Creators pretend to be at Coachella—what it means for brands’ influencer event strategies

Coachella has become the place to be for influencers, who this year, judging the TikTok posts alone, seem to be attending in droves. But increasingly, it seems some creators are only pretending to be at Coachella, devising elaborate setups to create the illusion that they’re attending the music and arts festival.

It’s a troubling trend for brands, which often turn to these influencers to help build credibility and authenticity with Gen Z.  For brands, Coachella is an opportunity to discover creators with loyal followings, who are deeply engaged in content coming out of the festival.

“Coachella’s like the influencer Olympics, right, it’s the place to be. But most influencers, or a lot of influencers, don’t even go to Coachella. … they’ll go out to the desert … get their outfits, get their hair, get their makeup … and they don’t go to the festival, they don’t have wristbands,” @lorengray, a singer and social personality with 54.4 million TikTok followers, said in a recent video on the platform that, at the time of this writing, has 4.4 million views.