Coachella Valley Music and Art Festival :: Indio, CA :: Day One

Where do I begin, on the plane? Nah, too boring… I’m pretty sure you all have been on one before. Let’s start at my arrival at the hotel behind a long line of people from as far north as Toronto, as far south as Brazil and as far east as Japan checking in the night before Coachella 2010, one of the most important music festivals in the world.

After a four-hour flight from Chicago I arrived to John Wayne Airport, located in Santa Ana California. Got my bags and loaded the rental and had to drive three more hours due to Coachella traffic. Boy was I tired, but I was instantly energized by how many people were waiting in the lobby to check in. I felt like I was in store for something big. Little did I know…

Coachella Day 1

I woke up had some breakfast and prepared for my day. After a quick stop at Starbucks I was set for my “ten minute” drive to the Indio Valley Polo Club where Coachella happens. I soon realized that my ten minute drive would turn out to be a 45 minute drive just to park, followed by a 30 minute walk just to get in. It probably would have been longer had I not had an Artist wristband provided by our endorsers Calle 13.

When I got in I was amazed at all the grass… I thought I was supposed to be in the desert. Calle 13 was to play the Coachella Stage today so I had to make sure and spend some time with them before their show. I was able to get some great pictures and video from the stage, backstage, side stage, and pretty much anywhere I wanted. All thanks to this little wristband that said I was an Artist… Sweet!

I was backstage right before Calle 13 hit the stage. There was some great energy building up to their performance that could be felt from the crowd. Even DJ Lance Rock and his Yo Gabba Gabba crew were there to enjoy the show. I was able to catch that energy explode as Rene (Residente) hit the stage. They jump started the show with their hit “No Hay Nadie Como Tu”. The crowd partied and jumped with them at every song. It is great to see them getting to play Coachella and getting exposed to new ears.

Next up I ran to catch the last half of She and Him… this was no easy task since it felt like I was swimming upstream with all the people. According to Coachella about 80,000 people attended daily so It served as my lesson to go behind the stages if I wanted to get from one stage to the other quickly. Needless to say they sounded great. I love their oldies vibe and I love Zooey Deschanel’s voice…

After their performance I ran off to discover the ins and outs of the fest. It took me a sometime but after a while I knew how to get from one stage to the next with the shortest amount of time, where the artist lounge was, where the food and bathrooms were and where I can get some water. That is key knowledge… You don’t want to be a Coachella dehydration casualty.

passion-pit-2Shure endorsers Passion Pit were up next and I wanted to get up close for this one. I love them but have never got to watch them live. With my new knowledge I was able to go backstage to get all the way to the front of the stage. I got to see Jay-Z and Beyonce arrive in black SUV’s to check out Passion Pit.  After a short wait Passion Pit hit the stage and lead singer Michael Angelakos thanked the crowed for all the love. His amazing falsetto voice was a perfect complement to the amazing Coachella Sunset. I got some great pics up front until they kicked everyone out of the photo pit. I even got a picture of the big red thing from Yo Gabba Gabba showing Passion Pit some love dancing his heart away. I think he followed me over from Calle 13. Poor guy, he had to be dying in the desert heat in that costume…  I have to say that the Passion Pit performance was definitely one of my fest favorites. They absolutely rocked it…

After their set I walked over to the tent area of Coachella to try my best at catching La Roux, Grizzly Bear, Imogen Heap and Little Dragon. It was a challenge but I have to say that I was able to catch a little of each act.  I started with the soothing harmonies of Grizzly Bear at the Mojave tent, followed by a quick stop at the Churro stand before back tracking to the Gobi tent to check out the electro sounds of La Roux… I love “Bulletproof” what a great dance track. It sounds like something Ace of Base would have done back in the eighties. After getting my dance on I walked back to Mojave to catch Shure Endorser Imogen Heap. I went back stage to see if I can say hi but there was too much chaos going on trying to set up her interactive Sound Tree. I briefly talked to someone on her sound crew and he explained that she glues mics to her wrists in order for her to mic all the interactive stuff she uses on stage. Crazy, but so cool… She is such an interesting performer.  After catching a few songs I walked back to Gobi to check out Little Dragon of Sweden.  If you haven’t heard them and are a fan of gritty baselines, dirty synths and melodic female vocals I highly recommend them.

After my first Coachella Tent experience I went back out to the desert to check out Vampire Weekend. If you can imagine an outdoor space being packed with human beings like sardines, that’s exactly what it was like. Absolute Chaos… They sounded great though. Sorry folks no back stage access for me here. I had to enjoy the show just like everyone else. So I did. 🙂 It was pretty cool. They killed it as expected.

I then walked across the fields to the Coachella stage to catch Jay Z.  If the Vampire Weekend crowd was packed, Ijay-z1-2 have no words to express how big the crowd was to watch Jay Z.  As soon I settled in my spot a 10 minute countdown started on the giant video screens. What a great way to hype up the crowd. As soon as the clock hit zero, Jay Z elevated from beneath the stage like David Copperfield and rocked the crowd with “Run This Town”.  The sound system was just out of this world. I can’t believe how loud yet how clear everything sounded.  It was crazy…  Even Beyonce came on stage and sang with him on “Young Forever”. Jay Z rapped flawlessly on a Beta 58A mic so needless to say he had ninety-nine problems but his mic aint one… YEEAAAUUUUP!

After Jay Z I ran back to the Outdoor stage to catch a little bit of Public Image Limited before my trek to the car. I was so tired though I had to get some rest. It was a very long day. It would take me almost another two hours to get back to my hotel which is only about 10 minutes away. Traffic was insane, an absolute traffic jam sandwich…


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Nelson Arreguín

Nelson Arreguín

Member of the Shure Artist Relations team. Music dilettante & sneaker aficionado. Live music is his favorite diversion.

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