By Stacey Silberman–
Music, Art, Tech & Fashion in the California Desert–
4/24/14 (Hollywood Today) Los Angeles, CA—
Have you ever wondered what you’re missing at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in sunny Indio, California every April? If you’ve never been, you might consider it just once to appease your curiosity. That’s what Geena Stern thought. She went this year weekend two, with nothing but music in mind. She’d always wondered what she’d missed, since she’s in the industry herself. Her many friends had gone and raved about great musical finds at Coachella. Stern has been in the music publishing business for years, but lost track of what mattered most…the music. She wanted to reclaim that part of the industry that drew her in in the first place. Stern said, “Coachella reinvigorated my love of music. It’s great to see some of the newer bands perform and it was exciting to see so many shows all at once. Coachella turns the hot desert into musical magic. There was so much electricity in the air and I loved the different genres of music.”
There is something special about music festivals and attendees spend huge amounts of money to be part of that scene. Stern wanted to be part of it too and discovered what it’s all about and why she will go again, despite the body pain endured in the process. “I will need a few days to recover from this experience, but it was well worth it,” said Stern.
It’s all about the music and the inspiration you feel in the middle of the crowd during live performances of rising stars and talented artists. Plus, “the electricity of the crowd fed right into my energy like a muse,” claimed Stern. “I felt inspired. The festival experience creates a unique feeling of kinship for all walks of life.” Of course, there are those who can’t handle it either, because it really is just a little too crazy, as some of Stern’s friends had to admit.
There is so much to do at Coachella. If you want to see a lot of performances, it requires planning and tons of energy to survive three-days of concerts, at several stages around the huge venue. Revelers walk upwards of 10 miles each day. Despite Stern’s fashion sense, comfortable shoes were tantamount to her survival, but many wore sandals and other less supportive shoes to look fashionably sexy.
Speaking of fashion, the flower child has definitely re-emerged at Coachella. But instead of the loose hippie chic of the 1960s, this flower-child style has a lot more flair and is a bit more contrived. Coachella is a style unto itself. Even Los Angeles stores reflect the look.
A lot of things go down amidst incredible music, fashion and art, but what’s most fascinating, is the people watching. There were 90,000 young partiers each weekend at the exquisitely maintained Empire Polo Club. “It was a sight to behold,” said Stern. Fortunately, most people were really polite. There was a lot of eye contact and for some, romantic moments as well. “People were hooking-up all around me,” according to Stern.
Each weekend is a feast for the eyes and ears, as numerous celebrities attend for their own enjoyment, because they’re paid thousands, or to make surprise cameo appearances with fellow artists.
A notable point was the quality of security in place from start to finish. It began with the parking process, right down to a security check for illegal substances and weapons. They checked and checked again at every point of entry. It was really impressive! This festival is a tightly managed operation run by a professional and ultra-organized group called Goldenvoice. They are associated with AEG and work closely with the city of Indio and local law enforcement to ensure that local residents are happy and that attendees stay safe. Unfortunately, one 24-year old girl died the first weekend. Drugs, alcohol and dehydration in the hot sun can be very dangerous.
Coachella brings in huge amounts of money to the local economy, as well as the city, which makes upwards of five million dollars, plus five dollars for every pass sold. Many improvements have been made to city streets to accommodate the festivals.
The technology utilized to protect against intruders, fake passes and the general welfare of attendees is state of the art and ensures that nobody will step into areas prohibited by their passes. The wristbands are fitted with radio-frequency identification chips (RFID) to monitor everyone’s movement in and out of the venue. The chips are also used to differentiate the General Admission from the VIP and Artist Passes. Alcohol is kept away from minors and it’s almost impossible to skirt security in that respect. Big brother is watching!
The extensive security also protects celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, Harry Styles, Justin Bieber, Vanessa Hudgens, Kate Bosworth, Joe Jonas, Katy Perry, Selena Gomez, Kendall Jenner, Beyonce, Jay Z, Gwen Stefani, Paris Hilton, and others. Most stars and industry people come during weekend one, while weekend two seems to be more about the fans.
There were many younger kids at Coachella too, which can be attributed to security, as well as the eclectic and popular line-up.
“The music was beyond expectation with amazing sound quality all over the field. The light shows and effects made it even more phenomenal,” said Stern.
“My favorite bands were Pharrell Williams, Chromeo, Arcade Fire, Lorde, Sleigh Bells, HAIM, Anthony Green, MGMT, Girl Talk, Ellie Goulding, Outkast, Calvin Harris, Lana Del Rey, Beck and a few others in passing. I wish I saw more, but it’s not as easy as one thinks,” Stern commented. “You need both weekends to see bands scheduled simultaneously. All in all, it was a really worthwhile experience.”
The Coachella 2014 lineup included; Outkast, Girl Talk Chromeo, Ellie Goulding, AFI, Grouplove, MS MR, Anthony Green, The Preatures, The Knife, The Replacements, Broken Bells, Neko Case, HAIM, ASAP Ferg, Dum Dum Girls, GOAT, Flatbush Zombies, The Bots, Anti-Flag, Caravan Palace, Flume, Woodkid, Shlohmo, Kate Nash, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Jagwar Ma, Austra, Wye Oak, Gabba Gabba Heys, ttt, The Cult, Bryan Ferry, Bonobo, The Afghan Whigs, Bastille, Aloe Blacc, Title Fight, ZZ Ward, Waxahatchee, Tom Odell, KAB, Michael Brun, Zedd, Martin Garrix, The Glitch Mob, Carnage, Gareth Emery, Deorro, DJ Falcon, Mako, DJP Boubakiki, Dixon, Hot Since 82, Solomun, Nicolas Jaar, Duke Dumont Nina Kraviz, Damian Lazarus, Davide Squillace, Lee Wells, Alf Alpha, Muse, Queens of the Stone Age, Foster the People, MGMT, Kid Cudi, City and Colour, Cage the Elephant, Graveyard, Unlocking the Truth, Nas, The Dismemberment Plan, Pharrell Williams, Sleigh Bells, Lorde, Capital Cities, The Head and the Heart, CHVRCHES, Ty Segall, Foxygen, Syd Arthur, Saints of Valory, DARKSIDE, Glantis, Solange, Future Islands, Washed Out, Holy Ghost, Banks, White Lies, The Internet, Laura Mvula, AFTA-1, Pet Shop Boys, Mogwai, Pixies, RL Grime, Warpaint, Julian Casablancas, Bombay Bicycle Club, Temples, Drowners, Bear Hands, Young & Sick, Woodys Produce, Skrillex, Empire of the Sun, Fatboy Slim, Dillon Francis, GTA, Carbon Airways, TJR, Headhunterz, MAKJ, UZ, Ravell, Tiga, The Magician, Nicole Moudaber, Cajmere, Guy Gerber, Aeroplane, Sander Kleinenberg, Ricoshei, Lesto, Arcade Fire, Beck, Calvin Harris, The Naked and Famous, Zoe, Chance the Rapper, Fishbone, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Disclosure, Lana Del Rey, Neural Milk Hotel, Blood Orange, The 1975, STRFKR, Surfer Blood, J. Roddy Walston & the Business, Ratking, Lucent Dossier Experience, Jhene Aiko, John Newman, The Toy Dolls, AlunaGeorge, Superchunk, Frank Turner, Courtney Barnett, Bombino, Factory Floor, Bo Ningen, Netsky, Motorhead, Daughter, Little Dragon, Flossstradamus, Rudimental, Classixx, Poolside, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, James Vincent McMorrow, CIVX, Duck Sauce, Adventure Club, Big Gigantic, Alesso, Krewella, Showtek, Flight Facilities, Anna Lunoe, John Beaver, Bicep, Laurent Garnier, Maceo Plex, Art Department, Lee Burridge, Scuba, The Martinez Brothers, Juicewon, Equip and the Do Lab DJs