Coachella festival funds bigoted organizations

Courtesy of USA Today
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is held yearly in California. In 2017, the weekend attendance was approximately 250,000 individuals.

Hallie Lauer | Features & Layout Editor

04/19/2018

We are at the end of Coachella season, my friends, and you know what that means: flower crowns galore. But maybe there is a little more to it.

Like the fact that your $499 (or $999 if you get VIP tickets) go to a man named Philip Anschutz. Anschutz is the head of Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), the company that launched Coachella, along with a number of other music festivals. The problem with Anschutz becoming a billionaire off of these festivals is that he turns right around and donates money to traditionally anti-LGBTQIA+ organizations, and according to Greenpeace, he is a “financer of climate science denial.”

Now this news isn’t new. The Washington Post reported on this in 2016, yet almost 99,000 people still go to Coachella, and Anschutz denied the allegations as fake news.

However, tax records cannot be denied so easily. In January of this year, Pitchfork released an article that said between the years of 2010 and 2013, Anschutz “gave $190,000 to anti-gay groups.”

After the initial outcry, the organization stopped giving money to three known groups such as Alliance Defending Freedom, Family Research Council and National Christian Foundation. However, donations to groups with a history of being anti-LGBTQIA+ are still surfacing.

You might be thinking now that it’s not so bad. At least he stopped for the most part, right? But that itself is bad. Being complacent is bad and complacency will be the reason that nothing ever changes. What got Anschutz to change initially was the fact that people were boycotting Coachella, but with ticket sales close to 100,000, it is obvious that the outrage is waning.

That is happening because people have stopped talking about it. But we should not stop talking about it until everyone, regardless of gender, race or sexual orientation can go to a music festival without having to know that the person who made it all happen is actively working against equality.

Do not let your voices go silent. The only thing that will completely change the behavior of Anschutz and his company is the outrage of the people. Celebrities like Cara Delevingne have spoken out against Coachella with the hashtag #nochella, and hopefully more people will follow.

In this day and age, when there is already so much hate in the world, why would you want to support the spread of even more hatred? If you’re in it for the music and the atmosphere, there are plenty of other festivals you can attend, like Bonnaroo or Lollapalooza, that don’t fund anti-LGBTQIA+ groups, and often are cheaper than Coachella.

The problem here is not that Anschutz is a conservative; the problem here is that he is homophobic and using people’s hard earned money that they are trying to spend to enjoy good music to push his agenda. Instead, you could be supporting other music festivals and artists that are not associated with this homophobic view, or you could go even further and donate money to groups that are allied with LGBTQIA+ equality like GLAAD.

No matter what though, the hatred needs to stop, and once it stops here a trend begins. Be the start of a trend that could help your best friend, sibling or future significant other.

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