The sun is out, and music festival season is upon us. But just what kind of toll does attending a three-day concert take on students’ academics, as well as their bank account? And what are professors being told by students who miss class?
Weekend one of Coachella took place in Indio, Calif. Friday, April 12 through Sunday, April 14. Because the festival began on Friday many students made their way down on Thursday. Some even leave Wednesday night if they are camping to get in car security lines when they open at 4:30 a.m. Thursday morning.
Attending Coachella often entails students missing multiple classes they may not necessarily have the chance to “make up.”
Industrial technology and packaging junior Dan Seplovich bought his Coachella ticket in August 2018 during pre-sale before the music festival’s lineup was released.
“Right when I found out what classes I was going to be taking for the spring quarter, I emailed my teachers saying that I was going to be out of town that weekend,” Seplovich said. “I didn’t say specifically that I was going to Coachella.”
Seplovich said he skipped three classes and a lab, nine hours of class total. Seplovich was also told that although he did not have to be in his product design and development class to take a quiz Thursday, he was still required to take it online. The quiz opened Thursday morning and closed Sunday night. Seplovich said he completed the quiz on his phone in Indio before the festival started, but he said it was really difficult because there was hardly any service in the campgrounds. Seplovich said he made sure to have the notes he needed for the quiz on his phone before leaving.
The campgrounds are 30’X10,’ and there is very little space in-between each camp — meaning the noise levels at all times are relatively high compared to staying in a secluded hotel room.
Aerospace engineering freshman Reid Berke said he skipped eight classes — 10 hours in total — including two chemistry labs to attend Coachella weekend one. Berke said he told his teachers about a week in advance that he had prior arrangements to attend an event.
“I was telling them I made a monetary investment, and I said I didn’t want to pull out because I would lose a lot of money,” Berke said. “Missing the lab probably hurt the most.”
Berke said he had to accept a zero on a linear algebra quiz he was not able to make up, but he will be able to drop the quiz at the end of the quarter.
Berke said he left Wednesday night at 9 pm., arrived in Indio at about 4 a.m. and waited in a car camping line for about three hours to finally arrive at their campsite at 7 a.m. Thursday morning.
More likely than not, students opt out of actually telling their professors they are going to a music festival.
Mustang News reached out to professors at Cal Poly to find out what students told them they were doing during that particular weekend.
Industrial and manufacturing engineering lecturer Karla Carichner said she does not think she had any students try to lie to her about where they were going. Carichner said usually her students will check the schedule and reach out to her if they were going to miss an assignment.
“They can understand the impact of it in terms of their grade, because I tell them how much they get for what I call participation, and so that’s showing up and participating in class,” Carichner said.
Carichner told Mustang News that attending a musical festival is not an excused absence and that her students would lose points if they skipped class.
“I’ve made it clear,” Carichner said. “I’ve said, going to a concert is not an excused absence. There are very few excused absences.”
So what is the cost?
At face value, Coachella tickets range from $429 without a shuttle pass to $509 with a shuttle pass. However, according to the website Billboard, general admission weekend-one tickets sold out within 40 minutes on Jan. 4, 2019.
Seplovich told Mustang News he spent about a total of $715. These expenses included the ticket, gas, food (in and out of the festival), clothes and his camping pass. These prices do not include how much every class skipped at Cal Poly costs.
Kinesiology sophomore Ally Schasteen said she spent about $945 total to attend Coachella. Broken down by each item, Schasteen spent $600 on her ticket, because she bought it off a friend when tickets were already sold out. She said she also spent $150 on food in and outside of the venue, $50 on gas, $45 for a camping pass and $100 for other things.
Schasteen told Mustang News she spent around $15-17 a day inside the venue.
“I spent $17 on a snow cone one day,” Schasteen said.
Coachella will hold its second weekend April 19 through April 21. The following weekend Stagecoach Country Music, another popular 3-day music festival among Cal Poly students, will be held at the same venue. Lighting in a Bottle (May 8 through May 13) is also right around the corner, at Buena Vista Lake.
Stagecoach tickets start at a general admission price of $349 with no shuttle pass and $429 with a shuttle pass. A 4-day festival pass for Lighting in a Bottle is $396.82, and a 5-day pass (arrival on Wednesday) is $458.62.
Seplovich told Mustang News he originally bought a Lighting in the Bottle ticket and had plans to go, but later sold it.
Although the festival is expensive and academically time-consuming, Berke said, “experience-wise it was definitely worth it to miss the classes.”
“I think everyone should go at least once in their life,” Berke said. “I’m going to be going every year now until I graduate.”