Over two consecutive weekends this month, Coachella Music Festival drew thousands of fans and artists to Indio, California. It’s fair to say many attended for the ‘gram, as the event is a hotbed of social media activity. However, as one influencer has revealed, it’s just as easy to fake going to the massive music event.
Social media personality Gabbie Hanna posted a video earlier this week titled “I Faked Going To Coachella…”. In it, the young singer and personality outlines how she tricked her nearly 4 million Instagram followers into thinking she was at the second weekend of the Ariana Grande-headlined fest. She pulled off the stunt with regular IG story updates, a graphic designer who Photoshopped her images, regular outfit changes, and more.
At the start of the clip, Hanna notes that she’s never been Coachella’ “biggest advocate.” In fact, the project was spurred by her association with other influencers who she claims regularly fabricate attending some aspect of the event. She cites people who wear double the outfits to the first weekend, then post old photos later on as if they’re attending the second half of the festival in all new clothes. She explains,
“People look at people on Instagram and social media and they think, ‘Wow their life is impossibly perfect, that body, that vacation, that car…’ So much of it’s fake, and that’s okay, I’m not shading anybody who does that on social media because it is a viable career, but for an average viewer who’s just watching these things and is firing for these things, just know that those things aren’t always as attainable as they seem.”
While the project is well-executed, the point is somewhat muddled by the fact that Hanna is herself an influencer. Even that quote above has innate contradictions, as she says she’s “not shading” the practice of influencing in the same breath she essentially calls it a scam. There seems to be an element of “I’m not like them” throughout the video, though she most certainly benefits from the same social-media posturing that the video aims to combat. Plus, she herself even notes the added fan engagement she gets throughout the posts.
Somewhat puzzingly, she connects her rouse to “how easy it is to fake things on social media.” While the latter may be true, the amount of planning it took to pull off the trick seems anything but easy. Rather, the process is laborious, requiring on-hand photographers and photo editors, as well as friends with mansions that look like AirBnBs and attendees who can provide actual video from on the ground. Given the amount of time and money required throughout the video, it isn’t so surprising that fans don’t suspect what she’s up to — especially when she lives in Los Angeles and going to the festival might actually be easier than hiding for the whole weekend and mining fake content. (Of course, Hanna did spend some of her saved time promoting a local cause, so at least it wasn’t a wash.)
You can watch Hanna’s process below.