Does the East Coast need a Coachella?

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By Darren Johnson
Campus News

Coachella — the running California festival of vanity, sexuality and some music — is a West Coast phenomenon that I’m glad hasn’t caught on here. It’s like a never-ending Woodstock, without the authenticity, purpose or soul.

From what I can gather, it’s a scantily clad festival where people with good looks are rewarded by VIP treatment, there’s lots of drinking and drug use, and maybe even some rape.

The event seems to float on the meaningless wave of Southern California B-celebrity culture — its celebration of people who have looks, do pornography in their spare time and offer nothing more. The Paris Hiltons, Kim Kardashians, etc. Then there’s lots of traffic, vexing the little town near where the festival is held.

Howard Stern recently and hilariously opined on his radio show how gawky, awkward teen Howard would have surely struck out at such an event. The women there would have mocked him. He lamented an alternate reality where his teen self attended Coachella.

But I wonder if something like this could work on the East Coast. Surely, someone is trying to duplicate that here. I’d lived in the Hamptons for a long time. That region may have a similar attitude as Coachella — at least in the summer — but the highways couldn’t handle the traffic, nor would the locals allow it. Many of the fun bars I used to go to there were closed due to NIMBYism. People peeing in parking lots and such offended the millionaires who moved there in the 1990s.

Now I live in the Saratoga Springs region; the highways are wider, and there are some rich folks, but the culture is much less vapid. There is a concert venue, SPAC, that brings in all the Phish fans each year — and the park is littered with spent balloons (that had once had laughing gas in them) after — but Phish fans are not quite the Coachella type.

That said, a lot of the high end brands are on the East Coast, and they seem to sponsor the ostentatious West Coast festival. It seems — technically — something like that could work here.

Let’s hope not, though.