If March is Miracle Month, April is Marathon Month. I may not have run in a 26.2-mile race, but I guarantee you that my body has endured the same amounts of exhaustion. ANYWAYS! Coachella 2017 was definitely one for the books. After two weekends of celebrating my birthday in Vegas, I took east for the Desert Cites for the 2017 Coachella Valley Arts and Music Festival. Like I mentioned in my last post, I decided that I would attend both weekends this year, and once Gaga was swapped onto the lineup, I knew it was destiny.
Weekend one was amazing. I felt like I saw more people I knew than in my last two years combined, and it was incredible to spend time seeing my favorite acts surrounded by my motliest groups of friends, ever. At the end of the day, I am happy to know that I got to have the most incredible time at my favorite place with the people I love.
Weekend two, in my mind, was going to be a liiiiiiittle more low-key. I knew significantly less people who were going, and it was going to be a good chance to see the acts I loved, try to catch more of those I didn’t get to see, eat all the food I didn’t at W1 and get more content, of course. All of this took a slight(ly significant) turn when a few friends and I went to Empire Polo Club, where Coachella is held, to be extras in Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s new remake of the film, “A Star is Born.”
It was INCREDIBLE to watch Gaga working in this environment, to truly see an artist in their work. While I don’t have any photos nor did I get to meet her, being in her energy was amazing. The group who organized getting Monsters to come be extras did two sets of raffles — first was tshirts, gift cards, speakers, etc. and second was two pairs of tickets to W2. Much to the surprise of my terrible luck, I won the second pair. I immediately texted my brother (who was at school in Boston) informing him of my great fourtune, and 48 hours later, he was in LA ready for his first Coachella. When we went to pickup the tickets on our way to Coachella on Friday, I found out that I had won two VIP tickets. And like the idiot I am, I had already put my GA W2 wristband off, so we had a whole ordeal to get it off so I could give it to my friend whom I sold it to.
It was so fun to return after two years and experience all the fun with a lot of my friends whom had never been before or whom I haven’t spent time with at the festival before.
Weekend 1 vs Weekend 2
I will 100% only ever go W1 if I can only go one weekend forever. W1 is definitely more chaotic and scene-y than that of W2, but being the Aries that I am, I like to experience everything first. W2 was more definitely a lot more laid back, and I didn’t feel like I was cramming 5000 things into one weekend. I also liked that my brother came W2 when our group was much smaller and I had already seen a lot of the acts. There is this very strange magic that occurs when you get to see your favorite artists live surrounded by your favorite people. (I just vommited at myself while I wrote that, don’t worry). I think these two highlights for me were: 1. Seeing Gaga at W1 and 2. Seeing Porter and Madeon(’s last joint set together, ever). Another dope moment was the Rufus du Sol surprise set at the Do Lab to close W2 (more to come on this).
As far as GA vs VIP, I would never pay for VIP, or at least, not anytime soon. All you get are those two garden areas with slightly better food. While I did love having real restrooms to use and getting my fixes of Matchabar and Kazu Nori, that $900 ticket is not worth it, in my opinion. It became especially less crucial for me when I found out that the gated areas in the front of each stage were actually only for those with Artist bands and not VIP as well. I’ll take being a pizánt in GA anytime.
Things I didn’t like
While I do love Coachella, a lot has changed in the last two years. Since they are really trying to max the attendance year-by-year, the physical set-up has changed a lot. Here is what I wasn’t hyped on
New Stage Arrangement
So they pushed over the Outdoor Stage and pushed the Mojave and Gobi tents, meaning they were no longer level with the Sahara Tent nor was it as easy to go from the Main Stage to Outdoor. I definitely got a ton of more steps in, but it made me quite annoyed. I’ll survive.
New Do Lab Set-up
From what I understand/have seen, the Do Lab changes the set up of their stage every few years or so. This year, this meant that we got a dome instead of a more open area. Unfortunately, this meant that it was 1000 times warmer inside and felt like a giant ball of sweat and humidity. Not to mention, there seemed to be significantly less hosing, which is the best part of Do Lab. I hope that their next setup is much better because during the day it was almost unbearable. I finally hit it at night though to see Rufus du Sol this year, and it was much much better. However, I think if we had gone to see Skrillex, it would have been more reminiscent of the day feel.
Rearrangement of Food Booths
This is kinda of random but I felt like the food was so spread out and scattered than before. The food is usually the best part of festivals for me, but I found myself just trying to eat whatever seemed the quickest and most convenient (so, Spicy Pie).
You definitely can understand and see how EDM has started to take over popular music because the Sahara tent was packed at all hours of each day (except during Anna Lunoe, yippee!!). In years past, I remember it definitely being moveable and more open during the daytime then filling up more and more as the sun went down. Even then, I felt like it was easier to navigate through before than it was this year.
I have to admit that I was a little underwhelmed by the art at the Coachella Valley Arts and Music Festival this year. I also think it’s sad that they sent the build-able unicorns in the boxes this year, kind of ruining the surprise. Anyways, shoutouts to the blue and tan pear in the Whoville (extremely phallic) installation for providing a perfect meeting spot.
This year, I felt like my shopping was all over the place. I started buying individual, random ass items that I told myself would match at least one thing in my closet and placed a few too many O’Mighty orders. It all paid off when I got photographed by a random person on the Friday of W1. Also: it was probably one of my greatest investments to get light-up sneakers. I definitely drank that Kool-Aid and will take them everywhere with me now. Cashhhhhh me at the 90 on graduation morning with them. (Don’t @ me)
I think my favorite outfit was my #JoanneVibes head-to-toe pink lewk from Saturday W1, with my Friday W2 and Sunday W2 coming in a close second.
Tank: Got it at a Gaga concert in 2014
Shoes: Some random place in Santee Alley
Bralette: American Apparel
Skirt: (lol it’s actually a button-up shirt) Free People
Choker: Melrose Flea
Bodysuit: Random place on Melrose
T-shirt: Gaga/Interscope pop-up shop
Bralette: Urban Outfitters
Shoes: Santee Alley, again
Top: Same random place on Melrose
Shoes: Santee Alley
Here is some of what I ate (don’t worry, I’m very disappointed in my performance this year):
- Chicken and shrimp Pad Thai
- Chicken and shrimp paella
- Kazu Nori
- Spicy Pie
- Chicken tenders and fries (kms)
I got to see so many amazing acts at Coachella this year — and some less impressive ones. Going two weekends was really nice to see some of my favorites from W1 during W2 or just catching ones I didn’t see.
(Listed in no particular order, by day)
Brownies and Lemonade b2b2b2b2b2b2b set — Louis the Child
Brownies and Lemonade announced Friday morning of W1 that they were gonna takeover the Do Lab for a couple hours and do this massive b2b with a ton of artists. This was our very first stop of the weekend, and we caught some of Louis the Child, which was super fun. I just did not think the Do Lab was as fun during the day as it once was.
We ended up leaving the B&L shebang for the end of Kungs, which was sooooo much fun. I had zero expectations and was really crushed I didn’t get to the festival early enough W2 to see him again.
I couldn’t rally any of my friends except two brave souls who were willing to catch the first couple of songs. I was sooooo eager to see what Alice Glass was really like in person, and I was in such awe. She literally DGAFOS about anything and was pouring hella water bottles over her head and choking herself in the mic cords. I think it would’ve been much better to see them at a headlining show in a club.
Coachella was my sixth and seventh time seeing Dillon, and I was still very impressed an enthused. I think Dillon always has great sets, bringing you all different kinds of sounds mixed with his original tracks and remixes. The sets between the two weekends was very much the same. I enjoyed all the surprises during W1 but then hearing it all again and experiencing it from a different spot in the Sahara tent W2. His production still gets an A+ from me. Best moment, I think, was a guest appearance by DJ Snake during W2 for “Get Low.”
What a joy The xx were during both weekends. Since I had never seen them before, I was sooooo stoked to see what their live show was really like and what songs they would play/how they would play them. I think they were fantastic for my first experience, and I would love to see them at a headlining show. I enjoyed their production and how well they incorporated Jamie’s talents as well. The xx were top 5 for me.
I had never seen Travis Scott, either, and Birds was my favorite album of 2016 (tied with Encore), so I was PUMPED for Travis. I stayed all of The xx’s set W1, so I watched Travis from the hill. And then I saw Flume after!!!!!! But we left The xx early W2 and fought to get a decent spot at Travis. I thought he was excellent, but I wished he played a fuller version of “Lose,” which he did an abbreviated version of as this was his third time ever playing it live. I would like to see him in a club or theater setting.
I stayed for Big Gigantic’s whole set W1 and only for a little during W2, but I was impressed. I wished it weren’t as packed, but we made do. They reminded me of a lovechild between Griz and Keys and Krates.
I don’t even know where to begin. It’s been 2 years since I had seen Gaga live, and that was on her tour with Tony Bennet. I could not have been more excited to see my queen with all of my best friends, two weekends in a row. I knew the set wasn’t going to be heavily Joanne-dominated, as her choreographer/creative director mentioned. I was blown away at the setlist, which was perfectly crafted to bring all 100k of us the most amazing mix of #1’s and deep cuts. I DIED hearing “Speechless” and “Sexxx Dreams” live, but I was most surprised by “Teeth.” I think she did incredible both weekends, and the feedback I got from everyone else I know who saw her either weekend said the same. I think I was happiest to hear this overwhelming feedback from my friends who had never seen her before, wrote her off or weren’t even planning to see her at Coachella — special shoutouts to the male breeders who were in awe.
If you told me when I went to my first Monster Ball that I would be seeing her my senior year of college at USC at Coachella closing Saturday surrounded by the most incredible and supportive people, I wouldn’t even believe you for a millisecond. I am very happy with the outcome and glad I was there for the premiere of “The Cure.”
DJ Snake was one of the people I was most excited to see live. The first weekend, our big group settled for a spot towards the back-ish so we could have room to dance and be able to get out quickly and easily for Gaga. Second weekend, we ran all the way along the side to get as close as possible. Both times were equally as amazing. W1 it was dope to see Lauryn Hill as a special guest, and I loved that everyone just threw all their stuff on the ground and had so much fun. W2 it was great to see the production up close and relive the ~magic~ — plus Dillon came out for, surprise, “Get Low.” I definitely wished that he and Gaga didn’t overlap so I could’ve seen it all.
So I was not going to go to Martin Garrix at all, but our group wanted to catch the beginning at W1. We watched from the back, outside of the tent and I thought the production was really strong, especially those lasers!!!!!!! We pretty much did the same thing W2 because we had to leave for Snake.
I’m not sure what it is, but something about rappers playing the main stage at big festivals just doesn’t work. Just like how terrible Drake was in 2015, Future did not deliver. Now, I do realize that this sounds biased since I do not like Future. I don’t think I made it longer than five minutes during W1 before I turned around and said “This is terrible” to my friends and then left. W2 I tried to be more optimistic because my brother is a huge Future fan. Twenty minutes into the set, he turns to me and says “We can leave.” So.
I think I just had bad luck with Mura Masa at Coachella. W1 he brought out NINE guests, but I ended up leaving early before one of my friends almost passed out. I was really sad to miss him because I’m a huge fan, but I was very disappointed at W2. He brought out the same chick for almost every song I saw. My brother and I ended up leaving early.
I had never seen GRYFFIN live before, but I had heard a lot of good things. I thought he played great sets and that his mixing and playing guitar and piano live was impressive.
I first heard of Anna Lunoe in 2014 when one of my friends insisted we see her at Coachella. I was captivated and have been following her ever since. She was playing at like 2 PM on Sunday, so I was veryyyyyy adamant that we make it. At W1, we caught the last 15-20 minutes and probably 40 W2. She is amazing and mad talented. She is incredible live and mixes and sings live while running all around — all while (newly) PREGNANT (Beyoncé, catch up). Since everyone I saw her with had never seen her before, they were all pleasantly surprised. (My friends and I went to see HH x HOWSLA live in Echo Park last week and met her also!!!! She was amazing!!!!)
Whethan played Do Lab on Sunday right after Bearson. He started a little late but played an amazing set for the 40 minutes, at least, that I was there. I’m very excited to see him at Bumbershoot in Seattle.
I kept having bad luck with trying to see Kaytranada, so I was stoked I got to catch him both weekends. His set was super groovy, and I think everyone in Sahara was moving the whole time. I desperately wanted him to bring Solange out, but I will survive. Special shoutout to appearances from Goldlink both weekends (represent MD). I would also love to see Kaytra in a more intimate setting.
Porter Robinson and Madeon
What an honor it was to see the last two shows Porter and Madeon will (supposedly) ever do together. I called by a long shot they would play that Sunday magic hour slot, and it could not have been more perfect. I went to the Shelter Tour at one of the Shrine dates, so it was really cool to see the show blown up to this size. The set was practically the same as the Shelter Tour, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself both weekends. Second weekend was definitely sadder, especially when Madeon waved goodbye at Porter before they performed “Shelter” again at the end of the set.
I felt super emotional during Lorde for whatever reason. Pure Heroine is one of my most favorite albums, and Lorde is one of my favorite performers. I hadn’t seen her live since 2014, and it felt like I was watching her all grown up (even if she’s only 20 now). Her stage presence is amazing, and her voice has aged so well. I was annoyed we kept moving around W1 because my friends wanted good spots for Kendrick and then I left early W2, but I will make up for lost time at Outside Lands and Bumbershoot.
I had seen Kendrick live twice, once in 2013 and once in 2014. Both times I was incredibly underwhelmed, so I was hesistant to see him close the main stage (especially considering the fiascos that were Drake in 2015 and Future this year). What So Not was closing Gobi, so I went to him after two or three songs of Kendrick during W1. W2, I stayed a little longer but planned to leave early once I heard that Rufus du Sol was the special guest at the Do Lab that night. I really only wanted to hear “Humble” but missed it W2. Anyways, I was not impressed either weekend, and my brother also initiated us leaving this set earlier than we had planned W2, and he loves Kendrick. So.
What So Not
I saw What So Not at Coachella in 2015 and a few months after in LA. Emoh has done so well with this project, especially since Flume’s exit from the project. The set was super thick and heavy in the beginning but once he got into all the WSN tracks, I was shook. It was honestly the perfect way to end W1, and I am so so so glad some of my friends also wanted to go so I wasn’t alone. His show has changed a ton in the last two years, and it was cool to see him in Gobi closing than in Sahara at 3 PM.
Rufus du Sol
I missed RDS at Coachella last year (Sad!) but successfully convinced my Greek fam to all go and skip, so this was a sign from the festival gods. The Do Lab is completely different at night, and I actually preferred it much more to the daytime. RDS just did a DJ set (without my mind Tyrone), but it was still perfect nonetheless. My brother and I met up with some friends and the whole tent was deeeeeeep vibing and everyone was moving the whole time. With all of the lights and production, I felt like I was in a fishbowl. It was truly spectacular. Plus, who doesn’t get a little shook in this setting when “Interbloom” drops??
TLDR: Skepta couldn’t play Coachella last year cause he lost his passport, SO Coachella brought him back this year. I was sooooo excited to see him for the first time. We were a little further back for W1 but right up in the front for W2. I really had to hear “It Ain’t Safe” the first weekend, and I ended up dipping early to catch Whethan. W2 it was 5000 degrees outside making it 10000000 degrees in the tent in a mosh of people. I tried to make it out the whole set but had to leave once I saw the dude next to me grabbing people by the shoulders and throwing them into the mosh. I ended up getting Kazu by myself, but my brother said the rest of the set was really good.
Okay, I am SO MAD I didn’t get to see Justice W1 or for longer during W2 (damn you, Kendrick). For the part that I did catch at W2, I was blown away. I was so excited to see them since this is supposed to be their big comeback, and everyone always talks about how incredible they are live. My brother and I were in the back before our friends came to meet up with us, and we were LIVING. I will make it a priority to see them again.
I didn’t see much of Hans either weekend, but for what I did see/hear, I was shook. I think we all kind of forgot how extensive his catalog is. I wished I was able to see him closer both times and that they played scene montages to accompany the music for each film he scored. I don’t think one person wasn’t shaken when they heard the opening of “Circle of Life,” especially.
Some acts I wish I could have seen: Glass Animals, Skrillex at the Do Lab, Shiba San, Mr. Carmack, Majod Jordan, Gucci Mane, much more of Justice