Opinion: Pros and cons of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival

Photo courtesy of The Chaparral. SPECTRA at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, April, 2022.

Photo courtesy of The Chaparral. SPECTRA at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, April, 2022.

With the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival returning after a two-year suspension, we witnessed a surge of tourists. Founded by Paul Tollett and Rick Van Santen, this yearly music festival has lasted for more than 20 years. Before the Coronavirus outbreak, Coachella Fest was known for taking place on two weekends in April. With many thanks to Goldenvoice, the Los Angeles-based concert promoter behind the Coachella and Stagecoach festivals, many festival-goers were able to experience a lively weekend once again. 

The 2017 festival was attended by 250,000 people and grossed 114.6 million dollars. Coachella Fest holds one of the highest revenue placeholders worldwide, contributing to millions of dollars. This year, a whopping reported total of 750,000 people were present. With the ultimate decision to no longer require masks or vaccinations this year, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival hit a groundbreaking number of attendees. 

Whether this cherished festival is worth the six hundred to a thousand dollar wristband depends on the details. At the same time, most festival concerts in the United States range from about two hundred to six hundred dollars, Coachella wristbands are set at a minimum of $600 for presale and $1,000 for VIP wristbands. Any additional fees include shuttle passes for around $75.

You have to incorporate the travel fees if you are not a local festival-goer like me. There is a huge advantage to living in the Coachella Valley when these local festivals roam because you do not need to pay for hotels, AirBnbs, camping fees or groceries. This was one of the best advantages that I had attending the festival because, after a long day of standing in the heat, dust and smoke, it felt amazing to go home, shower and sleep in my bed.

Coachella offers campgrounds for sale to festival-goers who would like to stay on-site all weekend in tents or RVs. One of the many downsides to this route is the showers, as they are only available from 7 a.m. through 7 p.m.. So while there are no showers available at night, restrooms are brought to you in port-a-potty fashion, and you’re surrounded by dust storms and cold temperatures throughout the night.

One of the biggest factors that will dent your wallet is the food prices at the festival. While vendors might sell $7 pizza slices, most of the food at the booths ranges from $19-$30. Below is one of the booths that I ate at. This meal cost me about $25.

Photo courtesy to The Chaparral/ Analise Sauceda. Chicken sandwich menu from a local food booth.


I also purchased a lemonade that cost me $14. These two are just examples of how expensive food and drinks are at the festival. It’s also important to mention that water usually ranges from $4-$6. There are refillable water stations located throughout the polo grounds for those who bring in an empty water bottle to fill.

Despite the costly fees, Coachella does have a great lineup of artists set to perform. I attended the festival to watch Harry Styles set as a headliner and had the best time. It was very exciting to attend this festival again after three years, and I couldn’t be happier to attend Coachella again. However, I think that three days is enough or maybe even too much time to spend at a desert party. It is definitely something to experience at least once and is an excellent opportunity to listen to music and see many artists.