Tickets to Coachella cost $429, but one photo I took at the festival shows why it's worth the money if you love the headlining acts

Courtesy of GoldenvoiceGetting a front row ‘seat’ for a top performer is far easier at a festival.
  • The Coachella Music & Arts Festival takes place over two weekends in April at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California.
  • I decided to go to Coachella for the first time this year.
  • Though the ticket cost a hefty $US429 for the weekend, I was able to secure a spot within feet of Childish Gambino, a seat that would have likely cost thousands of dollars or been downright impossible to get at a show on his solo tour.
  • Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories or check out more of our coverage on this year’s edition of Coachella.

Attending the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California is an expensive and logistically complicated field trip, particularly if you are coming from out of state.

The ticket for the weekend alone costs $US429 and then you have to factor in lodging, airfare, a car rental, and other fees. Depending on luck and planning, the weekend could easily top $US2,500.

While a lot of people might attend the event because they love the fashion, the glittering scene of social media influencers and celebrities, or as an excuse to skip school, the performances are what drew me in.

Friday, the first night of the festival, had a main-stage lineup that I could only dream about: Anderson .Paak and the Free Nationals, Janelle Monae, and Childish Gambino, my three favourite artists of the moment.

Seeing any one of those artists on a solo tour could easily cost you $US150 a ticket, assuming you can get a ticket at all. Both Anderson .Paak and Childish Gambino’s latest tours sold out shortly after going on sale. Janelle Monae is currently on the festival circuit, but you can bet a ticket for any upcoming tour of hers will be just as coveted.

Getting a front row seat to any of those artists is even more difficult and expensive. When I purchased tickets to Childish Gambino’s 2018 tour, I used a credit card pre-sale to get special access to good seats and I was still only able to get $US180 floor seats at the far end of Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia. Donald Glover was little more than an ant in my vision.

The beauty of Coachella, and any festival for that matter, is that anyone can get a front-row seat to their favourite artist, so long as you are willing to wait.

As Anderson .Paak and the Free Nationals, Janelle Monae, and Childish Gambino were all, more or less, playing back-to-back on Friday – with a one-set interlude by Britpop band The 1975 – I headed to the main stage during Kacey Musgraves‘ performance. As the country star’s fans filed out at the end of her set, I was able to secure a spot along the fence-line adjacent to the stage. It was the perfect position to watch the acts. Making it through six hours of performances without leaving the spot was a feat of endurance – I did make one exit during The 1975 to hit the bathroom and grab food, but my partner held the spot.

It paid off. Here’s how close I was to Childish Gambino during his electric headlining set:

Harrison Jacobs/Business InsiderThis photo of Childish Gambino was taken without a zoom lens. He was a few feet in front of me for much of the show.

Getting that seat in New York would have cost me thousands – if I could have even secured the seat at all. It made the whole schlep to Indio worth it.

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