Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival 2006

With acts ranging from Kanye West to Depeche Mode to Sigur Rós to Madonna, with everything in between, Coachella seems to have a “every hipster goes home happy” policy.



Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival
Indio, California (April 29-30, 2006)

coachella2.jpgOne weekend this past April, I joined forces with over 85,000 hipsters at the Coachella Valley Music Festival in Indio, Calif. This is my story.

Sure, the music is an important aspect of Coachella, but this festival is also definitely about seeing and being seen. Hoards of chic twentysomethings braved the desert heat in their skinny-leg jeans and oversized sunglasses. The über-hip way to do Coachella is with a VIP bracelet, which gets you backstage to enjoy some air conditioning or watch the shows from the side with the celebrities in attendance.

This year, as per usual, temperatures reached as high as 98 degrees. Once high noon hits in Indio, it gets nearly unbearable. Despite the scorching heat, Coachella had the most beautiful setup for a festival I had ever seen. The skyline is speckled with palm trees, and once the sun goes down, there’s nothing but stars. The festival is comprised of five stages: three tents and two outdoor theaters. The outdoor theaters proved to be much more enjoyable, because the tents—aptly named Gobi, Mojave, and Sahara—were often times too hot to withstand. Beyond the tents and stages, Coachella had a series of sculptures, art exhibitions, and even a vintage clothing shop, which became interesting distractions when walking from one stage to thcoachella_ladytron.jpge next.

With acts ranging from Kanye West to Depeche Mode to Sigur Rós to Madonna, with everything in between, Coachella seems to have a “every hipster goes home happy” policy. In addition to the varied headliners, Coachella featured a good amount of up-and-coming artists. For the smaller bands whose audiences rarely gross 500 people, Coachella is an amazing promotional event; every stage at any given time is packed with thousands of people generally listening attentively. Here are my personal favorite and loathed acts.

Festival Favorites:

Metric | For the most part, I couldn’t tolerate the heat or crowds of the shows under the tents, but for Metric, I made an exception. Quite a few others did the same. Canadian sweetheart with a kick Emily Haines had everyone singing the words, “I fought the war, but the war won” to their song “Monster Hospital.”

She Wants Revenge | She Wants Revenge definitely caught the ears of many at Coachella. Although I watched them from afar, their Interpol-esque sound was unmistakable. Even though they haven’t exactly reached multi-platinum status, their audience stretched out for what seemed like miles. I think everyone enjoyed She Wants Revenge.

Bloc Party | Bloc Party sounded almost exactly like their album, Silent Alarm,but in a good way.  Nigerian frontman Kele Okereke (say that 5 times fast) had enough energy to get the whole audience at least tapping a foot along to their dancey rock.

Festival Flops:

Madonna | Madonna was one of those slots on the Coachella bill where you just take advantage of it because it’s there. I had no particular interest in Madonna, so when she showed up 30 minutes late to her own set, played five songs, asked the crowd how great her ass looked and if they wanted her to take her pants off, and then fled the scene (presumably by helicopter), I didn’t shed a tear. However, I think some of her fans were rather disappointed.

Daft Punk | Daft Punk can remain on CD or on an iPod as far as I’m concerned.  Maybe I feel this way because they were the last act of the evening.  Maybe it’s because the bass was so loud, it made my teeth hurt, or I’m just not that into spacesuits.  Whatever it was, I must have missed the point with Daft Punk.  I watched 30 minutes( which is essentially one song) of their two-hour set, and that was more than enough.

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