Coachella has become a massive spectacle now. It didn’t start out that way.
I’ve been to the spectacle on two occasions. The first time was in 2007 when Rage Against the Machine played their reunion show. The second time was a few years later. I don’t think I would have went the first time around if it wasn’t for Rage. I’ve always been a huge fan of 90s music from West Coast/East Coast Hip Hop to the South’s Hip Hop artists (i.e., Scarface, Geto Boys, etc) to Grunge to the various Alternative Rock scenes.
I’ve been to more shows and music festivals than I can count. Music has played a large part in my life like everyone else. It has shaped a good number of my views and memories. I can still remember the song played during my last dance in junior high but I couldn’t tell you the same for my prom. I think it had a lot to do with being high AF throughout high school. Now, that’s not a glorification of drugs. It was my teenage years.
I’ve seen some amazing artists and bands throughout my life. I think we all dreamed of being rock stars when we were young. I’ve always envied their ability to convey their vulnerability in a powerful way. Their ability to communicate emotions through words and voice is something to admire.
I was at Street Scene when Tool played their reunion show. The crowd was starting to get rowdy and Maynard noticed it. He saw people pushing people against the fence to get closer to them. He stopped the show and ask everyone to relax then take a few steps back to make room for people in the front. He didn’t restart the show until it occurred. It was a scene I would never forget.
The artists know their ability to influence their fans. They have massive influence and their fans follow them to the end. Literally. With the platform, it comes with great responsibility. It should not be used to manipulate people or abuse the privilege.
As reflect back to April 2007, the crowd exploded when Zack appeared on stage then Tom hit the first riff of Bulls On Parade. The crowd’s energy moved the whole field and there was no choice but to move with the crowd. Bands like Rage have a message with their music and they use their platform to send that message.
On the other hand, there are social media celebrities who have large followings without a message. Their whole thing is to be famous for the sake of being famous. There’s no real value in it at all. There is no bigger picture or social message they’re selling except narcissism. It’s a fascinating alternative reality like TV.
Furthermore, there’s the internet stage. For example, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and so forth. How much should they filter ‘fake news’ on their respective platforms? What should be allowed and what should not? It’s a grey area to how much they should filter while creating an environment where people can express themselves.
With all that said, I strongly believe having a stage comes with great responsibility. It should be used to move the human race forward as a whole instead of taking it a couple of steps back. However, ‘forward’ is a subjective word and so is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ when it comes to a lot of topics today. My last words would be…
Having A Stage Comes With Responsibility