Known as the “eternal city of sunshine” the Coachella Valley is one of California’s most exquisite locales. Surrounded by lush mountains, speckled with swaying palm trees and blessed with warm desert heat, it’s a peaceful place.
That is until April, when thousands of free-spirited music lovers descend upon this desert paradise for a mind opening musical bender.
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, affectionately known as simply Coachella, is a three-day music and arts festival held each year at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California tucked inside the famous Coachella Valley.
Founded in 1999 by Paul Tollett, president of Goldenvoice, Coachella features both established and emerging artists from a variety of genres, making it one of the most popular music festivals in the world, especially when it comes to dance music.
Coachella’s famous dance tent is where Daft Punk premiered their glowing pyramid in 2006, symbolically ushering in the EDM era. Always packed with top-notch emerging and established electronic acts, the festival has been setting trends in the EDM genre for almost a decade.
Coachella’s origins can be traced back to 1993, when Pearl Jam performed at the Empire Polo Club while boycotting venues controlled by Ticketmaster. The concert proved to organizers the polo club could be used as a concert venue and in 1999 the inaugural Coachella Festival was held in October.
Now a double weekend April spectacular, nearly half a million people pass through Coachella’s gates each year. Tickets for the first weekend of Coachella 2014 sold out in a matter of minutes during the spring pre-sale and the second weekend sold out in a matter of hours in January.
This year’s festival features pop-up gourmet restaurants, craft food makers, a coffee bar, a vinyl record shop, a merchandise boutique as well as art installations throughout the festival grounds making it a truly magical experience for concert goers.
Some of the artists on our Coachella radar this year include:
This New Zealand teen may have been a hipster secret, but her award winning performance at this year’s Grammy awards catapulted the gothic beauty into the international spotlight. Her single Royals received a Grammy for ‘Song of the Year’ and Lorde was named the Best International Female Solo Arist at the 2014 BRIT Awards. Accolades aside, this dark-lipped songstress has a killer voice and while she may only be 17, her lyrics are deep and offer a unique window into the teenage imagination.
Canada’s own Arcade fire is no stranger to the limelight. Based in Montreal, this indie rock group has been making waves since the release of their critically acclaimed album Funeral in 2004. The Arcade Fire has won multiple Grammy’s and recently added the title “Oscar nominee” to their resume. Band members William Butler and Owen Pallett wrote the score for the Spike Jonze film Her and received a nomination for Best Original Score at this year’s Academy Awards. The band is currently on tour promoting their latest album Reflektor and is one of the acts headlining Coachella this year.
A true creative genius Pharrell has been making major waves in music and fashion since the late 90s. One half of the recording duo The Neptunes and lead singer of the rock, funk, hip-hop band N.E.R.D, Pharrell’s second solo album G I R L was released this March with his single Happy which was the theme to Pixar’s latest silver screen spectacle, Frozen, was also nominated for an Oscar this year.
Lana Del Ray
This seductive songstress’ latest album Born to Die is like the soundtrack to every woman’s fantasy. Her husky voice, combined with her sultry looks means Lana would feel just as at home in a smoky lounge as she will on the Coachella stage this month. Described as a “self-styled Nancy Sinatra” and a “Lolita lost in the head” her music is truly original.
This English electronic music quartet has stated their mission is to bring soul back into electronic music. Propelled into the EDM spotlight with their 2012 single “Feel the Love,” Rudimental blends meaningful vocals with a an up-tempo beat that will force even the laziest of people onto the dance floor. Named by the BBC as the best festival band of 2013, Rudimental pumps tons of energy into their live shows.
Alex from the Travel & Style team will be at Coachella for the second weekend of the festival (April 18, 19, 20). Sad you’re missing out? Follow her on Instagram (@travelstylemag, @alxweber) and get your fix of Coachella’s fashion, music and, if you’re lucky, maybe a celebrity sighting or two! She’s got her fingers crossed.
–By Alex Weber