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“Coachella” by Daryl Goldes

June 23, 2010

There are few ways to describe the feeling of sitting in soft grass in a polo field in the middle of the desert and listening to your favorite bands play. Once I stepped into Coachella, I knew that my experience would be different than past years. Having been there previously, I’m no stranger to Coachella, but this year was the first time that I went all three days and camped on site. Being there for that length of time made me feel like I was a part of the festival more than ever before. Coachella is more than just music and art. It’s about the experience and being part of history. I understood that as I went into the festival, but I did not realize just how much Coachella would change my life that weekend.

On Thursday night after waiting in a two and a half hour line to get into the campground, my sister and I got into our 10×30 campsite and set up our tent with little drama (thankfully, we had done a dry run setting up the tent in the backyard before we left). After we set up the tent, we walked around the campground and met some of our neighbors. There were different art installments all around the campground, including swingsets with swings that lit up. We got into our tent in the early hours of the morning and passed out in anticipation of the beginning of the festival.

Most of the morning before going into the festival is spent lounging around in the campground and avoiding the sun. My sister and I set up our chairs by our tent and had the chance to talk to some of our neighbors. We went into the festival shortly after the doors opened. As Tall as Lions were the first band that I watched during the festival on Friday afternoon. They opened up with “Circles” off their new album, which made me love them more. The rest of the day was spent watching different bands such as Grizzly Bear, the Dillinger Escape Plan, and LCD Soundsystem. Jay-Z headlined on Friday, and his set blew me away. He played a great mix of songs from when he was first starting out up until his most recent album The Blueprint 3. Overall, Jay-Z seemed happy and appreciative to be there. A great moment of his set was when Beyoncé came out to sing “Forever Young,” and fireworks went off! It was an amazing performance that set the tone for what would be a great weekend at Coachella.

On Saturday I spent most of the time during the hottest part of the afternoon lounging around with my sister in various shaded areas of the polo fields. I caught most of Coheed and Cambria’s set on the main stage, which was exciting for me because I have been a fan since I was in high school. They played loads of songs off their 2004 album In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3. My sister and I stayed for all of Hot Chip’s set, where the entire crowd was dancing and having a good time. The day ended with Tiesto on the main stage.

Sunday was the day I was most excited about. I got up close in the Mojave tent that afternoon so I could see my personal favorite, MuteMath. Their live show was exciting and full of energy. They opened with “Armistice” off their sophomore album and finished with “Break the Same” off their self-titled. At the end of their set, they tore apart the stage and threw the drummer into the drum set. As I watched MuteMath play, I realized that there is a big difference between being a fan from listening to a band’s albums, and seeing them live. The rest of the day was spent hanging out, talking to different people and listening to different bands play. Due to obligations back at home the next day, I was unable to stay to see Sunday’s headliner, Gorillaz. I closed the festival in the Gobi tent with Little Boots, who was a fun new discovery. At the end of the day, my sister and I said our goodbyes to the polo fields and headed back to our ghostly campsite to get in our car and make the pilgrimage home.

If someone were to ask me what was my favorite part of Coachella 2010, I would have to say that it would be the sense of community. We were all there for the music and the experience. No matter where I went, there were people who always offered a smile or a quick chat. There is something so special about singing the lyrics of your favorite band at sunset and looking around to see that everyone around you is doing the same thing. Coachella is more than a music festival; it’s a time for us to connect as individuals. The people I met and the memories I made at Coachella 2010 will undoubtedly stand out in my mind as one of the top moments of this year.

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