On Friday, April 12th, I left my Engineering Honors Colloquium class, packed a suitcase, and hopped in a car for the two-hour drive to Indio, California. I was off to weekend one of the Coachella Music Festival!
For those non-Californians who are not too familiar with Coachella, Coachella is a series of concerts performed over the course of three days on a huge plot of polo grounds in Indio. It is famed for both the quality of musicians that play and the spectacular sights that litter the landscape. Perhaps the best part of Coachella is simply watching all the different types of people and unique outfits.
At Coachella, I saw several of my favorite artists, including Passion Pit, Vampire Weekend, and Franz Ferdinand. However, the last performance of the weekend blew my mind. The Red Hot Chili Peppers took Coachella’s main stage and jammed to the cheers of a crowd that stretched over 300 yards back from the stage. I had gotten to the main stage pretty early to get a good spot and was only 30 yards from the Peppers. From that spot, I could watch the band bounce around crazily on stage to a choreographed light show.
The concert’s light show was only one of many art feats at Coachella. Perhaps my favorite piece of art was the giant snail. The snail, which was constructed of sturdy cloth and wood beams, was over 15 feet tall and 20 feet long. A pickup truck, masked by the snail’s shell, moved the snail slowly around the grounds, and a foam machine at the snail’s tail left a line of foam in the snail’s wake. Even crazier were the two Tesla coils that would periodically spark during the festival. The organizers of Coachella placed two Tesla coils in between the main stage and secondary stage, and, between shows, I would kill time by just sitting and watching blue blots of electricity fork from the metal bulbs. Even at Coachella, I was still in an engineering class.
The type of people at Coachella was a sight in itself. Panama hats and floral headbands abounded, and the outfits seemed more fit for a beach trip rather than a concert. Aside from the relatively normal outfits, people planned interesting group themes. One group I saw was dressed up as Waldo, from Where’s Waldo, and another group was dressed in postman outfits. Despite the extreme heat, close quarters, and weird personalities, everyone at Coachella was so relaxed. There were no fights, and thousands of people from all over the world were able to sway to the music together.
Coachella was an awesome mini-vacation from USC, and I loved being able to go with several of my closest friends from SC. Experiencing Coachella is an opportunity I never would have had if I had stayed on the East Coast for college. Coachella is truly a California experience, and I loved taking in the West Coast culture.