Wear Sunscreen. This is my advice to those of you who ever plan on attending the Coachella music festival which is located in Indio, California – just outside of Palm Springs in the heart of the California desert. This year Ultimate Ears decided to throw our intern into the mix and see what happens. Don’t worry, we asked her parents first. Avery came up from San Diego where she attends USD, complete with camping gear where she camped on the Coachella grounds to run our little “street team” all weekend long. We quickly changed the name to our “dirt team” for obvious reasons. From the looks of it, Avery fit in very well. Cut-off shirts? Check. Tom’s shoes? Check. Lots of free earphones for Ultimate Ears fans? Check.
What follows is Avery’s take on the 3-day journey. I am going to give her an A on this book report. I like to think of myself as tough but fair. We hope you enjoy this fan’s perspective on what has very quickly become the most significant music festival of this generation. Someday Avery can look back and tell her kids that she was there. I can tell mine that I watched it on YouTube, which isn’t as cool…
This was my maiden voyage to the otherworldly Coachella Music Festival. Being able to count the number of concerts I’ve been to on a little more than one hand, the idea of seeing over 100 bands in three days is mind-boggling. I’ve always dreamed of making it out to the festival, so when the day actually came it was almost too good to be true.
The weekend was filled with incredible music starting at Day One. I began the day with Yeasayer, and then made my way over to see She & Him. The bubbly Zooey Deschanel was contagious; I couldn’t help but dance and float around the field during their set. Next up was Passion Pit, and they definitely did not disappoint. This was one of my favorite shows as the entire crowd erupted into a massive dance party for songs like “Sleepyhead” and “Little Secrets”. Later on in the evening I posted up at main stage, first for LCD Soundsystem before the headliner, Jay Z. I must admit, I am not one of Jay Z’s most avid listeners, but let me tell you after seeing him perform I have the utmost respect for what he does. He was absolutely incredible! I couldn’t help but admire his dominating stage presence, and the way he referenced his older songs with a flashback medley. And not to mention bringing his gorgeous wife Beyonce to the stage! I felt like I was a part of a major moment in history as I watched them perform “Forever Young” to a dazzling fireworks show.
Day two continued to be nothing short of spectacular. Early on I was completely captivated by both Beach House and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. What I was looking forward to most on Saturday was The XX, who was recently named one of Ultimate Ear’s Artists to Watch Bands. The sunset performance consisted of one impressive, yet seemingly effortless song after another, just like the album. It was also fun to see Jay Z and Beyonce sitting front row to show their support for the young band. I finished the day by watching Muse where the sound, light show, and connection to the audience made it one of my top three favorite performances of the whole weekend.
By the time day three rolled around I was exhausted, but there was no time to rest with another day full of spectacular artists. I first made my way to see Local Natives. I fell in love with the entire album recently released by the Southern California band, and their live performance definitely lived up to what was recorded. After that I pushed my way to the front of another up and coming band, MUTEMATH. Although I totally recommend checking out their music, I more strongly encourage checking out a live video of one of their shows. Keep an eye on the drummer, he is amazing! One of the last artists I saw was Spoon, another one of Ultimate Ear’s Artists to Watch Bands. I was surprised that there weren’t more people at the main stage to see the band, but I wasn’t complaining as I got to make my way to the front. If I closed my eyes while listening to this live performance I don’t think I would be able to tell the difference between it and the actual album. I was so impressed by how spot on his voice was!
It is hard to believe that Coachella has already come to an end as I have now been dropped back into reality exhausted and with no voice but well worth it. However, when I look back on the incredible amount of talent I witnessed in those three days, I am in awe. From now on I vow to myself to make Coachella a priority every year. I didn’t think a weekend like this was possible so I can’t even imagine what Coachella 2011 will have in store!