April 19, 2012

Everything you need to know about Coachella 2012

2012 is the first year Coachella has been replicated for a second weekend, and as a first-weekend attendee, I wanted to offer some advice to my second-weekend friends.

I'll start by saying Coachella 2012 was outrageously fun. I was there with classmates from Stanford, and I was supremely impressed with the design of the festival (shout out to my friend Chris Kantrowitz whose brilliance shined throughout). If you're lucky enough to be attending, get excited!


1) Prepare for looooong lines at security to get into the festival every day. They split into men's and women's lines so make sure you're in the right place.

2) If you're not camping, I recommend renting a bike to go to and from the festival. It was a fun and convenient way to get around.

3) Get your drink wristband as soon as you get into the festival.

4) You can get a plate for chow mein noodles for $2 at the chinese food booth. Cheapest food at the festival, and not half bad.

5) Toilet paper ran out all the time in the porta-potties. Bring your own.

6) If you're rolling with a crew, I highly recommend bringing a "festival stick" as it is tremendously helpful when folks get separated from the herd. Also bring el wire or glow sticks to help illuminate the festival stick at night. Your stick probably won't be as cool as Brock Lee, but you can always aspire to greatness.

7) It's my opinion that there are few things more fun than dancing to house music in a huge crowd. If you agree (or if you're just curious), when in doubt, go to the Sahara tent for electronic/house music. It is guaranteed to be the most fun place at the festival. Also, there's a beer garden conveniently located at the back of the tent.

8) Be prepared for a lengthy and claustrophobic exit from the festival on Sunday night after Dre and Snoop.

Coachella Fashion:

1) Step one: Laugh at yourself

2) Looks like it's going to be crazy hot for Weekend 2. Dress appropriately.

3) Neon

4) Headbands

4) Feathers

5) Face paint

5) Glitter / sparkles

6) Arm party


This list is obviously not exhaustive, nor is the exclusion of an artist a suggestion that they're not worth seeing. The line-up this year is so great, and the energy so positive, you almost can't go wrong no matter who you go see. That said, here are my thoughts based on what I saw and heard...

Friday Music:
  • GIVERS (Mojave tent): Early in the day, but such a fun performance. Their female lead is super badass, I promise you'll fall in love with her immediately.
  • Madeon (Sahara tent): Awesome.
  • Alesso (Sahara tent): Awesome.
  • Afrojack (Sahara tent): Awesome -- had other performers join him on stage near the end.
  • M83 (Mojave tent): I got there late and the speakers in the back of the Mojave tent didn't seem to be working. Sounded like listening to M83 at the bottom of a trash can. That said, I had friends at the front who said it was a great show.
  • Swedish House Mafia (main stage): Didn't get a chance to see them, but they've been awesome every time I've seen them before. Friends at the show said it was excellent. Expect fireworks.
  • Amon Tobin (Mojave tent): This performance is unique because of its light choreography -- worth checking out for that alone. Warning: the "music" doesn't really have a melody and is pretty down-tempo. If you're looking to get pumped up and dance, avoid this tent.

Saturday Music:
  • Dragonette (Mojave tent): I didn't get mobilized early enough to see them, but I heard from others that they were a blast.
  • Childish Gambino (main stage): Friends who went said he was hilarious, if a bit explicit.
  • Jeremy Sole (The Do Lab): We were all in a good mood and just bopped over to this stage to dance around a bit. I remember it being really fun. Also, they sprayed the audience with misters.
  • Sebastian Ingrosso (Sahara tent): Can't go wrong with one third of Swedish House Mafia.
  • David Guetta (Sahara tent): Best group dance party of the weekend. Usher showed up.
  • SBTRKT (Gobi tent): Awesome.
  • Kaskade (Sahara tent): Awesome.
  • Radiohead (main stage): I think we were too far away from the stage, and it just didn't sound that great, so we left and went back to Kaskade. Others have said it was amazing, so don't write it off.

Sunday Music:
  • Fanfarlo (Gobi tent): Didn't go, but heard rave reviews from friends.
  • Santigold (main stage): I saw her years ago at the Hollywood Bowl and she put on a spectacular show. She did not disappoint at Coachella. Really fun daytime concert.
  • The Weeknd (Outdoor theater): Didn't go, but heard it was beautiful and chill (as expected).
  • Gotye (Mojave tent): Also heard this was great, but that it really got rowdy when they closed with "Somebody That I Used to Know" (one can only expect that all the girls in headbands suddenly chimed in for a singalong).
  • Justice (main stage): We waited around, but the set started nearly 30 minutes late. We were already walking to Calvin Harris when they went on. Heard good things from those who stayed.
  • Calvin Harris (Sahara tent): Awesome.
  • Beirut (Mojave tent): Strong reviews from friends who went -- very relaxing and chill concert.
  • Girl Talk (Outdoor theater): I was devastated to miss this show because I have a special affinity for Girl Talk live shows. His performance at Treasure Island Music Festival in 2009 is still one of my favorite live shows ever. I think Girl Talk is always fun, if you can make it.
  • Florence and the Machine (Outdoor theater): I heart Florence and think she had the best album of 2009. Don't miss.
  • Dre and Snoop (main stage): Great 90s throwback. Snoop and Dre were excellent. Embarrassingly terrible screen graphics. Whiz Kalifa kept it current. 50 Cent bopped around while his old jams played in the background -- it was clear he's not that naturally talented. Eminem, on the other hand, is just as good as the first time I saw him at the Warped Tour in 1999. The much-hyped Tupac hologram turned out to be a little creepy. Felt like 90,000 people paid to see a grainy video of a Tupac impersonator. That said, friends near the front said the hologram looked way more awesome up close.

No comments: