Sunday, April 24, 2011

#20: Rock out at a music festival—CHECK!

On April 18, 2011, I stepped foot on Coachella ground for the very first time and breathed in that desert air, so thick with music and palpable excitement. As I stood surrounded by multiple stages, each spotlighting an act surrounded by its own reverent crowd, I found myself pining for all the Coachella festivals that passed me by. Why on earth did it take me so long to get here?

I'm light years away on the musical uptake compared to the cool kids and hipsters, but I enjoy and love to dabble in all types of music, so the musical buffet that is Coachella is my definition of some kind of heaven. I love how the music festival experience allows you to rock out for an hour, rave for another, trip out to electronica for the next and bop your head to hiphop for the last few ... and then wake up the next day and do it all again!

I'd become so accustomed to living in my own little music bubble with my iPod and white earbuds that I tend to forget how wonderful the shared experience of music can be. Music preferences are a very personal thing, but there's something so cool about hearing the opening bars of a song you like and having a crowd of thousands around you roar in excitement. The recognition of thousands of musical kindred souls gives me the warm and fuzzies.

The key to enjoying Coachella, I found, was to check expectations at the door and just go with the flow. The simple fact is that there's no way to see everything you want to see. Your favorite acts could be on all at the same time, and being with a group of friends with their own favorites complicates things further. You just to have to live with the fact that you can't watch every band perform every single song. Just enjoy what you do happen catch and remember: it's a music festival, not a rat race.
The upside of being at Coachella with a group is that you get pulled into seeing acts that were previously out of your radar. I discovered a lot of new music over the weekend that I would otherwise continue to be oblivious to, had it not been for Coachella. 

Apart from the music, I really dug the atmosphere, too. I'm not a fan of people whose schtick is to make it appear like they'd rather be somewhere else cooler. At Coachella, it's clear that there's nowhere else everyone would rather be than right there, and I love that.
We ran into a few famous people wandering around Coachella like regular folks. Toobs and I saw Marcel, rapping foam-meister of Top Chef infamy, wandering around the parking lot before we even entered. We were so dumbfounded at the sight of him that we just froze and openly stared at him while slurping down our massive cups of pear vodka tonics. We couldn't stop whining about how we failed to get our picture taken with him for days. The next night, our friend Mayi suddenly broke away from the group when she spotted Penn Badgley by a pretzel stand. He was so apologetic about saying no when she asked to take a picture (he didn't want to draw attention to himself) that she couldn't feel bad even if she tried. Sadly, I didn't realize it was he that she was speaking with so I didn't get a good look. All I remember was seeing her speaking to a short dude. Oh well.

Aside from the famous folks, there were also tons of crazy characters at Coachella. There were the muscle daddies (see the anchor photo to this post) who not only obliged to take a picture with us but decided it would be fun to carry us all for the shot. They also whipped out their own camera to get a picture (I suppose Asian princesses are novelty items to Cali queens, as well), and for that I literally got flipped upside down, which was fun! Unfortunately we don't have a copy of that pic so if you see one floating around on the Internetz, do let me know.

I love playing dress up so I was tickled pink with the sight of all the bedazzled and feathered creatures roaming the grounds (the many stuffed animal hats, I quickly tired of though).  These neon, feathered ladies were particularly delightful. Makes me think I'll really have to hit up Burning Man one of these years ...
Overall, it was definitely a rockin' good time and I am glad that my little project got my butt to the California desert to experience the bliss and magic of Coachella. This little spring fling will turn into a yearly ritual, I can tell. Thanks to my Cali friends for showing me a fantastic time. Til next year!


  1. Woo hoo. Great write up. I so need to make it one of these days. Which act would you say was your favorite? And just how hot was it? :)

  2. So much fun! You've got to go! My favorite act had to be Robyn. Great music and such an awesome performer. You could tell she was just as stoked to be there as all of us! It was HOT. 100 degrees and up during the day on Saturday and Sunday!

  3. I do love the anchor photo-how fun! And I agree, it's so much fun to hear a song that you think is "yours" and then to hear other people joining in to sing along.

  4. It is right?! It's almost as fun as when you start a karaoke song and people start singing along cos they love it too. Awesome karaoke performance on your blog btw, Jessica ;-)


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