Bryce's Coachella Wrap Up: Weekend 2 Day 1

April 21, 2012

For the first time in my short life, the return to the polo fields didn't take a year. hell it didn't even took two weeks. Just vacating the grounds last Sunday, Thursday afternoon marks my return, and the culmination of a pilgrimage for many. Firstly it should be known, in the 8 years of my attending, this will be my first attempt at camping. And let me tell you, it's night and day in comparison to staying somewhere off the lot. Firstly the searches are not nearly as invasive as your imagination might lead you to believe and the campsite itself is beautifully laid out. Food vendor s, a general store, dance floor, and activity tents live in the heart of the campground, along with phone charging stations (thank the stars) showers, etc. Night 1, before the fest begins, is all about anticipation, all about fun, partying, and good vibes.  While normally resting up for the weekend ahead is the route I take, but this is a chance to try something new, afterall you only live once right? Being in bed by 2am isn't that late anyway, except when you forget that the heat hits you at 7am...

Camping adds a whole other layer to the Coachella experience. Literally doubling the time you spend in the sun, heat, dust, noise, by the time you see your second act you're already exhausted, dehydrated, ready for a nap. Perseverance is essential in this 100+ degree weather. Also lots of suntan lotion (and if you're not a fan of looking like a clown, maybe be weary of the sunglasses tan).  It's truly amazing to me that people can get anything done on drugs or with more than +4 beers. Because honestly, standing up is a chore in this heat, much less dealing with substances. My first year drinking at the fest, and I stand by previous statements. If you're there for the music. Do it clean, do it big. Because the fun stuff will only slow you down. Now if you're there for something other than the music, uhh.... there's a bar down the street. save yourself 400 bucks, and let someone else have a ticket to see some incredible bands.

The music itself is identical to last week in the line up itself, but the vibe of course is a 100% turnaround. Just about every act you see mentions how beautiful it is, and how lucky weekend 2ers are that the clouds arent threatening rain, and the winds are calm. It's bizarre walking around thinking about that to be honest. That most of these people weren't here to experience that. To them, this is Coachella. A standard, amazingly painted blue sky backdrop over the polo fields. While an entire other set of folks had a Coachella unlike any i'd ever seen. Making you wonder if despite the high demand for weekend 1 passes this year, is weekend 2 the prize ticket now?  You just gotta shut off your internet for a week to avoid spoilers and you'll be golden, right? 

The standout sets, stand as last weekend. Pulp who may never make if back to the US (I mean, that's not to say we shouldnt cross our fingers) play to a similarly small crowd at the mainstage, much like last week, as big news reunion, Refused to the same.  Brochella again in full effect. I caught myself wondering about bands I'd hoped in the past to see grace the line-up each year. Does this spell the end of "Cool" at Coachella? Certainly Goldenvoice is capable of booking the biggest and hippest acts around. But with lackluster crowds for nearly all of the big reunions this year, rare appearances and otherwise. Does that mean next year that money will instead be poured into better production for the Sahara tent? Bigger mainstream artists? For many years I'd hoped and prayed Coachella would be able to get Boards of Canada to play the polo fields... and now I'm not even sure it makes sense. It's quite clear this year is a pivotal time for the fest both financially and morally. Next year will be the true test of how that's handled however.  Onto day 2!