Postmodernism: Deconstructing Coachella

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  • Topic: Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Music, Coachella Valley
  • Pages : 6 (1959 words )
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  • Published : May 11, 2013
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Giulia Nunnari
English
Grade 12
Postmodernism
Donnel
02/14/ 2012
Coachella Destruction

Since its beginning, the Coachella music festival has seen a rise in popularity and price, attracting not only a wider audience but also exhibiting a greater tendency toward “mainstream” music. Though the culture of the festival itself has changed, the poster that advertises it has remained surprisingly the same. The poster depicts the bare Indio Valley with a mountain in the background, palm trees across the horizon, and a dramatic sky taking over much of the space. In the forefront, the three-day line-up is displayed. The poster never contains advertisements, the font is always the same, and the structure of the line-up never changes. With this layout Coachella places the music at the center of the festival, but upon deconstructing this poster and removing that center, it is clear that it is also creating a carefully constructed image of an idyllic, tranquil, and understated event that is committed to maintaining its originality. However, this is in fact a crafted image and Coachella is far more affected by the presence of its audience. Ultimately the poster serves a practical purpose, informing Coachella-goers of the bands that will be participating on each day of the festival. Although the festival clearly has other aspects, the music is the only part presented in writing, ascribing special importance to it. The poster is constructed as a triad, separating the three days of the weekend, and the music played during each of the days. The Saturday line-up is central, which implicates its importance and the bands playing that day as central to the Coachella music experience. Furthermore the poster shows a hierarchy of music with most important bands displayed with the boldest font and other bands in progressively smaller font, based on their supposed popularity and importance. Clearly, by following this structure the organizers of Coachella view the lineup as the central tool with which to draw people in. In beginning to deconstruct the poster and shifting the focus away from the music at the center, all that is left is the distinctive “Coachella” logo, which has remained the same since the festival’s beginning. Everything down to the brush stroke font creates an automatic association with the festival, the music, and art it represents. Unlike other concert posters, the Coachella poster contains no advertisements or warning labels. This helps to maintain that image of simple devotion to the artistic elements of the festival. Furthermore, the background image presents an idyllic representation of the Indio valley landscape. Every year the poster has featured the same mountain range and reaching skyline, with colors ranging between tranquil blues and pink golden sunsets. This understated style of imaging automatically draws the focus to the music, but it also creates a peaceful narrative around the festivals desert location. The sprawling fields of bright green grass invite potential attendees in, tempting them with openness and distance from modern consumerist culture. Ultimately this markets Coachella as a “mini vacation” that can appeal to audiences of all ages. In reality, on the weekend of the Coachella festival the Indio Valley is in stark opposition to this projected image. Although the mountains, palm trees, and fields do exist they are hardly untouched by consumerism as the poster shows. Hundreds of food vendors line the field in white tents, and after a few hours the accumulation of garbage is evidence of the heavy consumerism actually taking place. Beyond this, the five main stages disrupt the landscape and draw massive crowds of people who transform the grassy fields into dirt lots. Despite the poster’s attempt to appear serene, Coachella has a reputation for its audience members’ heavy use of alcohol and drugs. This leads to much reckless behavior and destruction, further contradicting the idea that...
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