Coachillin’ 2017: A first-timer’s rundown of the Coachella Music and Arts Festival

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For the last couple of weeks, you’ve probably logged on to your Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat and have seen your friends posing with their arms stretched out in what seems like a very bright outdoor fair that happens to also have some very well-dressed people walking about in the background.

That very same Ferris wheel then appears on more and more pictures as you scroll down and you’re thinking to yourself: “Should I have gone this year?” This is the same question I’ve asked myself for the last five years and this year I did it and I attended the Coachella Valley Music and Arts festival.

Regarded as one of the largest and fastest growing music festivals on the west coast, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts festival – better known as just “Coachella” or “’Chella” has brought together the top acts in music every year and also the who’s who of celebrities and social media gurus alike. At it’s heart, Coachella is an experience that celebrates music, art and creativity from all dimensions but now includes food and drink and especially fashion.

If you and your friends are attending Coachella, chances are you have been planning your outfit for months to put together your best festival threads that are worthy of your favorite Instagrammer’s pages. Music blares across 8 stages and other small sponsored stages so you’re guaranteed to have your hands full if you want to see the majority of the acts.

This year’s headliners included Radiohead, Lady Gaga and Kendrick Lamar plus a myriad of acts from the worlds of Hip-Hop, R&B, EDM and Indie rock. The schedule was jam packed with special guests and surprise DJs popping up at different stages, such as the surprise Skrillex set at the Do-Lab, a Coachella stage favorite for EDM fans. Week one’s guests included Drake and 2Chainz, French Montana and Migos, but this year was widely criticized amongst week two festival goers for having a lack of “bigger surprises”.

The standout artist of this year’s festival was famed film composer Hans Zimmer. Zimmer, most popular for his scores accompanying such blockbuster films as “The Lion King”, “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Gladiator” brought a full orchestra to the dessert and filled the festival with a more monumental and classical interpretation of what a music festival is capable of creating.

Coachella is also a platform for tech companies to showcase their new technology. This year HP had a dome filled with interactive VR booths, a 360-degree camera, and a design-your-own bandana printer which supplied festival goers with their own personalized bandana- an essential tool to protect against sandstorms in on the festival grounds. Intel provided a theatrical projection inside their “Antarctic” tent which included gigantic bean bags that positioned the viewer to look up at the screens’ images created by the projections. It created a 15-minute psychedelic visual experience with kaleidoscopicS Fibonacci sequences galore that also doubled as a place to cool down from the 105-degree heat.

For a first timer like me, it’s obvious that Coachella has come a long way since it’s humble beginnings in 1999. As I walked in through the main gates of the festival, Large posters donning the acts that have graced the Coachella stages are on display for everyone to admire. I realized that Coachella is much more than posing for the best Instagram post in front of the famous Ferris wheel that no one seems to ride, and for first timer like me, is a music desert oasis that everyone should experience at least once.

Written by: Stefanie Bautista