I am a massive fan of music, concerts and especially music festivals. When so many of my favorite artists join together in one space for a full weekend of exhilarating concerts and positive energy from the people around me, it sounds like a dream. So it only seems logical to want to go to Coachella in California for the festival in mid-April and for a long time I wanted to join the bandwagon. That is until just recently, when I heard about the problematic accusations about the founder of Coachella, Philip Anschutz.
Coachella is a weekend long event with big name artists such as Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar and so many more. The festival brings in over a hundred artists for the entirety of the weekend. The tickets cost $399 for general admission, $899 for VIP passes and another $99 is added for car and tent camping. Basically, the festival is making a ton of money each year, but where is the money going?
Anschutz, one of the richest people in America with a net worth of $12.9 billion, has been giving large amounts of money to the Alliance Defending Freedom, the National Christian Foundation and the Family Research Council. These groups are actively working against the LGBTQ community and publicly express their anti-LGBTQ beliefs. On the Family Research Council’s website, it states, “Family Research Council believes that homosexual conduct is harmful to the persons who engage in it and to society at large, and can never be affirmed.”
The money Anschutz is making goes to so many charities with the same ideals, including The Navigators, Dare 2 Share Ministries, Young Life, Center for Urban Renewal and Education and Movieguide Awards. Each one of these charities have commented about the LGBTQ community with a negative connotation.
Personally, I find it hard to want to buy such an expensive ticket to have my money support organizations that go against my beliefs, even with an exciting lineup of artists. Former Coachella fans went to twitter with the hashtag #BoycottCoachella to scrutinize future festival-goers for their decision to choose a music show over a core belief in basic human rights, such as the right to marry who you please.
In 2017, after the hashtag gained so much fire on social media, Anschutz made a public statement denying the accusations about being anti-LGBTQ even with his massive support for these charities from 2010-2016. He stated, “recent claims published in the media that I am anti-LGBTQ are nothing more than fake news — it is all garbage. I unequivocally support the rights of all people without regard to sexual orientation.” The tax statements for the Anschutz Foundation have not been released for 2017 yet.
So before you decide to invest in 2019 tickets to this gigantic festival in California, remember that the money is going to a right-wing billionaire who is actively funding anti-LGBTQ causes. The festival you really want to go to has positive supporters putting it on and can be found elsewhere. Music is important, but equal rights and acceptance should always come first.