The first Coachella was in 1999 and I remember it well! I had been waiting for an event like this in the States ever since I became aware of the big festivals that took place in the UK. Sure we had Lollapalooza and I went to that every year, but Coachella was the beginning of something bigger! On my own I got media passes for that first Coachella, mainly because local radio did not see the value in having a presence at the festival, yet! It wasn't until 2003 that a local radio station begin broadcasting from near the event and then another year or two before it would be a battle of the radio stations in the desert! Technically only one radio station is allowed on-site at Coachella and they are LA based radio station KROQ, but stations from all over the country are in the Coachella Valley for the event every year. I would say ever since 2005, when I first came to Coachella with the FM94/9 staff is that WE have ruled the desert and dominated!
The grounds are the same from year one, but with variations over the years. This year they really have outdone themselves with a craft beer garden, fine food, dining experiences, more shade and more space to walk! Start saving now for next year! It used to be that the VIP experience had all the shade and all the amenities, but now they have something for everyone! I also want to thank Samsung for the free replacement batteries for my phone, so nice of them. If you didn't have a Samsung you could find charging stations all over the place. Water is inexpensive and if you collected ten empty water bottles, you got a free water! Every year they are getting smarter and making this the destination festival in the world!
I arrived at the festival everyday with our crack Promo Team Ciro and Jack around 3pm each day. We had some fun with local San Diegan's and random fans, shooting video, which can be found on the site for your viewing pleasure! We also did some fake interviews, my favorite was with Chris Martin of Coldplay.
If you were to Camp at Coachella (which I have never done) they offer a myriad of activities for you, everything from a silent disco with headphones into the wee hours to exclusive performances that regular attendees can't access! Who needs sleep!
The only star sightings I had during weekend two were Will Smith's son Jaden Smith and I think I walked past Alice Cooper, who must have been in attendance to support Lemmy and Motorhead!
Locals playing Coachella, I did play phone tag with Brandon of Crocodiles who was their supporting his wife Dee Dee of the Dum Dum Girls, but we never did connect. The other local band playing was Vokab Kompany and they rocked The Do Lab stage both weekends! I hung out with them on-stage as they rocked the crowd! I am very proud of those boys!
Here is the list of the bands I saw, it's impossible to see it all:
Grouplove, Bastille, The Afghan Whigs, Chromeo, The Replacements with Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, Girl Talk, The Cult, Outkast, Julian Casablancas, Fatboy Slim, Pixies, Solange, Lorde, Sleigh Bells, Pharrell Williams, Queens Of The Stone Age, Muse, Frank Turner, Zoe', Neutral Milk Hotel, The Toy Dolls, Lana Del Rey, Beck, Arcade Fire and Motorhead with Slash! Top highlights of that list, seeing The Replacements with Billie Joe, hearing Ace Of Spades by Motorhead "live" for the first time, The Toy Dolls (so much fun), Queens Of The Stone Age and Neutral Milk Hotel! I love scratching bands off of my bucket list, since a few of these were still on it!
Fifteen years of Coachella and the improvements keep coming! What will they do next year? I honestly don't know! They really seemed to hit it out of the park this year!