Coachella ’14: The Ultimate Festival Experience

By  | 

V Square Labs fired up the Sahara Tent.

Indio, Calif. – What started in 1993 as a Ticketfly boycott concert by Pearl Jam on the grounds of the Empire Polo Club is now a multi-million dollar event that takes over the entirety of the Coachella Valley for nearly a month.

In terms of music events that offer a wide variety of genres, nothing really compares to Coachella, the three-day festival that took place over the span of the most recent two weekends in the Palm Desert on the Empire Polo Field.

As one of the most famous festivals worldwide, Coachella is the only place you’re going to catch your favorite artists perform with their favorite artists (which was the case when Green Day’s Billy Joe Armstrong took the stage with The Replacements Friday night) and see guest performances by some of the biggest names around the world. It’s nearly impossible to witness everything Coachella has to offer, but you’ll find more entertainment in one weekend than most experience in a year. Here are my highlights:

Day One’s Best Moments: The last year has been a quick climb to the top for the sister group, HAIM. Starting out the festival on the Outdoor Stage on Friday afternoon, the trio brought chills throughout their performance with ear-splitting guitar and bass solos, complemented by wildly energetic, one-of-a-kind onstage personalities and strong vocals—not to mention Este Haim’s now famous “bass face,” her trademark facial expression during performances.

Just after that, English pop star Ellie Goulding took the main stage in front of a massive crowd during the sunset to flawlessly perform her hits, including the Calvin Harris-produced dance smash, “I Need Your Love.” Meanwhile, The Glitch Mob began their set in the Sahara Tent, which featured their latest newfangled booth set-up used on their extensive, current tour. The group performed both old and new hits to a packed house under the state-of-the-art lighting and visuals provided by V Squared Labs, which illuminated the night sky with a laser performance unlike any other. Also, on the way to the Coachella stage, you could catch The Knife lead a hilariously synchronized dance show during their performance to close Day One on the Outdoor Stage.

Although Outkast closed the main stage on Friday night, Girl Talk had the most entertaining show. The master of mashups took the stage just after a crowd of people began an onstage dance contest that would go on throughout the entirety of the performance. Stop dancing for a few seconds? You would be replaced immediately. The show ended with hundreds of balloons being set free, while Juicy J, Busta Rhymes, Too Short and E-40 sprayed bottle after bottle of pink champagne on the crowd.

Krewella’s Yasmine Yousaf in action.

Day Two’s Best Moments: Taking the stage at the Sahara Tent in the late afternoon, Dillon Francis premiered a specialized DJ booth created by V Squared Labs just for Coachella. Francis opened his set with a remix of Diplo’s “Express Yourself,” before diving into a solid hour of his signature Moombahton style. Meanwhile, hundreds of people held up totems of the DJ’s face—promo souvenirs handed out earlier that day.

Later on at the Coachella stage, MGMT led the crowd on a psychedelic trip through its discography as the night sky filled with lights and lasers. Meanwhile, teen star Lorde attracted a crowd of over 40,000 at the Outdoor Stage.

For what was probably the most talked-about show during Day Two, Pharrell Williams brought out the biggest bill of guest performers of any set that weekend. Featuring contributions from Jay-Z, Usher, Diplo, his hat from the Grammys and The Jabbawockeez, the show was a constant rush of excitement, while the artist performed “Happy” and “Aerosol Can,” his latest collaboration with Major Lazer.

The night ended with a raging party over in the Sahara Tent featuring the one and only Skrillex. Papa Skrill attracted more than just a human crowd, as the massive astronaut art car parked itself dead center to enjoy the show.

Day Three’s Best Moments: If you could get past the sea of pro-marijuana clothing and avoid getting trampled by a mob of adolescent girls in HUF socks and snapbacks that said things like “inhale, exhale,” then you could fully enjoy Coachella on 4/20. The final day promised the best lineup and delivered great performance after great performance.

For me, that began with Krewella at the Sahara Tent. Although the group performed sans producer Kris “Rain Man” Trindl¾who was also absent during their set at Ultra a few weeks ago in Miami¾the Yousaf sisters began their show with their silhouetted figures headbanging on top of the DJ booth. The duo raged and sang live for their hour set, which included a guest appearance by Adventure Club.

Lana Del Ray on Coachella’s closing night.

After Lana Del Rey crooned to a massive crowd at the Outdoor Theatre, Disclosure wrapped up the festival with a fantastic live performance, complete with guest appearances by Aluna Francis of AlunaGeorge, Mary J. Blige, and Sam Smith. Although the festival closed for most with a great performance by Arcade Fire (with a guest appearance by two men dressed as Daft Punk), Duck Sauce led the silliest party of the weekend when they handed out duck beaks for the crowd to wear before their closing set at the Sahara Tent.