Ryan Chartrand

So everybody is talking about this Coachella thing. You know…that festival in the desert where one of your favorite bands is playing. I’m positive that one of your favorite bands is playing, no matter who you are.

Maybe that Rage Against the Machine reunion has got your blood pumping and you are so ready to eff this sheez up. Or maybe you’re like me and the idea of seeing any number of hyped independent bands is juicing you up. Or maybe you’re in high school and you really want to see Jack’s Mannequin.

Well, whoever you are, you have to decide if this is really worth baking in the hot Indio sun and forking over $250 of your savings.

I avoided the festival last year and deeply regretted missing what looked like an amazing Daft Punk show. I still really question why I did it. So maybe breaking down the pros and cons of the jam fest for you will do some good:

Let’s start with the good stuff. The wealth of bands lined up to perform is absolutely incredible. Just having a Jesus and Mary Chain reunion is an incredible asset all by itself. But with the addition of The Arcade Fire, Air and Bjork as some of the other big names sprawled across the three days, there’s some definite talent to enjoy.

In addition, you are surrounded by thousands of people who love these bands as much as you do. In addition, you get to camp. And camping is rad. Trust me.

So why am I so scared of going to Coachella? First, it just doesn’t seem like a genuine music experience to me. I’m more than a little put off by crawling through throngs of Arctic Monkeys fans in order to find some backwoods stage where I can hear CocoRosie get drowned out by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Second, do I really want to be in Southern California? As an out-of-stater, I have come to realize that this Southern California place is one of the scariest places imaginable.

And third, I really don’t want to throw my pocket book away for overpriced bottles of water.

But that’s me. I’m not knocking the festival. I just don’t think it’s targeted well at the music geek. I expect a connection when I see musicians, and it’s one I don’t feel like I can get at Coachella.

If you feel the same way and are willing to give up seeing your favorite band for a better concert experience, I’ll tell you what I’m doing. I’m hitting up the Folk Yeah! Festival in Big Sur from April 20 to April 21.

The two-day festival will feature great folksy acts: Tussle, Howlin’ Rain, Mystic Chords of Memory and Flying Canyon among others. And you get to trade in the hot desert for the pretty woods. Plus, I get to continue seeing Port O’Brien on a somewhat regular basis since they landed a spot at the festival. And best of all – it’s only $33, so I can spend the rest of my hard-earned money on weekend festivities.

So make your choice, and stop to think about it a bit, too. Think about what you are expecting from the experience.

Show tip: There is next to nothing I am excited about seeing next week. Or at least nothing that I’ve heard of yet. So, take this week to brush up your skills and put some songwriting to work. There’s plenty of open spaces out there for you.

Graham Culbertson is a journalism sophomore and manager of KCPR. Send any questions or recommendations to graham.culbertson@gmail.com.

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