Dates: 10th - 12th and 17th - 19th April 2020
Location: Colorado Desert, California, USA
This is a hugely popular music festival for (mostly) mainstream music lovers, offering a wide array of rock, indie, hip-hop and pop. Set in the breathtaking Colorado Desert, the temperature reaches scorching heights, whilst revelers up the ante in fabulous outfits amidst giant butterflies and robots – the décor is pretty astounding. It has set records for attending numbers, and continues to feature major names in the music industry.
It was started in 1999; the brainchild of Paul Tollett. He had attended Glastonbury in 1997 and realised the potential of a similar set up in America. His concert promotion company Goldenvoice was struggling to compete with the competition, who had stronger financial guarantees and could pull bigger crowds. Considering different options that might attract higher numbers, he realised that a big mixture of lesser-known bands might have the same draw as one big one. After a slightly rocky start, Coachella eventually found its feet and took off to where it is today.
Having featured such headliners as Massive Attack, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Verve, Pearl Jam, Prince, The Killers, The Cure, Paul McCartney, Madonna and Pharell Williams, among many, many other huge stars, this festival can claim to offer a very varied array of genres and some of the industry’s most iconic legends. On top of this, they also offer a platform for up and coming acts, ensuring that every venue is able to offer outstanding entertainment the whole weekend through. The event is structured over two consecutive weekends, offering exactly the same program on each.
The setting for the festival is the Empire Polo Club; a gorgeous backdrop within the Coachella Valley. Inside the site there are around six main venues; Coachella Stage, Outdoor Theatre, Gobi Tent, Mojave Tent, the Sahara Tent and the Yuma Stage. There is also the ‘Do LaB’ area (the team behind Lightning in a Bottle) where you can go and exult in water guns as you dance with abandon to pulsating electronic music.
It’s not just about the music though; on the art side, their efforts are no less astonishing. Installations and sculptures – often moving – dot the grounds and will frequently invite audience participation. Whether it’s a chain of red balloons stretching seemingly to the stratosphere, the Pulp Pavilion (an enormous structure made of rope and blended paper) or Big Bear (an homage to California’s state animal), there’s plenty to see around every corner. You can also hop on the Ferris Wheel to get bird’s eye view of everything.
For all wellbeing related requirements there’s a plethora of options available; spas and iridology readings (that’s to do with your irises, by the way), yoga and pilates classes are all there for those moments when you need to feel your inner calm again. By all accounts there’s some pretty delicious food on offer too; from the farmer’s market to exceptional ice cream stands, the Cupcake Vineyards and even a pie-eating competition, your sustenance and libation needs will be well catered to. A few people bring their children, even infants, however, there isn’t much put on for them. Unlike other festivals with specially created kids zones and activities, here you’ll have them hanging on wherever you go, though the wonderful costumes and art will no doubt be entertaining for them – essentially it is a giant playground, only mostly for adults.
There are a few different accommodation choices; from self camping to the more exclusive Lake Eldorado campsite, as well the chance to book a ‘safari tent’ (these are up-market tents with air conditioning, no less). As always, we recommend going for the easiest, most luxurious option – because it’s the best way to ensure you get the most out of your festival weekend.