Living in Southern California mid-April means only one thing…Coachella. Whether or not you are a Coachella die hard or a steadfast hater, you can’t go anywhere without hearing or seeing some mentioning of this legendary festival, and for good reason too. By now we have had a full week to recover from the sun drench booty shaking affair that was weekend two at the Empire Polo grounds. For many people Coachella is their first festival, and the memories created there continue to bring people out to the desert year after year. With an absolutely stacked lineup I couldn’t help but make my way back to Coachella for what turned out to be in my opinion the best year I’ve ever attended. Here are a few reasons that put this year over the top:
Increased Size and New Stage
Photo by Watchara
This year Goldenvoice was able to expand the grounds that house Coachella. This addition not only created much needed space, but also allowed for the addition of the new senora stage, which essentially looked like the Yuma’s twin sister. Although the new expansion caused me some confusion as I couldn’t walk directly from the Sahara tent to the Mojave. It was in that moment of confusion I realized they had moved the Gobi, Mojave and Outdoor Theater further back. This traffic alleviating move was a much welcomed one as any knows the terrace that houses the Sahara tent can get unbearably packed during the larger acts.
The Sahara Tent
As I mentioned earlier this year the Sahara tent had the terrace all to itself this year, so naturally it had to get an upgrade to captivate the expected large crowds. One of the biggest problems of the stage was that if you were on the outskirts of the tent, you were not going to be getting much in terms of visuals. This year they had a remedy for that as the Sahara tent was outfitted with 360 degree visuals and led triangles that danced overhead from the ceiling. Not only was the stage a sight to behold from the outskirts of the tent, but they were even more magnificent if you were able to make your way inside the steaming structure. However, as enticing as the Sahara tent was it was no match to the stage that sat on terrace above it.
The Do Lab
Photo by Daniel Zetterstrom
For the past 4 years everyone’s favorite unofficial stage of Coachella has called the terrace above the Sahara stage home. Without a doubt the Do Lab stage is the heart and soul of Coachella and their new stage, the Beacon proved why the Do Lab stage is essential to Coachella’s overall success. Stretching high into the desert sky the beautifully designed stage called dance music lovers from across the polo grounds to experience a unique high energy party that one could easily get lost at for hours. Much has been written about the Do Lab’s history and place at Coachella. For many it is their first taste of the “burning man” culture, and it’s the stage that takes your breath away year after year. This year the Do Lab was gracious to have us as their guest, a privilege I never want to attend Coachella again without. From partying on stage, shooting the iconic water guns at the crowd, the endless veggie burgers and a lineup that featured some of the best music all weekend the time I spent at the Do Lab stage was truly unforgettable.
Coachella is known for its immersive at displays place across the polo grounds and this year didn’t disappoint. Even though there was no large scale moving animatronic dancing its way across the grounds this year, the 2017 edition of Coachella featured some of the more fun and whimsical art I’ve seen featured. Positioned between the Coachella stage and the Outdoor Theater stood a ring of giant piñata like creatures that provided an excellent place to meet up in the chaos of the space between those two stages. Another stand out piece of art was the forest of Doctor Seuss like trees, that my friend affectionally nicknamed the Plumbus field. And although the art this year was top notch none of the installations came close to show that was put on inside the Antarctic dome. Described as “a mind-blowing metamorphic journey through time, space, and consciousness,” the 360-degree sensory experience was created exclusively for Coachella by Obscura Digital and powered by HP, the festival’s official technology sponsor. The audio-visual journey is housed inside what’s touted as the world’s largest projection dome, standing tall at 11,000 square feet. Once inside festival goers were transported through multiple dimensions that needs to be experienced because it is beyond description.