Coachella – First, Free and Perhaps Never Again
Never having considered Coachella, I don’t listen to too many Indie bands and I don’t like the hot sun on my sensitive skin.
Coachella is one of California most popular two 3-day festival with over 200,000 attendees held in the hot desert of Indio, CA at the Empire Polo Club for the last 18 years showcasing a variety of different genre of performances from indie, hip hop to EDM.
Thanks to Yahoo, I caught glimpses from the comfort of my home, saved some money and did not have to deal with the crowd. This year though, I decided to work Weekend 1 of the festival driving attendees to and from the site, but on the last day, luck was on my side when these two girls were leaving the venue really early stating they had to catch a plane back to the East Coast. Initially refusing to sell their entry bracelet after inquiring, we chatted up about Coachella. I mentioned how I have never attended the festival and my curiosity for its crowd in comparison to Electric Daisy Carnival. And just like that, one of the girl handed me her bracelet, told me to enjoy it and so I waved their ride as a thank you gesture.
Back to the festival, I found myself with extreme excitement walking through the metal detector. Once through security, I headed toward the ticket check where this year they required wrist bands for re-entry throughout the day which was nice. Inside, I was greeted by the infamous Ferris Wheel and a bunch of concession stands lined up in a row. Never been to Coachella, I had no clue where to go or what stage to start with. However, my goal was to capture as much as possible.
After a restroom stop, I headed to what I found out was the main stage and there was Porter Robinson and Madeon. I caught the last 30-min of their set and moved on to the next stage right close by. The next performer – Hans Zimmer – was setting up and I was glad to be there early enough for a perfect center view. Hans Zimmer is a famous composer and record producer who helped composed musical score for The Lion King, The Dark Knight, and Gladiator just to name a few which were showcased on this evening. It was some of the most beautiful thing I have ever witnessed. Being in a band during middle school, the love of music was always in my heart. Feeling the emotion of the instruments from being so close was such a thrill and a different experience, and more so when your mind is recollecting scene from movies. It was one of my favorite performances of the night and I was completely engulfed in it.
Wondering around, I walked pass different stages with one taking me back to the old school days of R&B. I wasn’t too sure who was on and singing but I found myself there only for a minute as I was looking for my trance family – Fuck Shit Up Trance Family. They are a group of lovely people that participate in feeding the homeless and other generous deed. After finally figuring out Coachella’s layout, I was able to locate them at the Ferris Wheel. I was so ecstatic to finally not be alone and hang out with my friends as they took me into this other stage which was a tech-trance set, even more perfect. After staying in the dome for a moment, we wondered to see Justice which is one of my friend’s favorite group. Not familiar with them, they fuse electronic music with rock, where my first impression was that of Pink Floyd in a way, but different with a modern age upbeat retro Doors with no words. I just loved it and I love being expose to artist that I normally don’t venture out to.
As Justice was closing out, the crowd was getting thicker for Kendrick Lamar. Thank goodness we were in the back because I did not want to deal with the crowd. I was not impressed as I had seen Kendrick perform at Air + Style this year which was way better even with the mic not fully functioning but still managed to put on a show. His performance at Coachella was up and down with poor programming of track selection. However though, he did play my classic favorite ‘Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe’ which got everyone bumping and grinding. I stuck around for another 45-mins before parting way with FSUTF. Yearning for another restroom break, I stumbled into the deep house tent. It was a God sent and just in time for Shiba San. This was exactly what I needed to end this night. Just perfect.
Coachella was fun but I was extremely exhausted from walking miles in a big circle around the venue. I couldn’t imagine doing it throughout the day with the sun beating down on you. Yet again, I’m a night owl who loves the night light and cool breeze. I really wanted to experience Coachella for reasons hearing about it in junior high. I always wanted to attend one before my interest might fade away due to it becoming too commercialize for my taste.
Only experiencing EDC once, I sometimes hear people trying to compare the two. So after taking the opportunity to walk the grounds, there wasn’t much comparison because these are just two very different type of festival from the attendees, music, production and vibe. I never saw any correlation between the two and don’t understand why people would even compare them.
In all, Coachella isn’t the kind of event I’d spent my hard earned money for and I’m not much into indie sound. Being that I love the night life and its colors, I’m a night owl and love electronic dance music which EDC‘s overall experience is one not to be missed as it takes you into a magical place.