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Is Coachella indicative of what social media has turned music festivals into?

Coachela 2014 "festival style" fashion
Getty Images

USATODAY released a video April 21 detailing the styles for Coachella 2014. They titled the segment, “What is Coachellafestival style’?” Carly Mallenbaum and Arienne Thompson both mention that Coachella has just become a “big catwalk” for celebrities.

As Thompson explains what “festival style” fashion looks like, she begins by saying, “Oh festival style, I’m so over it,” as she wears what seems to be the looks she describes for this year’s Coachella clothing: Fringe, comfortable fashion, Urban Outfitters' style clothing.

Mellanbaum says that, based off of the photos circulating via Instagram from Coachella, it seems that the festival itself has indeed evolved into becoming a platform for another celebrity fashion week. In fact, in an app called Pixifly (which searches Instagram photos by event, location, or time), when you search for all Coachella related photos, most of what you’ll see are a stream of Coachella fashion pics and selfies.

The focus of Coachella shifting from solely music to a combination of both fashion and music is further validated with H&M’s sponsorship. Although, H&M has been a long time sponsor of Coachella for five years, this year they’ve collaborated with fashion designer Alexander Wang; and that announcement became a major headline for Coachella in online news.

CSMonitor.com even reported that H&M describes Coachella as an “ideal venue to launch new product lines.” With that said, it is likely that H&M (and other fashion retailers) will make a tradition out of using Coachella as a platform for product releases.

As social media continues to heighten it’s value in media posts over texts, this lends further to the idea of other music festivals focusing less on music and more on opportunities for celebrity fashion displays. Though theoretically, any existing event that features celebrities ultimately becomes a catwalk -- social sharing essentially elicits attention into that idea even deeper.

CSMonitor.com calls Coachella "a marketing maelstrom.” In essence, it is claiming that the event itself is an opportune place for marketers aiming to receive millennial visibility. With social media playing a large role in word-of-mouth marketing, and especially among millenials, the statements strongly holds true. And until video becomes more prominent among social sharing, music events may run a risk of being dominated by fashion imagery.