The two biggest weekends in the music festival world have arrived: Thousands will flock to Indio, Calif., today to see their favorite artists take the stage at Coachella. Those of us unable to afford the trek, however, can still experience the fun vicariously through social media -- let's call it Couchella.
Which, actually, isn't too bad a way to experience the desert marathon, all things considered. In the past decade, almost every Coachella has consistently produced some of the best music headlines of the year, and many of them got there via platforms like Twitter and YouTube (here's to you, drunk flip-flop guy). And this year, in all likelihood, will be no different. Our headliners are Jack White, AC/DC and Drake, after all.
So, since it's always good to come prepared, we decided to take a look at past social media data to see what might be in store over this weekend and next. We've already got half of Day 1 down, but here’s what we know about Coachella and social media so far:
1. Performing on the Coachella stage is a guaranteed boost in online followership. Last year’s standouts Outkast saw a 6% rise in followers (from 59,817 to 63,654) in the four days after their headline-worthy performance -- 18 times the normal number of daily followers. And they're an act who's not especially active online.
2. The most followed acts on the Coachella bill this year: Drake, David Guetta and Tyler the Creator. With thousands of their fans bouncing around Coachella, expect those tweets to seep into everyone’s timelines this weekend. (We've already got Drake lurking -- or hiding in plain sight, more like -- at the edges of the festival in his red sweatsuit.)
3. Coachella styles will be ... well, pretty much the same as last year, so brace your Instagram feed for impact. When it comes to fashion and style, most Coachella tweeters have referenced some variation of boots, bikinis and blonds for their expected looks throughout the weekends. Other words used most often include "tattoos," "#onepiece" and "Bohemian." Be ready to be inundated with selfies (but only from regular angles).
4. Look out for the celeb invasion. Speaking of selfies, celebrity snapshots are the most shared images (obviously). Last year, photos of actors Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff and the Jenner twins almost broke the Internet before their sister did.
5. Coachella live-tweeting: now, with live broadcasts. Periscope (and maybe even Meerkat) broadcasts are bound to be the home-stricken’s easiest way for a window into Indio this year. The notoriously thin cell signals, however, may restrict connections -- that is, unless attendees have access to the festival’s beer garden and VIP areas, where complimentary Wi-Fi reigns courtesy of Vine and Twitter.
6. The weekend's biggest online hit could be coming out of left field. According to StubHub, rockers alt-J could prove to be the buzz band of the festival. Recent searches on the ticket-selling platform indicate a rise in popularity. The group’s ticket sales are up 56% on StubHub this year.
7. Be prepared for surprise guests. Lots of them. In addition to celebrities trying to be regular people and enjoy the festivities, many of them could find their way on a stage. Three of the five most tweeted about moments of last year’s festival were surprise performances, the most popular being Beyonce’s sudden dance routine with sister Solange. Chance the Rapper was joined by Justin Bieber and rapper Nas brought out Jay Z.
8. Keep your eyes on controversial artists' accounts. Headline magnet Azealia Banks is set to take the stage today and next Friday, April 17. The “Broke With Expensive Taste” artist’s follower count has skyrocketed over the last year, thanks to Twitter beefs and her sometimes off-putting candor. Surely everyone will be on the edge of their seats awaiting what she may say or do next.