The Do LaB Stage is a Wormhole from Coachella to Burning Man

…And that’s a Good Thing for Burner Culture

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is a behemoth of the festival world. The event offers some of the best production value, most sophisticated logistics, and cutting edge performances in the music industry. Each Spring aficionados, artists, socialites and gaggles of young festival fans make the pilgrimage to Indio, California to experience new music and epic reunions as well as to see and to be seen in the picturesque Southern California desert. Promoter Goldenvoice runs a powerful operation that grossed $85 million in 2016. With increased attendance caps the event is only going to grow. From this perspective, Coachella is an enormous success.

However, for members of the Burning Man -inspired alternative (sometimes called transformational) festival scene, Coachella typifies a mainstream ethos in stark contrast to their counterculture values. The two marquee events share some similarities but many differences. Coachella is an expertly executed mega-concert with every detail managed by a sophisticated team whereas Burning Man is an experiment in mindful community produced by its participants. Black Rock City is a space for interaction, immediacy and participation whereas attendees of Coachella maintain more insular groups with friends engaging with each other and with the music directly. Both events involve a particular statement of personal style but while Coachella is the trendsetter for mainstream summer fashion, at Burning Man self-expression is intended to be radically individual.