Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Coachella Music and Arts Festival 2012

Alternate title: Coachella, a Music Festival of My Dreams
Alternate alternate title: Coachella: Once you Leave, Reality is a Bitch

I've written about my love and anticipation for Coachella a few weeks back (here), and since then the festival has come and gone, leaving me beyond happy and craving next April's festival already.  Keep in mind this is about 2 weeks after the fest has ended, so I've already gone through the worst of the Post-Coachella Depression and my brain is back to full-functioning form (it was a rough couple days after...). I'm no veteran, being this was only my second year going, but I can already proclaim my undying love for everything that Coachella offers.  Coachella somehow manages to blend my favorite things in life and make it even more perfect.  Music, Friendship, Art, and Freedom.  The polo fields are a special place and I'm going to do my best to share that with you; but, as I've said to others, it's really hard to capture the essence of what Coachella is until you actually go!

Let me discuss some key components...

On-site Camping
For me camping is a must.  Some people love it, some people hate it, but I suggest trying it atleast once and it should be a MUST for first-timers.  I will probably prefer a hotel some year in the future, but for now the benefits of camping outweigh the perks of a hotel.   First of all, it's on site.  This year we were less than a 5 minute walk to the festival entrance, which makes it easy to go back to the campsite during the day and refuel, rehydrate, or change clothes.  Also, no need to worry about driving anywhere.  Coachella offers a variety of activities and amenities for campers: dance party, arts and crafts, merch, food trucks, and more.  To be quite honest the worst part of camping is the port-a-potty situation, but if you can get past that (bring your own TP and babywipes), camping is just a party in and of itself. Before the festival starts and when it ends, the camping lots are where the party is at.  You're guaranteed to meet new people and have a fun time if you camp!

One of my favorite Coachella moments is arriving on-site and the party that ensues in the security entrance lines.
Our campsite views:

 Daytime fun:
 Nighttime fun:

The Music
The main reason you choose to go to Coachella and a huge part of the overall experience.  There are a wide array of genres that play the festival including indie, folk, rock, rap, reggae, EDM, and more.  One of the most fun things is not only seeing the artists that you love, but also discovering new music as you wander around the polo fields. There may be some musical conflicts, but I've rarely had regrets when leaving the festival.  Some music makes me dance, some music just makes me happy to be here, and some music moves me in a different way entirely.  It's a blessing to see so much good live music in one weekend.

Musical Bits and Pieces:

Artists seen in 2012:  Breakbot, Yuck, Neon Indian, Arctic Monkeys, M. Ward, The Rapture, The Black Keys, Explosions in the Sky, Swedish House Mafia, Childish Gambino, AWOLNATION, The Head and the Heart, Andrew Bird, Jeff Mangum, The Shins, Bon Iver, Miike Snow, Radiohead, Band of Skulls, Flux Pavilion and Doctor P, Santigold, Gotye, Justice, Girl Talk, Florence + the Machine, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg (plus holo 2pac and the whole crew)
*bolded some of my favorite sets of the weekend
The People
This includes the people you go with and camp with as well as other festival go-ers.  My Coachella group this year included 6 of us from last year and 3 newbies, along with another 2 guys who ended up joining our group once we got there.  A good group of friends is important when it comes to a music festival.  Not everybody will have the same musical tastes, so not being afraid to split up, go to a set by yourself, and have meet-up times factor in to the whole equation.  However, some of the most fun times are when you're whole group is together enjoying in something as one cohesive unit.
Most of the group...somehow we didn't get a picture with everyone

At a festival, I love to people watch.  For the most part, everyone is polite, happy, and overjoyed just to be there.  There are a few d-bags here and there, but that's just life.  It's amazing to watch a sea of people all connecting through the music.  It's not uncommon to be wished a "happy Coachella" out on the fields and while camping.  Having a great group of festival attendees, boosts the overall moral of the festival.  Coachella is a place of love and happiness thanks to the people there...and I don't think it's just because of the illicit substances . haha.

Atmosphere & Environment
I suppose the people are also a part of the atmosphere and environment, but the polo fields themselves are a magical place. I love when the gates first open and taking in the sights and feel of the fresh green grass (one of the perks of going Weekend 1) and the surrounding palm trees.  This year, weekend one could be dubbed chilly-chella or windy-chella because Friday and Saturday nights were coooold!  It even rained on Friday night for a bit which made for a completely different Coachella experience.  It was nice not to be sweating all day and enjoy some earlier and mid-afternoon sets without feeling like death due to heat (note: weekend 2 had temps that were 100degrees +).  The heat is usually something that defines Coachella, but the cool temps were a welcome change, albeit sometimes too cold.  Sunday was the definition of my perfect day: clear, sunny skies and in the mid 80s.
 One of the downfalls of the wind was not having as many art installations up because they could be a risk.  As I mentioned before, soaking up the sights of the fields when they are fairly empty is one of the greatest things.  Once night comes, I feel as if the fields are completely transformed; you notice things you didn't notice before and the energy of the festival is completely different.  I love both day and night at Coachella, they have two vastly different feels. 
I hope you enjoyed this review, learned a little bit, or got to reminisce if you too have gone Coachella. Just remember, no two experiences are alike, so you might just have to try it out for yourself. 
See you next year, Coachella.

No comments:

Post a Comment