Una Mullally

Society, life and culture on the edge

The Coachella Digest

The festival in the desert brings out the big stars.

Tue, Apr 15, 2014, 10:03


Coachella is not my idea of a good time. That said, I’ve never been, so I’m surmising. From friends who have gone, I haven’t exactly heard ringing endorsements, so it wouldn’t be on my top 10 festivals-to-go-to list. There’s nothing worse than a baking hot music festival site in my opinion. Anything in the 20s is fine, but getting well over 30 degrees is not an ideal temperature for enjoying music outdoors. Add to that the sand storms, which begs the question who on earth thought of hosting a music festival in the desert? Then you’ve got American ideas of crowd control, which are generally terrible. Plus, a status-based VIP system with velvet ropes and sponsored off-site parties, is only really fun if you’re totally hooked up. Brands paying minor celebrities to head to the festival is the lamest thing ever. The appropriation of ‘festival style’ is beyond pastiche. Like American EDM-loving college kids dressing up as “ravers”, the Native American headdresses, Aztec-print tops and denim cut offs of Coachella are cringeworthy. Reports of poor sound quality, screens being lowered because of the wind, and crowds so packed you can’t see the stage, don’t exactly inspire FOMO. And finally, you’ve got the ridiculous inauthenticity of removing one of the key aspects of a music festival – that it’s a one-off communal experience, if you’re there, you’re there, if you’re not, you’re not – and replicating it the following weekend.

But, you can’t fault it on star power. With Jay-Z turning up with Nas, Mary J Blige rocking out with Disclosure, Beyonce jumping on stage for a little dance with Solange, and um, Justin Bieber with Chance The Rapper, the big guns came out. While some see Coachella as a blueprint of what acts could possibly get up to on their other festival dates around Europe, really, its proximity to LA is what bumps up the special guest count, not the road-testing of plans for festival performances elsewhere throughout the summer.

Anyway, here’s what went down.

The New York Times says “Some would argue that festival style at the annual Coachella Music Festival has run its course. That what was once an eclectic outpouring of personal style — a Pinterest-board-worthy combination of comfort and chic — has now become an orchestrated fashion show in the sand with attendees in a homogenous uniform that screams ‘I’m trying so hard.’”

Noisey flags The Bros of Coachella. Dude!

Rebeccan Nicholson of the Guardian reviews day one and day two along with the “crushing disappointment” of Outkast’s show. Even if Prince was watching from side stage.

Here’s Beck’s set:
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The Daily Beast is quite unkind calling the festival an “oasis for douchebags and trust fund babies”. Ouch.

Pitchfork collates everyone who “killed it” via Twitter.

The LA Times gets cynical.

NPR reviews the Outkast show with some trepidation.

(photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Coachella)