From wacky outfits to mind-blowing music, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival was definitely a weekend to remember. After jumping for four straight hours to electronic dance music, witnessing sketchy drug deals and seeing people basically naked, I quickly learned that this festival wasn’t going to be like any concert I’d attended before.
On April 10, 11 and 12, I attended weekend one of the 16th annual Coachella festival in Indio, California. The variation of artists ranged from rap to EDM to alternative. This genre mash-up was evident by just taking a look at the headliners. Friday night, the incredible yet ancient ACDC, despite being not as popular with this generation, managed to bring in an exceptionally large crowd.
Saturday night’s headliner was the 39-year-old garage rock artist Jack White. Even though he released the new album “Lazaretto” in 2014, he was not on my radar for the weekend. Coachella saved the best for last on Sunday night with hip hop icon Drake. Crowd members, including myself, arrived at the Main Stage hours in advance to get as close as possible for Drake. Coachella had so many amazing artists come and perform. Every direction you looked, a different band would be up on stage. This festival guaranteed a chance to hear any genre.
From watching people pop pills to seeing clouds of weed smoke, Coachella attendees had one thing in mind: Drugs, drugs and more drugs. I found it interesting that I saw more high people than drunk people. It seemed as if whether you were intoxicated or not, the concert had this high vibe to it.
When it comes to fashion, I truly couldn’t see someone wearing some of the outfits girls had on if they were sober. At the Doo-Lab stage, I felt as if I was in a fairy-tale land where people go when they’re on drugs. Winnie the Poo was starting a mosh pit and there was a massive water-gun fight.
Not to mention I saw a baby with sunglasses and Beats by Dre on. However what was even more interesting was how young the girls looked who were popping pills. While I don’t know what they were taking, I could tell it was definitely working by the dilation of their pupils and their blank stares. It seemed as if every aspect of Coachella was created from the mind of someone on drugs.
I have to say I don’t think I’ve ever seen more oddly dressed people. I wore shorts and a tank top and I felt overdressed compared to some of the girls there. The amount of floral headbands, coin necklaces and crop tops was truly impressive. I definitely hadn’t come prepared.
I had seen photos of Coachella, but I’d always thought the sculptures were just weird decorations. It wasn’t until recently that I realized this festival was not solely music-centered; there was a large focus on the art as well. I saw an astonishing yellow spider made out of tractors known as Earthmover, a metamorphosis from a caterpillar to a butterfly, a three-story corporate headquarters for hippos and much more.
I don’t know if I’d categorize most of the sculptures at Coachella as art, but I guess if they touched some people than hey, more power to the artist! The palm trees surrounding the venue were lit up and the lights from each stage bounced off of each other. It was a world of color. There were these long strings of light-up balloons strung above the venue and spot lights flashing around for the city of Indio to see. One look up at the sky and I knew by the explosions of lights and colors – I was at Coachella.
Besides the cute, yet disturbing outfits and fascinating artwork, I found the music incredible. I laughed my head off at rap artist Tyler the Creator and rapped my heart out at Drake. It was official, I was starstruck. The artists were awesome in their own ways. For instance, during Florence and the Machine, she ran around stage in nothing but a see-through lace bra while encouraging the audience to remove an article of clothing. Her confidence was so radiant that she got crowd members stripping. Even though it was super weird and slightly creepy, it worked and I was blown away.
For the first time in my life, I witnessed someone crowd surfing. However, not only did I witness it, I was one of the unfortunate audience members who had to hold the crowd surfer up. When Tyler the Creator played his hit song “Tamale,” there was a moment where I truly believed I going to die. The entire audience became one large mosh pit. Although my ribs were being crushed and I had a lack of air, I couldn’t stop laughing.
Despite the surprise sloppy kiss Madonna gave Drake, he was by far my favorite performer of the weekend. Not only did he sound incredible, his interaction with the audience glued my attention to him. Unlike other artists, Drake played small portions from all of his most popular songs.
He openly said he wasn’t going to try anything new because he knew that the crowd wanted to hear one thing: his hits. Let’s be honest, sometimes it’s painful when artists sing their music that no one knows – it’s not fun. Drake pulled songs from his 2010 album “Thank Me Later” and from his newest album “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late.” The fact that I was able to sing along with every song proved that Drake’s tactic had worked. It resulted in being easily one of the most entertaining performances I’ve ever seen.
My first time at Coachella was better than I had expected. Although I had attended Coachella’s sister country concert Stagecoach the past three years, this was a whole different game. Weekend one was killer! I’m sure weekend two will be good as well, just not as awesome because obviously weekend one was the best and I’m not biased at all. If I could give someone a piece of advice for attending Coachella, I would say brace yourself for the most tiring, bizarre and awesome weekend of your life.