It’s here! It’s here! The Coachella 2016 lineup was released yesterday and it does not disappoint. It is the seventeenth time the infamous music festival lights up the desert but it will be my fourth time enjoying it live. I absolutely love Coachella. The atmosphere with the amazing art installations; the quality and diversity of music; the eye candy of all the funky fashion; and of course the experience. The freedom to dance AND explore AND connect. Connect with self, Connect with my friends, and Connect with strangers.
I am nostalgic about my first Coachella experience in 2012. Abby and I (the best travel mate) only attended one day. We went on a girls trip to Palm Springs and decided that one day at the festival would be enough; our intent was to enjoy a getaway in Palm Springs. We stayed at The Saguaro Hotel, which had just opened up and were giving out deals on livingsocial.com. That hotel has since blown up. Ray Bans had a shuttle bus take guests of the hotel to the music festival and back all day. Indio, where the festival is located, is about 30 minutes away from Downtown Palm Springs.
This is the first music festival that I have been to at this grand scale. I have enjoyed our local music festivals in Seattle (Bumbershoot and Capitol Hill Block Party) and I have been to Treasure Island Music Festival in San Francisco that is held every year in the Fall. Coachella Music Festival is on another level. 2012 was the first time Goldenvoice – the organization behind Coachella- had two separate weekends with identical lineups. The festival is big enough to hold two weekends of identical music and sell out! Crazy I know. Abby and I went on Sunday of the second weekend. We had some ideas of what was in store. Since it was the second weekend, we already knew there was going to be a Tupac hologram appearance during the Dr. Dre and Snoop Dog performance and that Rihanna sang her big tune with Calvin Harris so maybe she will guest appear again? We also knew to expect amazing music, hot weather, and bonding time with each other.
Abby and I rode the free shuttle to Indio in the afternoon. The temperature was already reaching a blistering 100 degrees and was slowly rising. The nice Ray Bans rep. stopped and got us popsicles. We met a cool guy from Florida named “Bananas”. We finally got to the festival grounds and walked toward the entrance. I wore a breezy open back dark green Zara dress, open toe Chloe booties, and carried my small Chloe “Marcie” crossbody bag. We had to walk through the campgrounds, which was pretty far to even get to the entrance. The cell reception there is pretty shotty but luckily my texts were going through. We were meeting up with a bud of Brian’s who was so kind gift us with VIP bands and food vouchers. Thanks H and thanks husband!
Finally, we reached the actual festival grounds, met up with H and then parted ways to enjoy an epic day. In 2012 there were five stages: Coachella Stage, Outdoor Theatre, Gobi Tent, Mojave Tent, and Sahara Tent. The Yuma stage was later created for 2013. We went with our new friend “Bananas” and watched Dada Life kill it in the Sahara Tent. I was released! It was 105 degrees and I did not care! Dancing with Abby and feeling the energy of 100’s of people was so much fun. It was a start of a great day!
That day we were thrilled by performances from Dada Life, Girl Talk, Calvin Harris, Gotye, Florence and the Machine, and the mega star studded performance by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dog. We thoroughly enjoyed the VIP area by the main stage. The seating area was cozy with water misting fans as an added plus. Popular food trucks lined up as well as other delicious food offerings and fully stocked bars. Absolute vodka had a tent that was air conditioned and provided entertainment with a decent DJ. Instead of just porta potties, there were makeshift bathroom areas with a vanity and flushable toilets. And the people, I mean the people watching was so delicious! The beauty, the best fashion, and the celebrity sightings. Abby and I knew we scored with this experience.
The closing show of the festival was amazing! 50 Cent, Eminem, and Whiz Khalifa rocked it out with Dre and Snoop and we witnessed the trippy Tupac Hologram. Then the show was over; it went longer than expected so we unfortunately missed the last free shuttle. Production staff closed off the entrance back into the festival grounds from the main stage area so we were herded to the perimeter of the grounds to reach our individual transportations out of the festival. After the high of an incredible day dissipated I began to feel the soreness of my feet and legs. I barely made it to the taxi stand.
The aftermath of my first Coachella experience left me in absolute amazement. It transcended any expectation that I had and really ignited a desire to come back. I fell in love. I fell in love with Ella. Although I left extremely dirty with the worse blisters of my life, I was hooked. I knew I had to come back the following year and come back I did.