Happy Friday! Last weekend I had the pleasure of going to Coachella, a three-day music and arts festival in the desert of Southern California. The first time I went to Coachella was in 2005…with my mom. I only went for one day and with the sole intention of seeing Bright Eyes, my favorite band throughout high school. My music taste has grown since then, and with it, so has Coachella, a festival that now brings together almost 200,000 people in the name of music and art each April.
After my short stint in 2005, I went back to Coachella in 2010 and ’11, this time with a big group of friends and a long list of performers I yearned to see. Between waking up with the sun and dancing alongside thousands of other music lovers, I was sold. This was my Happy Place. I had to miss Coachella the past few years while I was in Japan, so I was ecstatic that I had the chance to go back this year. It feels a little trite to try and describe my experience at Coachella, like attempting to discuss what you love about someone and feeling like none of your words live up to what you really mean to say. I guess all I can express is that it feels free, as if you’ve peeled back the layers of society, only to find something a little more simple, creative, and likable. Ultimately, it’s hard not to feel ecstatic when you spend three days in the company of your closest friends, listening to some of the best music in the world.
In total, I saw 34 performances, which still kind of boggles my mind. Some of them I had been looking forward to since the lineup was announced, while others I wandered into unknowingly and left a little different than when I arrived. Below are all of the musicians I got to see live on each of the days. I linked most of them to a song I recommend listening to so that you can check them out, too. :) I also bolded my favorite performances and included a list of artists I regrettably didn’t get to see, but wish I did! I think my top five acts of the weekend were Flume, RL Grime, Little Dragon, Arcade Fire, and Daughter. If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend seeing them live! Here’s who I saw:
Saturday: Young and Sick, UZ, The Internet, Temples, Bombay Bicycle Club, Chvrches, Julian Casablancas, The Head and the Heart, Washed Out, Dillon Francis, RL Grime, Solange, Sleigh Bells, Pharrell Williams, T.E.E.D.
Notable Mentions That I Didn’t See (But Wish I Did): Shlohmo, Bonobo, Girl Talk, Anti Flag, Aeroplane, Banks, MGMT, Pixies, Empire of the Sun, Nas, Surfer Blood, and Adventure Club.
My Favorite Moments
1. Since Coachella is so huge, many people carry around poles with something attached to the top so that their friends can easily find them in a crowd. My favorite one was an enormous Steve Buscemi head that always seemed to end up right behind us.
2. Making ribbon twirling spirit sticks, buttons, necklaces, and instruments at the free arts and crafts area.
3. Watching all of my guy friends make ribbon twirling spirit sticks, buttons, necklaces, and instruments at the free arts and crafts area. :)
4. Accidentally falling asleep outside my tent two nights in a row because I didn’t want to leave my friends.
5. Waking up covered in dirt and sand after falling asleep outside my tent.
6. Likewise, waking up every morning just an arm’s reach or a few steps from people I love.
7. Going literally bonkers at all the trap music shows we went to. BONKERS. I never really listened to trap music before, but I can appreciate any genre where going batshit crazy is not only accepted, but expected.
8. DANCING. I love dancing. Since there was music playing almost 24/7, I’m pretty sure my body kept moving, even when I was doing mundane things, like waiting in line for the bathroom or charging my cell phone. A couple of my friends were wearing Nike watches and at one point when we checked them, they had burned 3,000 calories so far that day just from all the walking and dancing we’d been doing.
9. Beyonce came out at the end of Solange’s set! She didn’t perform, but she and Solange did a little dance number together and then hugged and laughed by each other’s sides. It was really cute to see their relationship in person.
10. After Solange, my friends and I were high on adrenaline and literally ran to the next show, Sleigh Bells, a field away. When we arrived, we found a big open space and just started busting out the craziest dance moves we could and jumped around nonstop. 11. We were like little kids on a sugar high. It.was.so.effing.fun.
12. I had no expectations for Pharrell’s show, since I haven’t listened to him since N.E.R.D., but he ended up being one of my favorites because of all the surprise guests he brought out. In total, he brought out Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes, Gwen Stefani, Nelly, P Diddy, Diplo, and Tyler, the Creator and they performed songs like, “Hot in Herre” and “Drop It Like It’s Hot.” I freakin’ love throwback music.
13. Feeling major girl power! So many of the best acts we saw were headed by women. It was pretty damn neat. :)
14. Seeing artists I’d barely heard of, like Daughter and HAIM, and leaving completely in love with them and their music.
15. Feeling a true connection to the musicians who performed, either because of things they said in between songs or because of the raw gratitude they exhibited. A couple singers teared up because they were so happy. It was just kind of beautiful. :)
16. When they cut the sound at the end of Arcade Fire, the last performance of the weekend, but the thousands of people in the crowd continued to sing along together.
17. The fact that I haven’t stopped smiling the entire time I’ve been writing out these memories.
18. Spending a weekend of bliss with some of the best people I know. :)
And because I barely took any photos at Coachella, here’s a video of me and my friends dancing.
Now I have the pleasure of introducing you to a couple of my sponsors!
Setarra of Quaintrelle
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Esther of Esther & Jacob
I had the pleasure of meeting Esther last month and can attest to how sweet and wonderful she is in real life! On her blog, Esther & Jacob, she writes mainly about married life, travel, and anything where she can share some of her gorgeous pictures (she’s a photographer, so you know she’s got it goin’ on in the photo department). I recommend starting here or here if you’re new to her blog. She also does something that I totally love: date her husband. They have a goal to go on 52 dates this year and do fun, random things together, like visit the Pinball Hall of Fame. I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy Esther’s blog as much as I do…go say hi!
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