by Sarah Paciocco
So you think Coachella is just flower headbands and high-waisted shorts? Well, I am afraid you are wrong.
This year, the music festival revamped its entire set-up and added a wide spectrum of activities, events, and vendors. Thanks to a large increase in attendance in the past few years, Coachella now offers much more than just a venue for music.
A major piece of the Coachella experience every year is the collection of various art installations scattered across the grounds. This year, the most outstanding work was an astronaut titled, “Escape Velocity.”
Junior film production major Emy Sebagh gushed over the spaceman and said, “All of the art installments were cool but I absolutely loved the giant spaceman. I remember being at the Sahara tent and then turning around to see this giant spaceman floating in the middle of the desert with the mountains behind him. It just looked so unreal and unbelievably cool.”
One of the astronaut’s most intriguing features was its ability to wander the grounds.
“I thought it was really sweet how it was a mobile installation,” said junior business administration major Wick Kaminski. “The piece gave off a completely different atmosphere between the night and the day.”
Another contribution to the Coachella experience this year was the large selection of food. Coachella’s founder, the promotion company Goldenvoice, worked in tandem with a collection of Southern California-based restaurants to create an extensive assortment of dining options for all festivalgoers. While some classic staples were included on the list of vendors, Coachella took a chance on more unique cuisines as well.
“Coachella did a really good job of bringing unique local options while still having huge sponsors. I was particularly a fan of the chicken and waffles,” said senior political science and literature major Bobby Konoske.
Sophomore communication studies major Nicole DeMars also commented on the festival’s accommodations for food restrictions and said, “I am gluten-free and they had allergy accommodations which were tasty and made things convenient. The free Fruttare popsicles were delicious and my favorite snack there!”
As a V.I.P guest, Sebagh encountered a more deluxe dining experience.
“There were a few L.A. restaurants like the Hudson and Eveleigh that had stands in the V.I.P. gardens that had healthier but yummy food, like quinoa and kale salads,” Sebagh said. “However, I preferred the unhealthy options. The V.I.P. garden by the Main Stage had amazing pizza, it was around $7 a slice but they would give a huge slice, which made it worth the money. I basically had some everyday.”
A new area of the festival was introduced this year known as “Experiences”. Through “Experiences”, festivalgoers had the chance to compete in various games and activities throughout the course of the weekend. Activities ranged from the classic game of dodgeball to more inspired concepts, like the “Bad Dancing Competition.”
In terms of success, Coachella’s “Experiences” were not hailed as being all fun and games.
While this could be due simply to the nature of the festival, there are a few factors that explain this mishap. Firstly, the great majority of events were hosted in the camping grounds, an area distant from the main hub of the festival.
Additionally, an issue of awareness came into play—because the activities are new to Coachella, there is reason to believe Goldenvoice did not make a large enough effort to get the word out. Besides a page listing the events on its main site and a couple mentions on the Facebook page, hardly any effort was made to advertise the extensive list of events.
Overall, Coachella made an important stride for musical festivals this year with its wide array of entertainment and the arts. Stay tuned to see what’s to come in 2015.