I don’t know how I managed this, but somehow I was one of the lucky 300,000 people at Coachella Music Festival in Indio, California this weekend. In the middle of the desert, the landscape in India is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Born and raised in Florida and now studying in Boston, this was one of my first west-coast experiences. I was amazed by the combination of palm trees and desert sand with snow-peppered mountain ranges in the background. Factor in a Ferris wheel, some crazy sculptures, and the sounds of live music and cheering crowds and you’ve found nirvana (or at the very least you’re close).
This three-day festival has been likened to a Woodstock of our generation and always boasts an incredible lineup of artists. This year was no exception to the trend. The headliners included Radiohead, Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg and the Black Keys, along with over 100 other artists and bands of many genres. There is something for everyone at Coachella; DJs for the raver, rappers for the hip-hopper and, of course, indie folk and alternative for the modern day wanna-be hippie (like me).
My favorites this year were hard to choose, but I managed to narrow it down to a couple:
Bon Iver. Fresh out of the Grammy’s with a “Best New Artist” title, and one of my favorite groups at the moment I was sure Bon Iver was going to be one of the highlights of my weekend. They certainly did not disappoint. Bon Iver’s set can only be described as spiritual. They opened up with “Perth” (http://youtu.be/c3GN9CqxKAY) and continued seamlessly throughout their set, stopping only briefly so that (a clean-shaven!) Justin Vernon could say a quick hello and thank you to the crowd. This was one of the most incredible live performances I’ve been fortunate enough to see; their music filling the open space of desert night was almost overwhelmingly beautiful.
Gotye. I’ll admit I was one of the many in the crowd who probably disgusted the real fans of Gotye. I rushed to their stage hoping only to hear the international smash that blew up on YouTube, “Somebody That I Used To Know.” However, I was thrilled by their entire set. Their music is quirky and Wouter De Backer’s lead vocals are killer live. Their latest album, Making Mirrors, demands a listen.
I could ramble on for hours so I’ll stop here. All in all, Coachella 2012 was a huge success and I enjoyed myself hugely. If you can get yourself to Indio around this time next year, do it. You’ll thank me.