of festival fakes

content around exclusive parties and photoboothNaturally, the creators’ millions of followers wish they were there too. According to Lorraine Gray, an influencer and singer who has more than 75 million followers across all platforms, much of it is smoke and mirrors. Gray gave viewers the behind-the-scenes scoop on the reality of the many online celebrities who didn’t actually attend the concert, despite their content being featured. Even those without brand sponsorship will try to build content around the “it” niche.

Gray also referred to the festival as the “impactful Olympics” in a video shared on TikTok. “They just take their little butts off into the desert to take Instagram pictures, make TikToks, and ‘Get Ready With Me.’” [videos] And then they drive back,” she says. “If you feel boring and sad about not being at Coachella, just know that most of those people aren’t there. It’s like a very common occurrence.”

Quadros has also made the same allegation. “Some influencers go to the desert just to go to the pre- and after-parties and they skip the festival the whole time. There’s more of a show-off culture,” she tells TIME.

From YouTube to TikTok

The event and the content that comes out of it is evolving. Cuadros, along with his TikTok commenters, recalls that before the surge of TikTokers who are now attending the event, there were YouTubers who created lengthy Coachella content meant to portray a picture-perfect experience worthy of envy. Was trending This is still the case with major creators like TikTok’s Earle. But the emergence of TikTok has also brought a subset of smaller creators who are creating more vertical, short-form videos that articulately share what it means to participate in the phenomenon. “really like,

This was demonstrated last year, where micro-influencers on TikTok called out The Revolve Festival, premiere invite-only influencer Coachella event, held to bad logistics that lasted hours-long wait time in summer. This year, many people on TikTok were transparent about how frank ocean weekend-one headline performance late, heavy, and short cuts, He has since pulled out of his weekend-two performance, citing a foot injury.

Quadros would eventually like to make her way back to Coachella. She has been to many festivals, but Coachella is the “top festival” for her. However, her excitement is cut short by the realization that things may have been different the last time she attended.

“The Coachella I went to was about living in the moment, having fun, and enjoying the music and the atmosphere,” she says. Those days may not come back.

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write to Mariah Espada at [email protected].