Music by VICE

We Asked Coachella's Alt Bros About Being Alt Bros

Conversations with a newly enlightened strain of festival-goer.

by Jazper Abellera
Apr 26 2017, 4:34pm

All photos courtesy of Natalie James

If a "bro" is typically a white, muscled, douchey type of young male who likes to drink beer out of bongs, have sex with any moving object, and listen to Dillon Francis, then an "alt bro" is his subspecies counterpart: a nonconformist "anti bro" with more #woke liberal views, alternative tastes, and a developed sense of his free-spirited personal brand. The Alt Bro can be found gallivanting around music festivals like Coachella dressed in a chest-revealing fit to show off their tatted skinny-buff bro bod, while adorning themselves in accessories the average bro would never touch: silly sunglasses, vintage bandanas, puka shell necklaces, and booty shorts. The Alt Bro isn't afraid to take risks or let their freak flag fly a little bit. Armed with his iPhone, the Alt Bro is active on Twitter and Instagram (he might even have a finsta), and can definitely charm you with his ever-growing library of memes. He isn't front row rolling his face off for Martin Garrix, he's sparking up a joint in the crowd for Brodinski.

We took to Coachella weekend two to find Alt Bros in their natural habitat, congregating in the Sahara Tent to catch acts like Kaytranada and Lil Uzi Vert. What we found is that unlike your average bro, Alt Bros encompass a wider set of traits that diversify them—they're brown, black, white, straight, gay, and fluid. While not every subject we encountered that looked like an Alt Bro identified themselves as such, they all seemed to share the same common view of Coachella as a weekend-long utopia, celebrating freedom of expression and a reason to party in the face of our world's impending apocalypse.

Daniel, 16

THUMP: Are you an Alt Bro?
Daniel: I'm not an Alt Bro, I'm gay, but I think gay bros can exist with the straights.

What does Coachella mean to you?
The world can be really shitty with everything happening right now so this is an escape, like, happiness.

Joel, 23

Are you an Alt Bro?
Joel: I don't know what the fuck an Alt Bro is, but I think I am one."

What does Coachella mean to you?
The craziest festival I've ever been to.

Henry, 30

Are you an Alt Bro? 
Henry: I'd have to consider my Alt Bro. 

What does Coachella mean you? 
This is my first time coming to Coachella and I enjoy it. Coachella is LIFE, man.

Adam, 28, and Tim, 27

Are you an Alt Bro?
Adam: Not really, no. I think I'm pretty mainstream.

What does Coachella mean you?
Coachella is fun, an opportunity to go crazy, and spend time with friends.

Kenny, 21

Are you an Alt Bro?
Kenny: Yes.

What does Coachella mean you?
This is my first year, it's been pretty good, I plan on coming next year.

David, 22, and Eric, 23

Are you an Alt Bro? 
David: I don't know, I'm still learning more about the Alt Bro vibe.

What does Coachella mean you?

Coachella means everybody coming together and listening to good music. Vacation.

Jeffrey, 17

Are you an Alt Bro?
Jeffrey: Not necessarily, I'm only somewhat into the bro life.

What does Coachella mean you?
Fun. Getting high and drunk!

Brett, 23

Are you an Alt Bro?
Brett: Yeah, I'm alternative because I like to look and feel good. I want to start making the world a healthier place, starting with my friends and family. Eat right and healthy and you can party longer!

What does Coachella mean you?
Relaxing, getting away from studies, and having a good time.

Chris, 24

Are you an Alt Bro?
Chris: Yes, definitely I'm an Alt Bro. I'm all about being able to mix all my different styles with different cultures. I love high fashion, I love urban, I love everything. I just love doing different things and just accepting all different types of ways of life.

What does Coachella mean you?
It means a lot to me, getting together, having fun, and getting away.

Kyrie, 28, and Jiron, 29

Are you an Alt Bro?
Kyrie: For sure. Yes, because life is full circle no matter the race, and this is a good place to pull it altogether.

What does Coachella mean to you?
Self-expression at the highest point. Individualism, no judgement.

Austin, 23

Are you an Alt Bro?
Austin: When it comes down to music, yes, I'm an Alt Bro, but I'm just a straight guy doing my own thing.

What does Coachella mean to you?
Good music in all forms.

Adrian (22)

Are you an Alt Bro?
Adrian: Yeah, I'm all about trying different things, a little bit of everything.

What does Coachella mean to you?
This is my first time ever being here, one word is CRAZY.

Bradley, 25, and Gabriel, 25

Are you an Alt Bro?
Bradley: No way, I'm a soul surfer. My soul gets released into the water and expands on the horizons.

What does Coachella mean to you?
Coachella means everything. Coachella is good vibes and good people coming together.

Brendan, "Ageless," and Capito, "Forever young"

Are you an Alt Bro?
Brendan: I don't live an alternative lifestyle, I just live my life, I don't know if it conforms or doesn't conform. I live whatever and do what God's leading me to do.

What does Coachella mean to you?
It's dope, a lot of different artists, a lot of different cultures, it's my first time, and I'll definitely be coming back. It's a vibe.

Zohair, 31

Are you an Alt Bro?
Zohair: Not necessarily, no.

What does Coachella mean to you?
Amazing landscape, good music, good vibes, great people.

Brandon, 21

Are you an Alt Bro?
Brandon: Oh, absolutely! I'm in a fraternity too, it's funny, because I know that I'm the hobbit of the town. It's fun though, you gotta do what you gotta do, and live.

What does Coachella mean to you?
I'm from the Valley so Coachella is home.

Kyle, 21

Are you an Alt bro?
Kyle: Of course, definitely. I try to do things different every time I step outside of the house.

What does Coachella mean to you?
Being able to come out here and 100% be yourself, be whoever you wanna be, and have fun with your friends doing it.

Nate, 22

Are you an Alt Bro?
Nate: Not necessarily, I like to live my lifestyle but at the same time I feel no one should be judged for anything they do, so I do whatever I want and that's it.

What is does Coachella mean to you?
When you come here everyone should be free to do whatever they want. In your everyday life, you might feel judged, but when you come here, everyone's free, and it's all love.

Isaiah, 24

Are you an Alt Bro?
Isaiah: Of course, it's our generation, it's always taught us to try the unknown, do the unbelievable, and just go out on a limb and be yourself. Don't bound yourself to any statistics or anything like that, just be yourself. That's why I love our generation, they might say the last was wild, but we're the fuckin' wildest. We're like the new hippies.

What does Coachella mean to you? 
It has a really significant meaning to me because I moved out here five years ago from Arkansas, and this has been part of my thing since I moved out here. I'm just here for the experience, the love, and the good energy.

J.R., 24

Are you an Alt Bro?
J.R.: To be honest, I'm real diverse and shit, I fuck with everyone, all types.

    What does Coachella mean to you?
    Just having fun and shit. Squashing all the negative vibes, it's all about the positivity. Fuck people who kill my high and shit.

    Mark, 33, and Bobby, 28

    Are you an Alt Bro?
    Mark: To be honest with you, I consider myself a bro but at the same time a hood girl so I understand both sides of the game. So for me, I'm like, why can't we all just be fluid? If you wanna do what you wanna do, do what you wanna do, and if I wanna do what I wanna do, that should be cool with you too, right? And that's the way I live my life.

    What does Coachella mean to you?
    I'm coming free as myself, and whoever I meet, let's spread love, that's what it's about.

    Are you an Alt Bro?
    Bobby: Absolutely not. I consider myself Bobby Bowen, some girls would call me a queen, but you gotta figure that out for yourself.

    What does Coachella mean to you?
    Coachella means good vibes, love, energy, amazing friends and family. Coachella is love. I love it all. LOVE.