The 11th annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival took place in Indio, California over the weekend of April 16-18. Around 75,000 people gathered to witness amazing performances by some of the best bands around and had an experience that they will never forget. The interesting people you meet and the sights that you witness make the weekend unforgettable. This is my third straight year of Coachella camping, yet this year will leave a completely different lasting memory.
From the beginning I knew this Coachella would be different. Before I highlight some of the best acts of the weekend, I must address one aspect that could not go overlooked by attendees: the amount of people.In previous years, attendance was capped at 60,000 per day, while this year an additional 15,000 tickets were sold per day.Unfortunately, this will go down as the underlying theme for many of this year’s attendees. From two-hour lines to get into parking, three-hour lines to take a shower and the inability to get close to any stage without having to watch multiple acts before, a general lack of organization was the theme of the weekend.
Looking past this, there were many great acts spanning three days and five stages.On Friday, one of the standouts was The Avett Brothers. These North Carolina natives play some of the best country/folk music today. With a set drawing primarily from their new album I and Love and You, they won over the crowd with their unique performance and stage presence.Playing one of my favorites, “Paranoia in B-Flat Major,” the Avett Brothers were one of the best daytime acts all weekend.
Later on in the Sahara Tent (dance tent), Wolfgang Gartner had arguably the best DJ performance all weekend.As the sun set, he played some of the weekend’s heaviest beats.
Performing before Jay-Z on the main stage, LCD Soundsystem had a lot to live up to. Going into Coachella, I never thought the band was anything special, but after the weekend, I was sold. It was easily one of the top five acts of the weekend.Ending its set with an upbeat version of “Yeah,” LCD Soundsystem had the crowd pumped for Jay-Z.
Saturday afternoon brought an energetic and amazing performance by Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros.Edward Sharpe and his gang are a bunch of faux-hippies from Los Angeles playing music straight out of the 70s. By the time the band’s set ended with its most popular song “Home,” the vibe of the crowd was distinctly Woodstock.
Later that night on the same stage, England’s Hot Chip played its eclectic electronic music to a sea of dancing fans. Playing hits “Over and Over” and “Ready For the Floor,” they put on a performance not to miss.
On the main stage on Saturday night, Muse proved to the crowd why they deserved to be headliner-worthy. A guilty pleasure of mine, I was really looking forward to it’s set.The band ripped through hits such as “Newborn” and “Time is Running Out,” concluding with an epic rendition of “Knights of Cydonia.”
While all the guidos and guidettes got their dance on at the Main Stage for Tiesto, I headed over to catch one of my favorite DJ duos 2manydjs.Marred by a short and horrible time slot, it was unfortunate that more people were not present to see their very entertaining set.
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts festival is an event that everyone must attend at least once in their life. Even with way too many people this year, I would not hesitate to fly all the way back to California for the festival next year.