Oh, Coachella. The land of thousands of literal rose-colored glasses and Fashion Nova 'fits. The mega-festival returned to the Empire Polo fields last weekend for its annual three-day takeover. Featuring Donald Glover, Tame Impala, and Ariana Grande as headliners, the festival provides a lot to poke fun of from a distance. But when you're in the mix, it's just a really good time.
Coachella is a place where people who know their Instagram angles can run wild. A lot of it is silly and fleeting. There are literal tents where revelers can get their makeup and hair done. But there were moments where you could forget all that. The grounds were peppered with art installations, interactive experiences, lavender-flavored popsicles, and lots and lots of people striking poses. And lest you forget, that it's, you know, a music festival, there was actually music! Good music.
So what about the music? DVSN was a highlight, Christine and the Queens was powerful, and the queer community showed up for Lizzo and her sparkly attire and attitude. Anyone who had never listened to J-Pop before attending Coachella will now be hooked because of Perfume.
Coachella is marked by its big, blockbuster moments (see: Drake locking lips with Madonna in 2015 or any number of planned "surprise" guests that show up year after year). In true Coachella fashion, once Weezer hit the main stage, the chorus of “Beverly Hills” vibrated through what felt like the entire campground because obviously, that's where everyone wanted to be. It was a moment. And speaking of "surprises," Weezer brought out TLC and… Tears for Fears? Only at Coachella, baby!
I saw hordes of fans linked arm in arm for Kacey Musgraves’ sing-a-longs. I heard whispers between songs of “she’s so beautiful.” And the crowd was nice too, with all shapes and sizes singing along to Kacey while braving the dusty desert in their cowboy boots, the presence of which may have seemed out of place in years past. But this is 2019 and yee-haw has gone mainstream.
There was clear division between general admission, VIP, and that golden ticket of an artist band, but the more diverse acts made the festival feel united. Blackpink was the first K-pop act to hit Coachella. J.Balvin spoke to the crowd in both Spanish and English, announcing he was the first reggaeton act to grace Coachella’s main stage. He brought out Rosalía, and it felt monumental to witness. He also covered "Gasolina" and the crowd went completely bonkers, regardless of the credentials listed on their wristbands.
At Coachella's first weekend, under palm trees and sun and neon lights, everything really feels better for a three-day period. Even if some of it is a little silly.