Tunes For the People: Is there a problem with Coachella?

Music festivals have always been a good spot for friends and family to enjoy themselves and create fond memories that will live for years to come, but a certain festival shifts all of that.

Coachella has recently gone under fire due to the owner’s controversial ideologies and donations to far-right groups and fascist organizations. With the setlist and headliners being recently published, how far deep does the controversy go?

As of 2017, multiple news outlets, such as Billboard, have reported on Philip Anschutz, the festival’s owner, and his consistent donations to the Republican Party, one of which is the National Republican Senate Committee when he openly donated $138,000 in hopes to grow the Republican Senate majority. He has also donated reportedly $1 million to Republican causes as a whole.

While he is open about his political views, he has openly donated the money earned from the festival to controversial organizations, such as the Alliance Defending Freedom, the National Christian Foundation and the Family Research Council. All three of these organizations have a history of anti-LGBT views and programs. Earlier in 1998, Westword Magazine reported a story that Philip had donated $100,000 to Bob Dole’s Republican think-tank, and that he had reportedly donated $10,000 to supporters of the anti-gay rights Amendment 2.

Recently, artists like Ariana Grande and Childish Gambino have come under fire for accepting to perform at this concert despite the controversies that follow through with it. Ariana herself has tweeted about her excitement about performing at the festival, and being the youngest person ever to headline it, despite all of the controversies. This backlash leaves the question on what artists and attendees should do if they’re going to be attending the festival.

Shannon O’Quinn, a MRHS sophomore and open LGBT activist, suggested that the artists and concertgoers should use the festival as a platform of peace and love in order to flip the controversies of the owner.

With Coachella around the corner, no artists have pulled out of performing in spite of the controversies and conversations surrounding the festival as a whole. Multiple people have also recommended using the concert as a way to spread the opposite message as a moment of personal liberation and peace, but with the way things have unfolded before, it’s unsure whether if the speech will overcome the profit.