by Coachella Valley | April 14, 2016 11:05 am
by Michelle Roe
So many people, myself included, hear the rumors, have only captured a view of the streaming videos, and caught a glimpse of the “Coachellicans” boarding their party buses to that faraway land on the other side of the valley. Besides the music (there are concert tours everywhere) What’s really out there? What is the big deal? Why is this the place to be and be seen? We want to know “what it’s like”…so my musings go to the overall experience verses a focus on music. Besides, your kids can download some sets for your listening pleasure later.
People Watching… There are people everywhere…and this is people watching at its very best. There is , truly, an eclectic mix of all clothing for all age groups. There is definitely a bo-ho chic Coachella aesthetic and that’s part of the festival fun with those in the know sporting lots of floppy hats, booties, and fringe accessories. Fashionstas in high-end couture kaftans and vintage silk kimono wraps just stun while taking their selfies. However, at the opposite spectrum, there’s the “let’s party” ensembles that leave little to the imagination. Again, something for absolutely everyone…though taste boundaries are pushed to the limits. (more on fashion later to come). Of course, Coachella is a people watching paradise and the fashion parade is spectacular.
The grounds…impressive. The grassy areas and dirt paths are pristine…I mean, I ‘m really impressed at how clean everything is (well- except the bathroom situation but hey..it’s to be expected). The grounds are also well-layed out with clear markings to get people moving around easily. Directions are pretty clear and the “pocket- guide” to Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival…a must have to find your way around!
Technology… Coachella is a very interactive experience with technology at the forefront of sound engineering and social media. Samsung and JPL have amazing booths to promote their gear but more importantly give guests a unique multi-platform experience. These “tents” are designed like high-end art galleries and their interiors have been arranged as indoor oasis’.
The visual impact of each different locale is specific to each brand. At the NRG tent you are given a visual treat in a 3D laser light show set to music all powered by solar energy…a great way to showcase alternative energy solutions and give a nod to progressive innovation. There is, also, no lack of phone charging stations on the property. They are everywhere with pop-up lounges spread throughout the grounds.
Recycling… is also of huge importance at this festival. You can read about their many initiatives on their website (www.coachella.com) but it’s great to see concepts in action. There are garbage and recycle stations no more than a few footsteps from anywhere on the property. In addition, there is a very visible crew picking up garbage during the event…not just afterwards. A “garbage garden” of decorated trash bins makes a huge statement. Together, these , small, but very detailed and appreciated touches make for a much cleaner experience and leaves a smaller footprint on our environment.
Exploring…After taking in some of the scene, grabbing a munchy, and hitting a few gigs, by afternoon, you are ready to check out the campgrounds and craft areas. It’s easy to see why 20-somethings might want to opt for the camping experience. It’s like spring break of yester year…only bigger…at a music and arts festival…for three days. The camping village, however, (unlike that trek to Tijuana) has everything to meet the needs of those going for more rustic “rooms’. There’s a farmers market, a general store, a breakfast café, craft food options for every taste…organic, gluten free, vegan. The activities and amenities at the campgrounds entertain and there are large art installations in these areas as well.
The sights…The daylight offers soooo much to SEE. Larger than life art installations, camping locales, activities, crafting, merchandising tents, beer gardens, rose gardens… take it all while the sun still shines because when nighttime descends upon the festival…the dark shadows of the crowd fade amid the bright lights of the stage lighting, the intricate landscape lighting and neon colored art displays. e
The sounds… Outdoor stages have sound systems that amazingly don’t compete for attention. The space is spread out so sounds “blend” in the middle but each “area” has excellent acoustics to hear the bands on their stage. The tents are a crazy frenzy of head bobbing bodies all moving to the rhythm of elecro DJ beats or concert sounds in giant tents named after world deserts….Gobi, Sahara, Mojave. The light displays are an attraction in of itself.
The smells…Well I understand why the bandana/scarf is so handy. While we didn’t suffer from extreme wind or a haboob…bandanas/scarves are great multi-purpose accessories to filter dust/smoke/etc. The mix of aromas is both” sweet and savory” so to speak…but it isn’t quite as overpowering as it could be…the BBQ smells were attractive.
The tastes… Two words…Food Trucks. They just rock. There is mouthwatering food everywhere to temp your taste-buds…but the food trucks seem to be the perfect Festival foodie attraction. You must try the Hawaiian Sliders from the “Me So Hungry” and go visit Willis at Cupcake Vineyard’s bright citrus colored wine tasting truck…innovative, festive, and at $1 a taste…by far the best beverage bargain!! If you’re in the mood for a more sit-down experience, Golden Voice has curated some of the best restaurants and chefs in SoCal so whatever your dining pleasure…you’ll be satisfied!
To feel…Pop under an artistic shade lounge or art structure. Your skin will thank you. Feel the cooling effects of the misters and get sprayed water at the Do Lab. By mid-day or early evening, you are ready for that massage at JPL or a quick facial at Sephora.
Pampering… Sephora tent treats guests to an on the spot facial, and DIY beauty bar with consultants on hand to give pointers on temp tattoos, metallic make-up, and the latest trends in cosmetic contouring. While JPL allows you to hang out at their indoor pool party while indulging in a complimentary five minute massage. All of the retailer sponsors on site have spared no expense to welcome festival-goers, make them feel pampered and get them ready to celebrate. The days and nights can be long and to know there are places to “relax, refresh, recharge” and get out of the sun for a minute is great info…and these marketers will have made fans for life…they are brilliant.
The magical multiplying crowd… Be prepared…each time you take a break to “relax and recharge” at the many shade areas, interactive boutiques, and charging stations…you will “emerge” and the crowd will have doubled. By 9pm…it’s breathing room only…wall to wall people and that vastness of space shrinks. You are now one with the wave of people in an electrifying presence of the unknown.
The energy… as expected changes throughout the event. The mood is pretty mellow during the day but there’s a sense of anticipated excitement as if waiting for the unknown but expected surprise. At night, an electric force envelops the venue and the crowd buzzes under the bright lights of animated artwork, stage lighting, and the party pulse of the crowd is infectious.
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