Last Thursday I got the call that I was going to Coachella. I’d have a guest and photo pass to hang out and photograph people. I made the solo drive out to the desert with no real plan, a suitcase of one look per day, and a playlist compiled only of:
- Beyoncé- Beyoncé
- Blood Orange- Coastal Grooves
- Blood Orange- Cupid Deluxe
- Solange- True
- The Strokes- Comedown Machine
It became the soundtrack of the weekend.
I hadn’t been to the festival since I was seventeen, and it was a very different experience. It was 2009 and you could still buy single day passes after the lineup came out. These days, the 3-day wristbands sell out before you even know who plays. I will never understand that. I have still come out to Indio every April for the past few years, but that’s for the Weekend 1 Coachella parties. This was a weekend 2 festival getaway, and nothing like I had ever experienced.
So somehow I ended up at this festival with all these swanky wristbands and sensory overload. I kind of wandered around wide eyed and guppy-mouthed. We walked around the festival to look at everything going on. I was fascinated by the EDM tent. People on drugs dancing mindlessly, silently in the sunlight, even a couple people fainting.
When the sun started to go down, I followed my friend to wherever he was leading me, and I ended up onstage with Chromeo. I had never seen such a grand sea of people all jumping and singing along. Go Pros on sticks, cell phones out, everyone documenting their own view. It was hard to see the actual show from the side, so we went down to the photographer pit, which was also an amazing spot to stand- the band high above us, the crowd screaming behind us.
Coachella is like choose your own adventure. I was never tied to one location or person the whole time. I ran into my friend Katie Bunn and her BF David on their way to a DJ set I had never heard of and tagged along. We jumped and danced and they sang along to every song.
At the end of the night I went to the VIP section to watch Outkast from afar. I couldn’t see much from where I was standing, but I found it hard to be too invested in the show anyway. I only knew a few of their songs and I didn’t want to act like a huge fan when I’m not. Instead I danced with the strangers around me and munched on a gourmet ice cream cookie sandwich. It was a perfect way to end the first day.