The weekend began with the familiar feeling of anticipation, the sun beating down on our faces, the dust rising in the air, and the faint sound of music drifting into our ears. We could hardly contain our excitement as we walked onto the grassy polo fields on Friday afternoon. Coachella 2013 had officially begun.
The Fearsome Foursome, Alyx, Brittani, Stephanie and I, geared up for a weekend of pure, unadulterated fun. We kicked it off with a dance party at the Dillon Francis show and settled in with the hypnotic melodies of Alt-J. Then I broke off on my own to experience the night with strangers and new friends.
To experience Coachella the right way, you have to get lost in the sea of people. You might just stumble upon a band you’ve never heard before. Even if you don’t make it to see everyone on your list, you have to let the energy move you to the next destination.
I was headed to see Modest Mouse and ended up at Beach House, standing next to my sister Alyx. Even though I had completely undershot the stage I was looking for, it felt like fate to find her in the masses of people. From there, I rushed off to see the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and we met up again at the end of the night for another dance party. With our feet pounding and our eyelids heavy, we began the long walk back to the hotel to rest up for Day 2.
Our alarm clocks startled us awake for Day 2 of Coachella. We started at the Ace Hotel Spin House Party. After enjoying some cold drinks and soaking our tired feet in the pool, we prepared to do it all again.
We showed up during the second half of 2 Chainz. As much as I believe “I’m Different” is the worst song ever written, he knew how to get the crowd moving. After 2 Chainz encouraged all the ladies to throw their shirts in the air (yeah, right), I met up with a college friend for some birthday cake shots and good laughs. This was one of the only times I made a plan to meet up with people and it worked.
Next, I followed the caravan over to the Mojave tent to see Major Lazer. Later in the evening, we took a trip down memory lane with Postal Service. After a melancholy set by The XX, Alyx and I began to push our way to the front of the main stage for Phoenix, the Day 2 headlining act. After seeing them a few years ago at the Hollywood Bowl, I was really excited to see them perform again. I knew my partner in crime would be game. The crowd leaned on us until we couldn’t even move. We were pressed up against strangers all around, but as soon as Thomas Mars appeared on the stage singing “Entertainment,” I was happy. And that was the end of Day 2.
And on the third day, there was wind. We started our last day by our hotel pool for a little R&R before we took on the final day of this adventure. As we approached the polo field for the last time, a giant cloud of dust seemed to be looming over the festival. We took cover in the Mojave tent after missing Jesse Ware and watched Alex Clare tear up the stage. By the time James Blake came on, we were front and center, which is right where Alyx wanted to be, so she could swoon.
From inside the tent, we could barely see what was around us. The strong winds created a sandstorm that left dirt on our faces and exfoliated our bare legs. With our sweatshirts zipped and our hoods up, we braved the gusts to witness the outstanding laser light show by Pretty Lights. From there, we attempted to move closer for the Wu-Tang Clan. Who knew nine grown men plus an orchestra could throw it down old school? We forgot about the wind pushing us around and busted some moves we had saved for this moment.
After catching a few songs by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, we gathered everything we had left for one last show, Disclosure. What resulted was the most memorable dance party of the entire weekend. The music gods rewarded us with the grooviest dance beats and a surprise appearance by Jesse Ware, who we had missed earlier in the day.
We felt so rejuvenated by Disclosure that we followed some friends to the Silent Disco in The Dome. A silent disco is a dance party where everyone wears headphones. From the outside, it looks like they are dancing to silence. But the Dome was no longer silent. The last of the partygoers took refuge inside, holding onto the final hours of the festival. Emerging from the cloud of dust, we walked back to our hotel in silence as we reflected on the weekend.
For over 200 days, I counted down to these three days, and now it was over. Time to begin the countdown for Coachella 2014.