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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Coachella versus Picnic Day

Facebook newsfeeds across the UC Davis network were bustling with more activity than usual at the late hours on Jan. 18. What was it that had everyone so excited? Another huge artist performing at Freeborn? More Snoop Dogg tickets? Nope. It was the announcement of the Coachella line-up.

After a number of fake posters and announcements were posted online, the official line-up for the three-day festival was revealed and music lovers rejoiced at the collection of artists that had agreed to play at the famous festival in Indio, Calif.

UC Davis students were able to share in the excitement as well, until they saw that this year’s Coachella weekend (April 15 to 17) happened to fall on a particularly important day – the long-awaited yearly Picnic Day.

For some students, the decision was a no-brainer. Tim Chin, a junior technocultural studies major and the promotions coordinator for the Entertainment Council, barely gave Picnic Day a moment’s thought.

“I like too many of the bands that are performing this year. It was an opportunity I couldn’t miss,” he said.

The line-up played a huge factor in many students decision to go, despite pricey 3-day passes that cost around $500, not including the inevitable travel and lodging costs.

For sophomore Stephanie Wong, the selection of bands performing was also too good to pass up, despite the things she would miss on Picnic Day.

“There were two main reasons why it was hard to make the decision. First, my roommate, Eve, performs at Dance Dance Revolution on Picnic Day and I really didn’t want to miss her performance. Second, I will [also] be studying abroad next Picnic Day so my next one won’t be until my senior year. But, I couldn’t miss that lineup.”

The line-up for Coachella this year includes headliners Kanye West, Arcade Fire and The Kings of Leon, as well as artists such as The Strokes, Mumford & Sons, the Black Keys, Chromeo and the New Pornographers, and that’s barely a handful of the 140 acts that will be gracing the festival this spring.

But not everyone was so willing to give up the major Davis event that they look forward to throughout the year for Coachella. For sophomore math major Samantha Pappas, tradition, as well as easy access, won out.

“Picnic Day is only once a year and we can really only experience four of them as Davis students. Also, it is practically right in our front yards!”

Problems with price and travel also played a huge factor in many students’ decision-making process. Even if students had the money to afford the expensive tickets, there was the question of how to get down to the Southern California location, as well as where to stay for the three days of festivities. Hotels within fifty miles of the festival grounds were booked within days of tickets going on sale, and that was after passes to camp on the actual grounds had already sold out. For many students, the stress wasn’t worth it when free fun could be found within walking distance the very same day.

Despite the new musical experience, there will be things that Chin and Wong will miss about Picnic day this year. Ironically, it was the music Chin would miss the most.

“I think what I’ll miss this year is the great live entertainment that Picnic Day manages to bring,” he said.

Wong, on the other hand, was sad that she would miss out on the memorable experience with her friends.

“I loved [Picnic Day] last year. It was such a random day, I loved the wiener dog races and going to DDR, and just wandering around aimlessly. I will miss being with my friends [this year], since I assume they will have some pretty insane stories for me when I come back,” she said.

There are no longer any Coachella tickets available – they sold out in a record five days this year. Thus, even Davis students who were planning on going and didn’t act fast enough might be finding themselves at Picnic Day after all.

Chin advises that students interested in going next year start saving up now so that they can buy their tickets early and avoid getting shut out.

Whether you’re going to Indio or staying in Davis on April 16, the day will no doubt be crazy and unforgettable. Wong, for one, can’t wait.

“I have a feeling that Coachella will be worth that crazy amount of money. I am going to prepare myself for post-Coachella depression. I am looking forward to it. Seventy-three days!”

ANNETA KONSTANTINIDES can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.

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