Welcome to Indio…

All throughout my flight, then drive to Coachella every April, I’m just a hum-drum average male white dude. Even driving into the campgrounds, getting set up, I’m still just some guy attending a music festival.  

When I’m on my way to Coachella, and in everyday life, I feel like a regular dude. Not especially good looking or ugly, but certainly not special or glamorous. But somehow, when I cross the threshold of the entrance into Coachella, I feel like one of the pretty people, like a kid in a candy store, and it’s just as potent a rush. I’m wearing pretty basic clothing, but I feel like I’m strutting down a runway. I’ve seen it hit other people, too, as they adopt a kind of joyous swagger.

It’s odd to me that I don’t have this feeling at any of the other dozen-or-so festivals I’ve attended. Why? What is it about Coachella that makes it so different?

Well, you can start with the name, Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. It’s more than a series of stages and musical performances. Visual art plays a pivotal role in the festival’s identity and in the experience of its patrons. The arts portion of Coachella is by no means static or in many cases, even stationary. Large sculpted pieces move through the crowds or provide respite from the sun, or an opportunity for interaction. Pieces evolve from day to night, taking on a completely different appearance producing light instead of simply reflecting it. The main piece of 2015’s festival changed from a caterpillar to a butterfly overnight.

Indeed, evolution seems to be a pillar of Coachella, along with accommodation. As their quantity grows, so does the quality of the festival. 

Here’s a playlist of recommended artists to get you started, including those listed on the MUSIC page of this post: