Being from LA I am a spoiled, spoiled brat. My dad's job opened up a door for me. Mostly, connections with concerts, festivals, special events, VIP and... going backstage! So naturally I learned that the best things in life are free...and I stopped wanting to pay for them. At all.
Fast forward. It mostly pays off... but it's good and bad.
Like, Coachella. I've gone off and on for about 8 years. It's a huge festival nestled in the desert about 2 hours from where I grew up and where my family has spent many years vacationing. It's everything I love about music. Fashion, beauty, and lots and lots of music.
The good, I get in for free. I can bring friends. Lots of friends. There's stages, tents, things to do, things to see... room to dance, places to relax, beer tents, everything you could imagine to eat... You can even dance barefoot. It's so clean. The music is always an amazing mix of old and new, rock and hip hop and up and coming. It's the perfect blend. I love walking by tents and being drawn into the dance party, having a house with my people and staying up all night gossiping and reminiscing with my girlfriends... perfecting my summer tan... in April!
The bad, too hot, too crowded, cell reception keeping you from seeing friends, overlapping set times. oh and, not having a ticket so I have to swallow the fact that I miss bands I flew 6 hours and drove 2 to see. Having a condo 20 minutes away but sitting in traffic for an hour, and walking in at the end of a set you wanted to catch. The price I have to pay for saving $300 a year...
This year, my highlights were going to be Jay Z, RX Bandits, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Thom Yorke, The Dead Weather.
Unfortunately, I didn't get to see any of those people! I didn't end up going Friday night because our plans were unorganized and I landed late. But my dad ended up arranging tickets for us for the next two days, so it did work out. I got up at 7, showered, dressed, packed and then waited. and waited. ahhh. My friend ran a little late getting to my house by our arranged 8:30-8:45 departure. She pulled up a little after 9 and I started sweating it. For some reason, RXB were set to play at 12:25! Ahhh... in all my years, I've never made it in in time to see the first person on my list, so I was really nervous.
Unlike other years, I was actually trying to get in early. Which was actually a good thing, because there was really no traffic getting out into the desert. We made it in two hours, met up with my best friend, and left a car at the hotel. We made it to the grounds by 12:15! 10 minutes to spare.
Unfortunately, at that moment, I received a text that the person with our passes would not be back until after 1. Saaaaadness. I was completely devastated. BUT WE MADE IT! What a letdown. So my next deadline became 2:30, to be in by the time RXB had their meet and greet....but 3pm came and went.
To make the most of our day, we left to grab food and heard about a house party going on. Alright, I had heard about these things for years but never managed to leave my own condo/pool, etc. We managed to get wristbands and sneak in. Free booze, free band and a photo booth! Dope.
Then we got the call that it was time to head back and go in. Took us about 10 minutes and we met up with our man, caught up with my sister and were ushered in the backdoor. Right behind the Outdoor Stage where Edward Sharpe HAD JUST FINISHED. gdi. Siiigh. There's always next year? Ouch.
We wandered for a bit and checked out the new art fixtures. Some cool stuff. Headed over to the tents and caught the Dirty Projectors set. I had never heard of them but they were amazing! We danced and danced and I could not take my eyes off of the two ladies at stage left. They were dancers/back-up singers and they were so cute! There were so many people on stage (in the band?) it just looked like a fun little group.
Next I tried to catch up with my best friend who I had lost, and my other friend got restless and wandered off, so I trekked over to the VIP tents to avoid the lines and get a drink. As I headed toward the bathroom in the back, I noticed a throng of papz. Who could they be following?! I took a quick peek and realized I was walking next to Jay Z and Beyonce. Hilarious. In the next 2 minutes, Paris and Nikki Hilton came out and I snapped a pic with Whitney Port because I think she is adorable, smart and talented.
Now it was time to head back over to the Outdoor Stage to catch MGMT. I'd seen them before at Lollapalooza and I did not want to miss their set. I was alone, so it was easy to push up and get pretty close. Although there were a lot of couples and tough gals who wanted to push back. I formed a quick alliance with a few kids and we snuck up pretty far. Awesome. The show was amazing, the lighting with palm trees hugging the stage was magical. I didn't like the album at first listen but I enjoyed it live. MGMT's Electric Feel is one of my favorite songs ever, and it was sooo great to see it and dance my face off during it. Toward the end of their set, they still hadn't played Kids and everyone was sort of shocked when they did end their set without playing it. Since then I've read they are doing pretty much all they can do avoid superstardom. Hard to do when you're a great band, but to each their own!
At this point, luckily, I found my friend! We had agreed to meet by the left side of the MGMT stage and I looked for her during the set but didn't see her and just enjoyed myself. But right after she came out of nowhere and I could not have been happier. We wandered over to the beer garden in between the Outdoor and Main stages to grab a drink before Muse.
And I had to say this, but for as much as I LOVE Muse, I didn't enjoy their set as much as I should have. I was really bummed we couldn't find my best friend and because it was sooo oversold, we couldn't get a good spot at all, so it was hard to hear and hard to see. Really a departure from when I'd see them at The Forum in LA and Red Rocks in Colorado. Plus, I was completely unfamiliar with their new music, which they played a lot of.
After Muse I am sad to say we headed over to VIP instead of back over to the Outdoor Stage to see Dead Weather. I don't know what I was thinking but I wanted to find my best friend before it got too late and I knew I'd get reception on the west side of the fields. I fully regret not being able to see Jack White!
Buutttt.... we found Melissa, grabbed a bite and ran over to catch Sia. On our way we got caught up in the massive Tiesto dance party. I was so mesmerized I wanted to stay but I wasn't near as intoxicated as I felt like I needed to be to partake in the dance party. So on we went...
Oh man oh man I am sooo glad we caught Sia. She redeemed all the misses of the day. She was so amazing! She was in a tent and her voice overwhelmed it. She is so charismatic and silly and adorable. She jokes with the crowd, she captivates you. Another cool thing that she does is bring in a sign language interpreter and I was having trouble keeping my eyes off of her! The set was a perfect mix of a dance party and a ballad serenade where it made your heart hurt if you didn't have someone holding you. A week later my best friend asked me what song it had been that made me lose my shit, and the song was not Breathe Me. Pretty amazing how emotional she made me but she is that strong, her voice is that haunting.
Breathe Me was my hands down highlight of that night. I have never been so moved. I was so overwhelmed by emotion I couldn't breathe.
I think we left after that, I don't remember seeing anyone else.
The major disappointment from that day (on top of missing the bands I wanted to see, adding insult to injury...) I forgot my camera cord, so I went to CVS to get a cd of my pictures... and didn't even think that my videos would not transfer over... so I lost them all. Bummer.
The best friend headed back to LA that night, and my friend and I crashed at the Motel 6 before heading back for the last day. We headed over early and snuck in around 2pm. Unfortunately, we got caught and tossed out. So we just laid out on the grass and drank the drinks we'd snuck in our bags, trying to decide if we'd stay or head home... when we got up to leave about an hour or so later, I realized we were by a VIP entrance and the checkpoint was on the opposite side... so we just strolled back in. Sweet!
I don't remember seeing anyone too memorable this day. I do know I saw Julian Casablancas, who I love, but he only played one Strokes song. I saw Phoenix who were great but were extremely overhyped. Then we wandered for a bit. I can't remember anyone we saw but I do know I tried for hours to find my sister and friends who had come from out of state, with no luck. We decided to head home and stopped by a tent to watch Little Boots who were amazing. But at this point I had removed myself mentally from the festival. I guess I knew we were not staying for Gorillaz or Thom Yorke so I just didn't want to put more thought into the situation.
All in all, I learned to have a better buddy system in place... it never seemed to be a problem in years past but we'd always had a huge group and splitting up was easy because you always had someone to stay with. I also learned, if your favorite band is playing, BUY A FREAKING TICKET! (or don't complain) I couldn't afford the 3 day ticket and I am disappointed that was installed, I hope it doesn't stick but it might, since it sold out. It was also a bummer just how oversold it was. It was hard to walk through the crowds, stand in line for things and go in and out of tents, beer gardens, etc.
I am still sad over missing RXB and Edward Sharpe the most. I feel like I've been bewitched by RX Bandits and to have missed them in that dream setting is a heartache. Edward Sharpe have this magical desert sound. I am really disappointed we missed them by minutes. I just wonder what it would have been like.
So here is to next year. It's always fun but it's also a learning experience. The Indio desert is truly a magical place and one of my absolute favorite places to be. I can't wait to go back.