Carpool to Coachella 2012 Officially In The Books
A group of friends and I piled into my car last Wednesday night and hit the road for the Coachella Music & Arts Festival. The annual three-day festival takes place at the Empire Polo Grounds in Indio, CA and has become so big that it was extended to two weekends this year, April 13-15 and April 20-22. We got our tickets for Weekend Two shortly before they sold out about 4 hours after going on sale.
It's been a festival I have wanted to attend for a long time and was stoked that I was actually going to be able to make it happen this year. Music spanning almost every genre for three days in sunny California? Yes please.
We made it into the car camping area at the venue around 10 p.m. on Thursday night. A quick tent setup, a 'what's up?' to our new neighbors (pictured below) for the next few days, and we were ready for an epic weekend.
Music started around 11 a.m. Friday morning but we waited until about 12 p.m. to head into the show for the day. It's hot in the Tri Cities in the summer, but it was crazy hot in Indio all weekend long. Sunscreen and tons of water (luckily beer has water in it) were a necessity.
I can't believe we are finally here. The place is huge with five main stages and another stage/tent called The Do Lab in the very center of everything. It was epically nuts. Art installments, vendor tents, a ferris wheel, and tons of people. Here we go, Coachella. We made out way through The Do Lab on our way to the Outdoor Stage. The only way I could describe The Do Lab would be if Dubstep had a baby with Cirque De Soleil and then took acid. Epically nuts!
The first band we saw were The Sheepdogs on the Outdoor Stage. Hailing from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, they have a smooth, classic rock sound. Great performance all around. We cruised the venue for a while after that, popping in for a few minutes to see acts like Kendrick Lamar, Gary Clark Jr., Dawes, and Alesso. Day one wrapped up with The Black Keys on the Coachella stage. I haven't listened to a lot of their stuff, but they put on an energetic show. The big highlight came when John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival came on stage and joined in on playing 'The Weight (Take A Load Off Annie)" as a tribute to Levon Helm of The Band, who had died that past Thursday. After The Black Keys, we stayed and watched Swedish House Mafia and then caught the end of Amon Tobin's visual craziness. Back to the campsite for some... ugh, who knows what.
Saturday was probably the hottest day of the weekend, but nothing a few cold ones couldn't remedy. We all planned on going in to see Donald Glover as his hiphop alter ego Childish Gambino on the Coachella Stage and made it in to see the last of We Are Augustines set. After Childish Gambino, we caught part of AWOLNATION and then cruised through a few booths that had some much needed air conditioning. David Guetta performed over in Sahara tent later in the evening. I'm not really into the house/dance/dubstep/techno/robot-rap music, but live with a few thousand people makes that music a lot of fun to jam out to. We left David Guetta's set a little early to catch Bon Iver on the Coachella Stage. So relaxing and chill. The sun was finally down and it was awesome to hear the laid back tracks of one of the most talked about bands in the last year. We hung around for Radiohead and they put on a very quality set, but after Bon Iver, Radiohead was a bit too mellow, so we took off about 3/4 of the way through and head over to the three dance tents to see who was left for the night. We strolled past the Gobi, Mojave, and Sahara tents and caught portions of Sub Focus and Kaskade to close out the day.
Waking up, haggard. It was so hot by 8am each day that you couldn't really sleep in your sauna of a tent once the sun was up. As we strolled the camping lot in the morning you would see people that had dragged their sleeping bags outside and were crashed out in the shade of their vehicles or awning. We got into the venue in the early afternoon and saw pieces of Le Butcherettes, First Aid Kit, and Zedd followed by Flux Pavilion and Dr. P. Rad visuals on the monitors in the tent and HEAVY bass. We headed over to the other side of the venue for the end of Santigold and afterwards then took a stroll around checking out some of the art installments before heading back to the campsite for some food and drinks. Conditions got the best of me late Sunday afternoon and I crashed out for a couple hours at the campsite and missed The Hives, which I was pretty bummed about, but what are ya gonna do? We got back into the venue to catch the end of Justice and began making our way to the front of the stage for At The Drive In and then the night capper of Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. I dont think a lot of people were aware of the intensity that At The Drive In would bring. The area near the stage turned into a crazy puddle of a pit. Insane. I can still hear the crowd singing along with 'One Armed Scissor'. Was a beautiful thing. We fought through their set staying pretty close to the front rail, but decided to get out and hang back for Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg instead of fighting with people for the rest of the night for a piece of land to stand on. Drenched in sweat and 90% of it not mine. Yummy. Dre and Snoop brought out a ton of guests, including Warren G, Kurupt, G Unit, Kendrick Lamar, Wiz Khalifa, Eminem, and of course the much talked about Tupac hologram.
After the show we headed back to the campground. I hit up the silent dance party with our camping neighbors around 2AM. The music is only heard through the supplied headphones, fun idea. Then back to camp bs-ing about the weekend and not wanting to go back to reality in the morning. Lucky for them they had a couple hour drive ahead of them instead of a 20+ hr drive.
In the end it was one of the greatest weekends of my life. I met people from all over the USA and the world for that matter including Australia, Sweden, New Zealand, and Mexico. Plus a ton of Canadians too, eh.
I'm already looking forward to next year. No matter the lineup. When you put 150 bands into one venue and you keep your musical tastes a bit open and eclectic, you will definitely find something you enjoy.
~~~ CoAcHeLlA 2013 DrEaMiNg ~~~