Festival season is in full swing, and after not having been to Coachella since my initial visit in 2015, I had the pleasure of attending weekend two this year. This is the one festival where I tend to venture outside of my EDM comfort zone, and explore hip-hop, pop, and other various genres, discovering new artists and exploring different sounds.
The Calm Before the Storm
Being my second time camping at Coachella, leaving early on Thursday morning was an absolute must. (To see how I prepared for Coachella, Check out my previous post of Festival Essentials). Our early arrival ensured our campsite would be as close as possible to the festival, and other amenities such as the bathrooms, food, general store, and mobile showers. There was even a wonderful area called the Antarctic with incredible visuals to enjoy!
After making ourselves comfortable in our new home for the weekend, my group and I explored what the campgrounds had to offer. An activities tent with a large game of “4 In a Row” was available, a Vintage Shop full of Coachella fashion for the weekend, charging stations, a variety of food including one of my favorite breakfast items, the acai bowl, and a silent disco where we would party after hours. Our first day was spent at the campgrounds cooling off enjoying some cold beers, and good vibes all around. My favorite part about camping is meeting new people and partying with our campsite neighbor’s.
As day one of Coachella began, the sun was bright and it was a scorcher! Most of my day time was spent at the Do Lab, Mohave, and Yuma tent to avoid heat exhaustion. At the Do Lab I was able to catch an artist by the name of Barclay Crenshaw. I hadn’t previously listened to his music, but he took me on a trip with his unique style and sounds. As the day progressed I would not be missing out on any of the delicious Coachella food. I had been dreaming of the day I would be able to enjoy crab fries, since my last visit to Coachella. Needless to say, this was my first stop when it came to food inside of the festival.
The sun began to set on the first day, and the evening took flight. The first night, in my opinion, had the most electronic dance music which was fit to my taste. I saw DJs such as Richie Hawtin and Steve Angello, however, I also managed to catch Radiohead and Travis Scott as well. The DJ I was the most excited to see was Dillon Francis, who played an incredible set to close out the night and was also the main highlight of my weekend.
Our day came out to a slow start as we were exhausted from the previous night. Day two was hotter than the first, and with every hour the sun became more intense. We enjoyed the comfort of the air conditioning in the Yuma tent for a few hours while listening to the sounds of Chris Cruse and Honey Dijon. Our relaxed start allowed us more energy, and prevented us from overexertion.
As far as artists go, day two held the most diversity for me. I enjoyed artists that I normally do not listen to, such as Bon Iver, Future, Gucci Mane, Lady Gaga and Schoolboy Q. Future was the best part of my second day of Coachella, as I found a new appreciation and love for his music. Afterward, we went to the Mohave tent and watched Moderat perform, a group in which I had never previously heard of, but was dancing along their music with all my heart and soul. My night was filled with a variety of music genres that I do not normally listen, but I made room in my schedule to see Martin Garrix to get my dance music fix for the night, right before Gucci Mane came onto the stage at the Sahara tent. We concluded day two of Coachella with none other than Lady Gaga.
Being completely honest, by day three, we were beat. It was our fourth day on the campgrounds, supplies were running low, and the heat continued to intensify. Sunday was the hottest day of the entire weekend. Although we were drained from the heat, my group and I were determined to make the best of our final day at Coachella. In my opinion, Sunday had the most fun lineup of the weekend. I was able to catch the final show of Madeon and Porter Robinson’s “Shelter” tour, Hans Zimmer, Sasha, Galantis, and Kendrick Lamar to close out the weekend. Sunday came and went much quicker than I expected, but I had the time of my life.
Things That Could Improve
Right of the bat, this year seemed a little more unorganized, compared to my previous Coachella experience. Despite the fact that we arrived in line by 5am, entrance into the campgrounds was a 3 hour long process to even get to our camping spot. Normally the campgrounds open at 9am on Thursday morning, however, due to the high volume of festival goers arriving so early, they opened the gates early to accommodate everyone. We came with five other cars and it took us over an hour to find each other in the waiting area. In previous year’s, right after security check we would immediately be set to the side so our group would not be too far behind. This time around was absolute madness. I hope they can re-implement this tactic to optimize the flow of entry.
Needless to say... the restrooms were a disaster. Music festivals aren’t exactly the place where I expect to find the most luxurious bathrooms, but at least provide something relatively sanitary and usable. The mobile showers were the same as they were in my previous visit to Coachella, if you get up early, you can avoid the long lines. I used the cold showers every day as it was the only real relief I could get from the blistering heat. Next, I feel that more shaded and cooling areas should be implemented for the attendees to escape the heat during the day. A canopy can only cover so much of the sun, and even that gets hot after a while. Most of the time when I was looking for shade in the campgrounds or throughout Coachella, I could only find the slightest amount under a short palm tree.
Finally... exiting the campgrounds could have been faster and more efficient. We left camp right after the festival on Sunday, and it took us over an hour to get out. If more of the exits were being utilized, this process could have been much faster.
How was your Coachella? What were your favorite sets, and what do you think could have used improvement?