I Risked My Life to Get into Coachella Parties
Coachella parties are over, but I had to jump off a moving train to find out for sure.
Photo by Marie Cravens / All other photos by Jennica Abrams
Announcement: Coachella parties are over. Last year, I shared my life hack of experiencing a different, more exclusive, and arguably funner version of Coachella by attending the brand-sponsored events that happen alongside the fest. But this year all those brands decided not to return: There was no Filter, Lacoste, or Jeremy Scott. My paradigm was broken. Most of the parties that did happen this year were thrown by fashion brands with an older customer base that were desperate to appeal to a Millennial crowd by hosting “brunch parties” and “runway shows” where “stylish influencers” would be present, regardless of how far off their attempt at a “boho” or “desert” aesthetic was from their own. BYE. If there were any indication of how this year’s parties would unfold, it was this: A splash site for an Ed Hardy x Mad Decent Coachella party with Dillon Francis surfaced on the internet the week before, only to be revealed as an April Fool’s joke. The troll should have been taken as warning.
All the other parties that were worth attending hit capacity immediately, due to everyone’s new knowledge of their existence. This situation presented a frustrating impediment to my weekend, much of which was spent driving up and down the Coachella Valley, getting denied entry into parties I supposedly had access to on the grounds that I’m not an Instagram celebrity with 72,000 followers and a vagina.
Refusing to accept rejection or FOMO and insisting on putting myself in danger, I went to extreme lengths to get into parties, hopping fences past police, wandering through sand dunes toward lights that looked like parties, and, at one point, jumping off a moving train, which rendered nothing except a broken phone and a near fatal experience.
None of these parties were worth dying for.
The parties I did get into had a much tamer vibe than I expected. They were diluted versions of those from years past, like how the second weekend of the festival feels after all the grass has been trampled over from the first. I want to say it was disappointing, but it had its moments, and I came up on some pretty tite swag. At one point I found myself in a veritable Tastemaker’s Paradise—and, ultimately, breaking into the fest in time to see Gesaffelstein’s last live performance and Drake's headlining set reconciled all my woes. Every good festival begins with a struggle. Here’s what went down:
FLOODfest x Free Grilled Cheese Cochedda @Corona Yacht Club
Fav Thing: P-Thugg’s biker daddy look
Worst Thing: Being stranded on the side of the road after some club photographers picked us up to drive us back home but tried to make us suck their dicks
Best Swag: The “Taylor Swiss” Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Shit We Got Into: Stole Chromeo’s entire platter of grilled cheese
TheRetreat @Sparrow’s Lodge
Fav Thing: BOMB Fat Radish veggie-centric catering along with literally every premium beverage type on deck (coconut water, aloe water, kombucha, pressed juice, artisanal fruit sodas)
Worst Thing: Tastemaker’s Paradise; no complaints
Best Swag: Caeden headphones, Kiehl’s skincare kit, body massages from Soothe
Shit We Got Into: Found my chill
COACH Backstage @SOHO Desert House
Fav Thing: Truffle burger sliders, Melon Moscow Mules
Worst Thing: Kate Bosworth lingering us
Best Swag: Kate Bosworth giving me a bottle of Grey Goose as an apology
Shit We Got Into: Struggled to paddle around the lake in a swan boat cuz holding too many drinks
Barry’s Bootcamp @Marriot Desert Springs
Fav Thing: Working out to EDM at 9 AM and then using frozen lavender-infused face towels to cool off
Worst Thing: Doing planks
Best Swag: Asics athletic hats, Quest Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough protein bars
Shit We Got Into: Instructor bench pressed my body in front of the whole class
The Zoe Report x Dolce Vita #TZRxDVOasis @The DFM House
Fav Thing: Being served El Silencio Mezcal cocktails while I got my hair braided by Scünci
Worst Thing: Leaving before Diplo came
Best Swag: A life supply of The Zoe Report beach towels and tote bags
Shit We Got Into: Lounged under the influence
PAPER x PACSUN Neon Carnival
[Ed. note: The full text above reads as follows: saturday night the address to neon carnival led cars to a physically unreachable destination that stopped at a dead end sand dune. instead of having our uber try to find another route me angel and clipka in a lapse of judgement decide to walk through the dune toward the show lights shining from the location. after crossing the dune in front of us are these 2 freight trains on trAin tracks parked stable. angel and i step on the first train and as soon as we step on it the second train starts moving - no choo choo no nothing it just started going - but this was trippy bc it's like you can't really tell if that train was moving or if it was us moving - which was disorienting. then OUR train started moving full speed in the opposite direction. we yelled at clipka who hadn't gotten on to try and come up but she darted towards us then fell jumping. after the trains separated we just fucking jumped. and i landed face and hand first in a bed of rocks lacerating my face, hands, hip, and knees, and completely shattering my iPhone. it all happened so fucking fast and i was so shook. we kinda were just like WTF HOW DID THAT JUST HAPPEN then walking more towards the lights we ended up hailing a random SUV with a really nice local mexican family who was willing to drive us to the entrance of neon meanwhile i'm just like bleeding all over this lady's newborn baby in the backseat. get to neon and everyone is on acid/molly trying to cheer me up bc i look so fucking physically/mentally distressed but i couldn't get out of it to have fun so i took a literal $72 uber ride all the way back to the vacation home and slept til morning.]
Fav Thing: Surviving a train accident
Worst Thing: Missing Justin Bieber
Shit We Got Into: I should’ve just gone to Moschino to see Jack Ü TBH
Flosstradamus @LED Day Club
Fav Thing: The pool becoming a moshpit
Worst Thing: Not having a phone
Best Swag: New Era Fully Customized Hat
Shit We Got Into: Became the third member of Flosstradamus
'TIL NEXT YEAR (IF THERE IS ONE)
P.S. JOE IF YOU’RE READING THIS, CALL ME
Jazper Abellera is Noisey's West Coast parties correspondent. Follow him on Twitter.