Sunday, January 8, 2017

Festival Fix: Coachella 2017

Festival Fix takes a closer look at festival lineups and the overall festival experience. Have you ever been experienced?

Coachella has been a hot topic of late, mostly because of controversial ownership affiliations. To each their own as far as skipping a fest for political reasons. I understand if folks give Coachella a pass. The festival is already sold out, so I guess plenty of people were willing to look the other way. But looking at things from a strictly festival experience point of view, I have to say that I'm really impressed with this year's lineup. 

When I went to Coachella back in 2008, it was still just a one weekend deal. When the powers that be expanded it to a two weekend event, I scoffed. Looking at it now, however, I actually think that for serious music lovers, going to both weekends is a pretty tempting (and pretty pricey) idea. In addition to the fest itself, you can splash out on all sorts of fancy extras to really enhance your Coachella experience (Sleep in a swanky tent! Have a fancy VIP dinner! Take a fancy shuttle to and from!). I can't advise one way or the other on that kind of thing, though I can impart some basic wisdom such as wear a heck of a lot of sunscreen and bring a sweater (that desert sure can cool off at night). But what other festival can you go to that lets you also spend some time seeing Palm Springs, Joshua Tree, and the Cabazon dinosaurs?! 

But really, add-on experiences are nice and all, but it's all about the lineup. For as long as I've been paying attention, Coachella has always put together a lineup that is appealing to both indie lovers and more mainstream music fans. This year, the three headliners are Radiohead, Beyonce, and Kendrick Lamar - all names that are kind of a big deal. For me, though, the undercard (anyone other than the headliners) is always more interesting. From New Order to Toots & The Maytals to Mitski to The Lemon Twigs to Preoccupations to the dreamy Justice...there's a little something for everyone this year. It would be a rare occasion indeed to go to Coachella and not face that enviable struggle to figure out which bands you were going to see and which you had to pass on. 

Coachella has gotten some flak, but darned if I didn't love my Indio experience. The setting is beautiful, the weather will probably be good (if a bit warm), and the bands are always going to be there. If you've never been, put it on your festival bucket list. Heck, maybe I'll even think about going back one of these years.  

[posted 1.8.17]  

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