Coachella doesn’t seem to get much slack these days, often surrounded by ironically-composed mocking accompanied by an eye-roll or two. It’s become a buzzword and staple for over privileged reckless youth, arguably surpassing that of the iconic “Spriiing Breeaak!!” It’s true that Coachella is as overhyped as it gets but that’s not to take away the captivating beauty of this stunningly-built music and arts festival. Surely I saw the infamous ‘Chella flower-crown archetype and even a culturally-insensitive headdress or two, but I also witnessed the most colorful individuals and experiences at a music event, in both a literal and figurative sense (sans the help of mind potions). Having been for the most part sober at Coachella, I took in the vast beauty of this desert playground for what it was and (cue cheesy statement) came out of it a changed person.
It’s easily overlooked that Coachella Arts and Music Festival is quite actually, an arts and music festival. It is typically assumed to be a wild drug-fueled vast desert party ruled by the young people, but in fact, there are quite a few families roaming the Empire Polo Fields checking out the cool art and watching the live music acts. It’s just like any other county festival, except for the sheer fact of the ridiculous amount of people and hype it has amounted over the years. The most bizarre sight to see is the juxtaposition of half-naked festival goers high out of their minds in the middle of the day inches from children with their parents gawking at the wonder of the gigantic festival. My favorite sight, though, was seeing a little boy on the shoulders of his dad with headphones in at Mr. Carmack’s set in the middle of the crowd. Coolest Dad Award? Perhaps.
So many lines at Coachella! There are even lines to get in line. Lines for the bathroom, showers, phone charging stations, food, water-refill stations. It’s a fact of life at Coachella, you will have to wait at least 15 minutes for anything you decide to partake in. The shower lines amass a 40-minute wait time by 8 a.m. each morning validating that the early bird truly does get the worm. For those who weren’t blessed by the patience gods, a water jug and a friend are the holy grail for achieving maximum cleanliness. Although the satisfaction of that cold outdoor shower will literally dry up in the following hour by the wrath of the angry Coachella heat gods.
Maybe it’s the shared sense of suffering from the heat or the home girl Molly, but everybody seems so ecstatic to be alive at Coachella. People are willing to lend a hand to anyone in need, especially at the campsites. Coachella car camping is a makeshift four-day community surrounded by open campsites and inclusive neighbors. It’s a 24/7 party day in day out, grounded by a judgment-free principle of inclusiveness. Walk by any campsite and you're guaranteed to be invited over for a game of rage cage or conversation, this shared comradeship extends to the festival grounds with people helping fellow dehydrated festival goers receive water or help when necessary.
4. Attractive Humans
There must be something in the water at Coachella because I have never seen so many beautiful people in one location in my life. It’s a dizzying experience walking through the Polo Fields and having to scan half-naked attractive human after half-naked attractive human, male and female. After a while, you just stop paying attention because there is a maximum level of visual input your eyes can take before they malfunction altogether. The frustrating aspect of this sorcery is that even after hours of 90 plus degree weather these semi-humans still manage to look absolutely flawless. Prepare to feel like a tattered potato at Coachella.
I received countless warnings about the heat from my friends so much it started to sound like a broken record. It wasn't until we got settled in that I realized what I had gotten myself into. The heat punched me in the face so hard it became a struggle. Day 1, I made the arrogant mistake of not consuming enough water and spent my evening puking my entire existence out and missing Jack Ü's and M83's set due to my unfortunate brush with heat exhaustion and dehydration. I didn't hear the end of "DRINK WATER" by my friends after this. Aside from the obvious heat we also witnessed the fury of #Windchella2016 wherein we lost a number of honorable canopies and tents by the angry winds of the Coachella Valley. Never forget.