When one thinks of music festivals, Coachella is usually the first to come to mind. This is rightfully so, as it is has won Pollstar’s award for Major Music Festival of the Year for the 10th time in almost as many years. According to the official website and the Wikipedia page, in 2015, Coachella broke records by selling over 198,000 tickets and grossed $84.3 million. This festival is known for being the biggest, most famous, and most profitable music and arts festival in the country. Hosting a plethora of the biggest names in music and having a wide variety of genres such as rock, indie, hip hop, and electronic music, it’s not hard to see where the hype originates. This premium camping festival is brimming with excitement, luxury, and more than a few obligatory celebrities.
Coachella may have become a household name now, but it was quite different in the beginning. Inspired by small European music festivals, the Coachella team wanted to have musicians based on artistic talent rather than how many people heard their songs on the radio. As the festival grew, they started having more and more trendy artists that people were enthusiastic to see. This desert themed paradise is an oasis for music lovers everywhere, so grab your sunglasses or a floral headband and get ready to be a part of history in the making.
Many artists have performed at this event and its several tented and domed stages. So many all-star musicians such as (deep breath) : Pearl Jam, Queens of the Stone Age, Daft Punk, Chemical Brothers, Beck, Tool, Radiohead, Massive Attack, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beastie Boys, Pixies, Coldplay, Arcade Fire, M.I.A., NIN, Roger Waters, Prince, Aphex Twin, Tegan & Sara, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Killers, Gorillaz, MGMT, Kanye West, Black Keys, Usher, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Chromeo, Lorde, Diplo, Gwen Stefani, Porter Robinson, Frank Ocean, Kid Cudi, Muse, Outkast, N.W.A, Ice Cube, Guns N’ Roses, Childish Gambino, The Cure, and so many more artists. This is but a fraction of the legends who graced the stages. It’s easy to see why it is known to many as the mecca of music concerts.
It’s not just limited to music, however, as it has quite a few artistic installations. In earlier years, a lot of the art was recycled from Burning Man, but these days they have commissioned artists. Some of these artists make huge installations that take no less than 10 days just to put together, and require a very skilled team of architects and creative masterminds to make these larger-than-life exhibitions materialize in this dimension.
Coachella is armed to the teeth against hunger, and good food is a necessity at any music festival. If you’re feeling fancy, you can grab a Coachella dinner for about $225 per person. This includes a 4-course meal expertly crafted by some of America’s best chefs, wine pairings included. For those of us ballin’ on a budget, they have two different food areas.
If you somehow run out of things to do, grab some friends at a photo booth and then hop on a giant Ferris wheel to get your view on top of the world. The grassy landscape and thousands of people, as well as the city beyond, make for an amazing sight.
Tickets range in price per year, but run an average of $375 for General Admission and $435 for VIP (shuttle included.) Some year’s GA tickets sold out within twenty minutes. In addition to the tickets for the festival, one must also purchase an onsite camping pass ($99.) There are packages that include tents, passes to the festival, and areas to park your car. These VIP tickets cost anywhere from $2398 to $7000, depending on the level of luxury you can afford.
Since Coachella is in a city, they have a curfew of 12 or 1 a.m., and are fined $1000 for every minute they stay up past their bedtime. This, however, doesn’t stop people from finding ways to have a good time. The rebellious act of the Silent Disco has been invented, like the speakeasy of the prohibition but with less secret doors. The Silent Disco is a loophole where a DJ plays their set but to keep them from being loud, everyone is wearing headphones that are wirelessly connected. Dancing in silence in the middle of the night may be a slightly awkward compromise, but it must look like a fantastically weird ritual to anyone not wearing those stylish headphones. No sacrifices necessary.
PAST, FUTURE, AND CORPORATE PRESENCE
The founder of Coachella, Paul Tollett, started this endeavor in 1999 and, with the help of Goldenvoice (a subsidiary of AEG Live), the festival grew to outlandish proportions. However, the company was treading water for the first 2 years. Despite this, the featured artists and musicians saw potential in the budding babychella, and agreed to work the festival for free and be paid for it later.
The city of Indio has made a contract with Coachella and have even helped buy more land for the event. The contract is supposedly in effect until 2030, and with more space means lots more room for activities!!!!!!
Even though it is a huge event now, the Coachella team tries their best to limit advertising, saying it is disrespectful to the attendees and the music itself to be bombarded with a ton of unnecessary junk. I’m sure we would all have to agree on that one. However, it can not be avoided completely, for example, Heineken had their own Heineken House at this year’s Coachella. Many celebrities are also paid to attend this festival wearing whatever name brand companies recommend. It’s all about being seen at the scene. ugh.
This is one festival where security is not taken lightly, and they are working directly with the City Police. These police ride around campsites on bikes at all hours of the day and night and they do not pull their punches. You don’t want to get kicked out, so try to be on your best behavior. Drugs are bad, mmkay?
All in all, this is a must-see festival for those looking for a very exciting party experience Great music, people from all over the world, first-class food, and a hint of rebellion. Whether you’re a music festival junkie or just a person dipping their toes in the water, you are sure to find whatever it is that you’re looking for here.