Despite ostensibly being a music and arts festival, Coachella is a sociologist's wet dream. There are endless demographics and lifestyles represented in Indio and apparently they all live in peaceful harmony under all that desert sun—or do they?
Opinions are like assholes. Everybody's got one, and, at Coachella, they're probably pretty sweaty. In the name of social science, I took it upon myself to accost people and grill them on which Coachella subculture irks them the most. What I didn't tell people is that they were picked to represent a demographic themselves. The results were interesting.
After the heat, the most obvious thing about this whole shindig is the absolutely overwhelming abundance of attractive girls. And most of them are of a particular style: Flowers in the hair, cut-off mom jeans, bikini top—I figured they were a good place to start.
So what are the kinds of people you find at Coachella?
Hippies! Celebrities...Everyone in the world. That's what I love about Coachella. It's everyone and everyone. I've seen 13-year-olds cracked out of their minds. I've seen a baby! Bad parents.
Clint Eastwood was here. I've seen a 90 year old!
Do they all live in harmony?
Yes! Everybody's so nice here. Everyone gets along. I've never seen a fight break out.
From a foreigner's point of view it's really friendly.
Are you Australian?
No! We're Canadian and South African.
How come you find so many Australians at festivals?
Wait! What happened to harmony?
I just don't like their accents. Australians are annoying. I feel like they all group together...They might as well have stayed in Australia. They're nice, though. I'm just being a bitch. It's all about meeting new kinds of people.
What kinds of new people have you met this week?
I've met Australians, I've met San Diego-ians, I've met the nicest Americans from Newport Beach and the most amazing girl from Canada ever that actually lives in West Hollywood.
I'm convinced that the reason Australia has the lowest population density of any first world country is because every Aussie between the ages of 19 and 31 spends their youth galavanting around worldwide party destinations. I had to know more.
Why are there so many Australians at festivals?
I dunno, there's something about it—the drugs? Australians love to travel. And because we're so far away from everything else, once we go, we go far.
What's your perspective on other Aussies?
I actually get really defensive and I hate them.
It's like seeing your doppelganger or something. You meet a lot of young Aussies who travel abroad for six months and give us a bad name. They wear the Aussie flag like a cape, sing 'Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oy Oy Oy"...I'm a bit ashamed of it, to be honest.
So who are the types of people you find at Coachella?
There's a lot of LA bros. They're everywhere. They look like they've been going to the gym for the past six months just to get their rig out at Coachella, pre-tanning and all that shit. They've got the black sunnies, the backwards caps, the wife-beaters with the flamingos.
Who else do you find here?
Lots of Asians. Lots of Aussies. There's your older, hippie style folks who don't wanna let go. They bring their kids sometimes. Then there's everyone else, the normals.
So who is the worst?
The worst? Nobody causes any trouble. Everyone's good here. That's what I like about Coachella: Everyone's happy. Everyone's paid good money to come, they just wanna see good music, take some good drugs and have a good time.
Fashion gays are the best because they smell nice and are happy to talk shit. Most of them spent the whole time in the Yuma Tent but I found these two dudes emerging for a brief moment in the sunlight.
Has this place changed over the years?
It's changed a lot. There's less girls with flower crowns this year, which is cool, because they're always like 'who is this?' and you're like "uh, this is one of the best bands ever, and you're just taking up space."
There's some bro guys, too. They smell really bad. They don't smell worse than burners, though.
There were crews of Asians everywhere. It wasn't quite at EDC levels, but they're definitely a visible and opinionated contingent.
Who are the subcultures you find at Coachella?
A lot of hipsters. And a lot of them are assholes
A lot of them are douchebags.
Why don't you like them?
Just because they're kind of rude. Really rude.
What about the bros?
There's a lot of bros here. I don't like it.
They're not so bad, are they?
They are! It's whatever. The ones staying across from us at the campgrounds are filthy. And the ones we've run into are really rude. They're just douchebags. There are a lot of them in fraternities.
What's the issue here?
You would think that everybody's all loving and stuff, but not everybody is...There's a few, but a lot of them we've encountered that have been rude. Especially when we're being polite, and they'll be rude back.
I'd say hippies over hipsters. Hippies are all good. If you're respectful, it's all good. It's all love.
NERDY GUY WHO'S SUDDENLY A CHICK MAGNET
Tucked into the corners you sometimes run across the LAN Party badass who brings a 2:1 girl-to-guy ratio to the festival. These kids have a lot to say because Coachella basically re-enacts the same social stratifications as high school did, except now they're getting laid...maybe.
Tell me about the folks you find at Coachella.
A lot of bros in the Sahara tent. Bros and people here for their first time that are wearing heels.
What's the beef with bros?
When they get there, they mosh hard. And it is a little bit scary sometimes. They've always been really nice. They just look intimidating when they dance. They're like big elephants. I had a bro try to hi-five me and he missed my hand and hit my face. They're like puppies that are growing in and don't know how big their paws are.
THE YOUTH OF AMERICA
Kids! Goddamned children! I found this crew of 14-15-year-olds at one of the installations. The good thing about teenagers is that they have more opinions than zits and are actually surprisingly on point about most things.
Okay okay so break down some of the demographics here.
There's a lot of stoners here, a lot of young high schoolers. A bunch of older people into the throwback bands and young adults looking to get fucked up.
It's full of white girls! Girls that don't know music and just wanna show off their cleavage. There are a lot of putas here. We've been counting nip slips.
We are currently at seven.
We shit you not! Seven!
Which of the stereotypes here annoys you the most?
The crowd at Lorde was really annoying to me.
People who come to one band and bitch and moan about everything else...People who are complete assholes. You gotta have a nice aura around you.
What about Burners? What do you think of The Do LaB?
They're all super nice! The people your parents tell you to avoid when you're little.
They're the nicest people. They're so cool!
They're mean. They're the only people here who think they're better than you, so they're assholes. Everybody else here knows that we're all equal.
What about the bros?
it depends if they're your bros!
I already knew that Burners (i.e. people who go to Burning Man) wouldn't talk shit about anybody, but I still felt compelled to represent them in this demographic analysis. Pro-tip: A burner's version of shit-talking is not offering praise.
Who are the people you find at Coachella?
It's everything, that's the great thing about Coachella, it's not about a specific scene. It's the entire world.
It's a mashup, man!
We met our friend Carl at Coachella!
And who are you guys?
Us? We're just people trying to have a good time.
Most of us are Burners, so, like, this is not that weird.
Most of this sort are backstage, consuming free beverages, name-dropping and complaining about something. This girl was actually pretty chill, though, and more than happy to break things down for me.
Okay, what is going on here socially?
Right now, 2014, you have your bros, [with] "show me your tits" t-shirts and rager hats, probably popping molly and getting turned up. That's a big culture. Then you have your musical elitists. They're like, 'oh well i saw the Pixies so long ago'...They feel like they're too cool for everything. Then you have people who actually like the festival vibe. Real festival people. That's how Coachella started. I'm really good friends with like [Coachella founder] Paul Tollett and stuff. They created this because they really fucking love music. I like that crew of people. The people who are there for the vibe of what it's like to have 20,000 people sing the same song. Does that not give you a rush? You don't have to be on any drugs to feel something from that. I sang along to Pharrell's "Happy". Do I think that's a musically great song? No. But how many people were singing along with me. That's festival people.
And then I found them. The instigators of so much desert ire. The shirtless bros. Are they really that bad? After all, we're all just trying to have a good time, right?
When you think about all the different kinds of people that come together here, what comes to mind?
I think everyone's just trying to hide something from their parents.
Where do you spend most of your time?
Y'know, the beach.
No I mean at Coachella!
Oh! The Sahara tent. Because of the fucking sun, man! But in general, compared to, like, Ultra, I feel a way more chill vibe is going on here. I was just there last week, and it was just ravers, fucking, everyone just candyflipping, bright colors, 'I'm in Miami, bitch' tank tops. Everyone here is kind of cool. Everyone is comfortable and unique here. They're proud of it and I like that.
For me, I don't care about the music. I just want to be with the people, I want to flow with the people and see good energy.
I'm here for the girls. I'm here for the bitches. It's all vibe. It's all vibes. Don't you work for Vibe Magazine?
How come none of you are sunburned without shirts on?
We've been rubbing each other down. It's called a bro rub. a brub
Bro rubbing is acceptable.
You know, I really didn't see any hipsters at Coachella. Something has happened. Either hipsters don't exist anymore or everyone's a hipster. I can't tell. Those reticent few who hold on to those millennial ideals of hipster-dom definitely don't go to Coachella. They stay at home, talk endless amounts of shit about the whole thing, and then stream all of Coachella on their computers. Just like this guy.
Jemayel Khawaja is mostly Hipster but also aspiring Burner. He's on Twitter - @JemayelK
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