The dust has settled, bright eyed hipsters have fled their campsites, packed up their cars and headed back home. All is quiet on the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California for just for one day before the folk, country, bluegrass festival Stage Coach moves in.
In a sand stormy, whimsical, and sun soaked memory another Coachella Fest has come and gone.
It all began as fans hit the interstates with their multi-car caravans early Thursday before Weekend I. Decked out in window paint and packed to the rim with festival goers. Girls hung out of windows and flashed peace signs as they paraded their way into the Indio city limits. As the day moved on, temperatures reached the 90s as local supermarkets and convenience store shelves started to deplete and parking lots became meeting places for energized patrons waiting for camping gates to open.
Over night, the Empire Polo Club turned into its own city with a population of 80k+. Security taking away glass containers and illicit drugs held up the line for 2-3 hours. With camping passes first to sell out, area hotels were also found with no vacancy. For a fee, patrons could hop shuttle buses from their hotel, and while patron traffic died down into Friday, artist tour buses, and shuttles soon began taking over the streets. Sound checks were heard echoing over the valley as patrons passed down the yellow brick road to where gates opened at 11am.
Coachella 2013 sported 2 main stage areas, the Main Stage and the Outdoor Theater. 3 tent stages: Gobi, Mojave, and Ultra's "mega stage" replica for the Sahara Tent this year, where EDM fans got full servings of music all weekend long. The YUMA Tent—a small capacity fully enclosed dance floor and pumping music dome featured DJs from around the globe including Richie Hawtin, Luciano, and Jamie Jones both weekends.
The grounds were an area of exploration from the camping area art instillation to the palm tree-lined festival perimeter. Inside the grounds there was much to be seen, including the 150 foot Ferris wheel, multiple beer gardens, and the Coachella Power Station home to human/hippos dancing the night away.
Unlike past years, patrons were kept happy with mulitple info booths, general stores, stands to purchase water, phone charging booths, fairly well maintained port-a-potties, make shift shaded areas surrounding the Do LaB stage, an oasis home-like structure, speakeasy, and misting tents. All wasn't this wasn't quite enough however to prepare the crowds for the wind/sand storm that came sweeping through the valley Saturday and stuck around well into Monday evening. Turning the vibe into a hectic scene from an old western, festival goers sported handkerchiefs, sunglasses, and scarfs as they braved out strong sand filled gusts up to 45 mph running from one stage to the next as the weekend moved along.
Stealing the attention the first night were Tegan & Sara on the outdoor stage and Bassnectar at the Sahara Tent. If you found yourself aimlessly wandering you might have come upon remote controlled sharks that seemed to float around as long streams of balloons lit up the sky. Also to be seen were a large snail, mechanical praying mantis, and T-Rex. Although Coachella 2013's bill housed a large selection of genres from Brit old school punk rock to psychedelic gypsy jazz, there was no doubt, as the sea of crowds shifted from one stage to the next, what acts carried the biggest buzz. Both Saturday line ups were under much criticism for time slotting, leaving patrons little choice to catch a jammed packed 7pm to midnight time block filled with The XX, Two Door Cinema Club, Janelle Monae, Moby, Phoenix, Sigur Ross, and Knife Party. While EMD played its first major role in the line up in Coachella's history, with over 24 EDM acts, including Bassnectar, Pretty Lights, and ModeStep nothing could outdo the festival traditional's Tegan & Sara, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Jurassic 5, Wu-Tang Clan, and Red Hot Chili Pepper sets.
Visually, Coachella attendees know how to be festie-fresh better than any others. With the 2013 festival kicking off, major fashion brands such as H&M, Lacoste, Guess, American Eagle Outfitters, and Forever21 have released festival-friendly seasonal lines, which had a major role in the overall looks and vibe of patrons this year. Long dresses, cut-off shirts, bright prints of flowers and plaid took over the sights. Weekend I was quite the date weekend, looking around the field was filled with couples, some reminiscing longtime lovers, and some new love-a-first-sighters frolicking around.
Celebraties also couldn't help but make their way to the Polo Club for a weekend of fun. In attendance was Paris Hilton spotted at the VIP Beer Garden, Lindsay Lohan with her brother, Clint Eastwood with his daughter, Carmen Electra, and even Elijah Wood was caught spinning tunes at the Lacoste LIVE Coachella Desert Pool Party. Also out on the grounds was Danny Devito and Katy Perry amongst many others.
While Weekend I ended literally in a wind storm, causing chaos and long lines; Weekend II came in with clear blue skies, calm winds and chill vibes.
Weekend II with an almost identical bill as Weekend I, showcased a breakout performance by 2 Chainz, the now blonde Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the serenades of The XX, a pop fusion dream of Two Door Cinema Club, a retro flash back from Frandz Ferdinand, and a heart thumping dance session from Pretty Lights. Also cool to check out was the tranquil acid trip from Dead Can Dance, sunset performance from Portugal. The Man, chill surfer vibes from Tame Impala, and the all-American boys of The Gaslight Anthem.
With one major US festival complete for the 2013 Season, it has been confirmed that EDM has solidified its place in the American Festival Circuit. Coachella is just the tip of the Festie Season iceberg with dozens of other mega festivals on the way. EDC NY, Electric Zoo, Bonnaroo, Electric Forest, Tomorrow World, Hard, The Big Up, and plenty more will be sure to put Summer 2013 in the record books!