When I read this article about EDM setting the stage (pun intended) for Outkast "flopping" at Coachella Weekend 1 this year, I couldn't help but agree with nearly everything the author said. I still agree, even though they moved up the hit songs on their Weekend 2 setlist and thus garnered a more positive response from the audience.

This was my first Coachella and I found that, like Burning Man (which I have also been to) it's become nearly identical to any other electronic dance party massive sparkly unicornfest. Burning Man, while not technically a music festival, gets more "rave-y" with each passing year. It's starting to feel like EDM is the opportunistic real estate developer of music scenes, always scouting for fertile soil (places and/or events where large groups of young people gather and get sloshed) in which to plant their product and watch their portfolio grow.

Talk to any music fan about this and they will likely tell you how depressing it is. But this little festival-goer found a silver lining under the raging storm cloud of molly powder mixed with glitter and sweat: while the non-EDM acts still brought a crowd, it was a much smaller one, making it much easier to get a view of the artist(s) you came to see and listen to. I was close enough to actually see Neutral Milk Hotel on stage, meaning I was really close by Coachella standards; as always, the band prohibits recording during their show, even by the professionals, so they weren't on the big screens at all. I go back and forth with my self and my music-loving friends about how necessary being able to see the band is at a concert. After all, you came for the music, not the people, right? Unless you're on mushrooms, "seeing music" shouldn't be that important.

But it is important if you, like me, need a reminder that you came to see your favourite artists put on a good show. It's important if you go to Coachella or any other festival for the music and not just the "music festival experience". I'm not saying you're a terrible person or that you're ruining good music if you go to festivals just for the experience and/or the EDM shows that are more about partying than the music itself. My childhood-best-friend-turned-Coachella-buddy and I talked about this more than once last weekend; everyone has a different reason for going and no one reason is better than another.

What would be truly depressing, though, is if these large music festivals removed non-EDM music from Coachella altogether. During his set, Beck excitedly informed the audience of a phone conversation he had back in 1999 that ended with him agreeing to play at the very first Coachella. Hopefully this reached the blown-out eardrums of the shoulder riders, if any of them were listening, and reminded them that while Coachella has featured electronic acts since the very beginning, it wasn't always such an EDM-centric festival. The afore-mentioned edm.com piece echoes this by saying (of Outkast):

"Fifteen years ago when lyrics-based hip-hop ran the popular music scene, a Coachella audience would go crazy for a show like this."

So, what's the real problem with the possibility of Coachella becoming strictly Skrillex & Friends? I, as a Coachella newbie who was never there for 'The Golden Age' (thanks for playing that one by the way, Beck), don't really have anything to compare my experience to other than what my imagination conjures up. At the risk of a lightning bolt striking me where I sit at my laptop, I'm going to admit that I didn't have too much of a problem with this so-called depressing transformation that Coachella has apparently gone through. I like the feeling of hanging out with my favorite artists and other fans who know at least some of the lyrics while everyone else shoulder-rides to Krewella and Flosstradamus. Sadly, though, artists who don't get the warm welcome they expected and deserved are going to move away from mainstream festivals, and they have every right to do so. But I wouldn't mind going to a couple more Coachellas where those of us who go more for the music can get the whole festival experience and turn out for the non-electronic shows to remind our faves that we still love them, even if the festival culture doesn't.