Story 1 – Clayton Warwick

Day one of Coachella was an interesting one for me. Coming off of a full day of food poisoning hell, sitting through twelve hours of hot sunlight was the last thing I wanted to do. None the less, I bucked up and rode down to the festival with our crew. Despite severe dehydration, an uneasy stomach, and a blinding headache, I made my way through some of my favorite artists that were playing that day.

Before I delved into performances, I had to stop off to interview the legendary Gareth Emery in the press area. Thankfully, they were fully stocked with hydrating beverages, which helped my recovery quite nicely. After a fun and engaging chat with Gareth, I was ready to take on what day one had to offer.

The highlights were too abundant to cover in great length, featuring notable sets from Ellie Goulding, Aloe Blacc, Zedd, and of course Outkast. While Outkast’s performance wasn’t my favorite musically, it was still amazing based on the sheer nostalgic appeal. I found myself belting out lyrics through a queasy stomach on multiple occasions, simply not giving a fuck at how I felt. At that moment, I knew they had something special going.

Day two was a much more enjoyable experience for me, especially given the fact that I saw the most impressive set of the entire festival, in my honest opinion. We worked our way to the very front of the Mojave tent to catch the always entertaining post-rock instrumental band Mogwai, and were absolutely blown away. In a 50 minute set of pure musical intoxication, Mogwai utilized their slow, building rhythms to provide a complete encapsulation. It was truly amazing.

There were other highlights from Day two as well, including an absolute ear-fuck from Skrillex, whose visuals essentially were the internet boiled into one 50 minute set. Other acts that impressed included Kid Cudi, Capital Cities, Head and the Heart, and City and Colour.

Day three was probably the most memorable for me, musically, as I was able to witness some acts I’ve been writing about for the past few years. Right out of the gates we caught James Vincent McMorrow, who had the best vocal talent out of any artist at the festival. His set was mesmerizing, and was then followed up nicely by his labelmate, The 1975, who displayed their up-and-coming rock god status. Matty casually flipped his mic cord around as he strutted the stage, boasting nothing but sheer swagger.

For the last few sets of the night, we were honestly so exhausted that we listened from afar, sitting with the aching-foot crowd of parents and older festival-goers. Disclosure was nothing short of stunning, even though we couldn’t see the stage from where we were at.

Once again, Coachella has proved to me that no matter how hard you try, your plans will be proved futile. It’s so easy to get caught in the moment, forgoing your well thought out plans for those of the friends you are with. It’s both a blessing, and a curse, but 100% worth every minute of it.

Story 2 – Brooke Ferguson

As I walked into the Polo Fields Campgrounds, I instantly felt like I was at home. Each and every year that I attend Coachella, I automatically know that my mind is about to enter into an entirely new dimension full of phenomenal music, abstract art, and memories to last me a lifetime. This year, I decided to change up my festival routine and experience music on an entirely new level. I ventured off into a hypnotic place where I was surrounded by some of the most enchanting people I have ever come across. Their love for music and inter-human connectivity fulfilled all of my festival cravings. There is nothing more exciting than being around a bunch of weirdo’s who love to vibe on a level that promotes the provocation of a divine synchronicity.

Every day brought forth new experiences, new people, and new music. It is nearly impossible to see everyone you plan to watch, but I guess that is what makes Coachella such an adventure in and of itself. We are given the opportunity to either solidify ourselves to a strict schedule, or we can simply allow our wandering souls to guide us towards the unknown; the only place where insurmountable beauty exists.

This year at Coachella, I decided to let the music bring me solace and peace of mind. I spent a lot of my time underneath the glorious Sahara Tent where the bass could be felt a mile away. I should have remembered to bring some diapers with me because there were plenty of sketchy moments where I could have totally lost all control of my bodily functions. When you have artists like Dillon Francis, Carnage, The Glitch Mob, Krewella, and more, the probability of crapping your pants increases with each rise in frequency. I know I wasn’t the only one who experienced moments of uncertainty as to whether or not it was the beat that dropped or my pants. I am still contemplating this to this day.

Overall, Coachella provided its attendees with a wide array of talent to please everyone’s musical inclinations. Having an eclectic taste in music made it extremely difficult to choose my top acts of the weekend. After nearly a week of battling an extreme case of cognitive dissonance, I have finally made up my mind as to who blew my mind away. The winning sets this year go to: Flight Facilities, Cage The Elephant, Kill Paris, and Adventure Club. Each of these artists evoked a different side of me, whether it be my inner diva at Flight Facilities and Kill Paris or my inner flower child at Cage The Elephant. I guess it’s safe to say that I can diagnose myself with multiple personality disorder because there were many different sides of me that made their debut that weekend. Only at Coachella is it socially acceptable to black out from being over-stimulated by your surroundings and not recall the absurdity of your behavior.

Now that my favorite festival has come to an end and the post-Coachella depression has subdued, I must endure the next 365 excruciating days of monotony until I can once again return to my Utopia.

Story 3 – Bryn Carter

Being a first timer at Coachella this year I have to say, I was as excited as a little kid on their birthday as we pulled up to the festival on that first Friday. As my group and I exited the party bus, excitement ran rampant through the growing crowd of festival goers. The hot sun beat down on us as we made our way on the dusty path towards the grounds that held all music and wonder. After making my way through security, sweat caressing every small crease of my body, my eyes took in all the sights, smells, and people surrounding me.

Girls in flower tiaras, boys in tanks, fake tattoos and costume jewelry anointed both sexes. As we made our way towards the different art pieces that sat peacefully on the grass, I could hear music slowly rise from every angle that the wind blew. And the music continued for three straight days and nights. Every day at noon, the crowds descended from all walks of the world (yes, I heard accents from Australia to England to Scotland) and came together for the love of all things music. Saturday was a typical Coachella experience, a dust storm mixed with wind to make an almost intolerable combination. But that did not stop the dedicated music goers from making their way to Indio.

I could list all the people I saw but let me tell you, that list is long. It is one of the most wonderful things about a festival, the ability to see so many artists who cover so many different genres all together in one area. I rapped along with Outkast, I swayed with Lana Del Ray, I jammed on my air saxophone with Big Gigantic, I couldn’t keep my feet still with Dillon Francis, and I sang my lungs out with Bastille.

Everyday between the main stages and the Do Lab there were big and small artists making their mark one way or another on all the Coachella goers. It was an experience I will never forget, not just for the amazing music, but also for the unbelievable experience in general. So next year, grab a good group of friends, purchase some comfortable shoes, and make sure to ride the Ferris Wheel, Coachella is a festival you should experience a few times in your life.

Story 4 – Max Mayeri

BURY ME UNDER THE SAHARA TENT WITH 15 TONS OF GARLIC CRAB FRIES AND A KEG OF ANY BEEN OTHER THEN HEINKEN. To be completely honest, if they let me sleep in the Sahara Tent I would have stayed there for 72 consecutive hours. Wait who am I kidding, who sleeps at Coachella? I did manage to catch a handful of other acts outside of that haven, Flume in the Gobi Tent, RL Grime in the Mojave tent, even Chance The Rapper on the main stage. But none-the-less, parts of my brain and heart are still being stepped on, and I couldn’t be more satisfied.

When first attending Coachella a few years ago it was hardly the place for “EDM”, if you must call it that. And was mainly Rock and upcoming Indie acts with the occasional Afrojack slipped in every once and while. So from an OG Raver stand point, the fact that they brought an Ultra Music Festival sized monstrosity out to the desert was pretty much the best thing in my life. The Car camping turn up was very real for me and my group this year at Coachella, some of my friends literally never left the campsite. Others, such as my self were gallivanting through the gates of heaven around 12pm everyday to maximize the shortest 3 days of my life.

Deorro was the beginning of the end. He was the first act I watched this year in the Sahara Tent, and it’s safe to say that he’s going be head-lining all the major festivals over the next year or so. That’s saying a lot being as I’m fully submerged into Future Bass and Trap music as far as my current musical taste. But as far as Day 1 goes, The Glitch Mob was one of the most aggressive displays of Bass I’ve ever seen, and I think I’ve seen Skrillex and Excision about 10 times…each. Flume’s remix of Lorde’s track “Tennis Court” was hands down the best track I heard at Coachella, so I guess his set from Day 1 deserves some recognition. Day two’s highlight was most definitely Skrillex, and the Sahara Tent was for sure at full capacity. He pretty much turned it into one big Medical Tent. With that said GTA and Dillon Francis both had great attempts at tearing down the entire tent with their onslaught of unreleased madness. Dillon pretty much dropped his entire album which he finally announced the name of recently “Money Sucks, Friends Rule”. Pretty much the story of my life. Barely made it to Day 3, being as our entire campsite got shredded to pieces by the vicious dust storm from Saturday night: 2 shade structures got destroyed as well as a couple tents blowing away. But after wondering around the Polo Ground all day and catching: STRFKR, AlunaGeorge, Flosstradamus, KrewellaBig Gigantic, DisclosureAdventure Club, Duck Sauce and Netsky. Day 3 was probably my favorite, especially because I remember saying, “I’m not gonna go that hard today”. We all know how that story ended.

Story 5 – Ashraf El Gamal

Going into my fourth consecutive Coachella, things were destined to be different this year. After three glorious trips while in college, when the festival was less than 2 hours from home and I had the luxury of skipping class at my own leisurely discretion, the launch into “real life” made it a slightly more strenuous journey. Aside from a significantly longer trip down to Indio, my general energy levels have definitely taken a dip due to 60-hour work weeks. Regardless, I’m not sure I have ever been as excited for a music festival between the lineup and the opportunity to liberate my spirit from the office life.

The first step into a music festival is always an overwhelming feeling, but Coachella is truly on a level of its own. As I ventured into the venue around 4:30 on Friday for HAIM, I could already tell this was the most crowded year yet. With the help of Este Haim’s ridiculous on-stage banter and lively presence, my blissfully ego-less festival self began to take form. Despite ample intoxicants and some incredible early performances, though, I was still having trouble shaking off the subdued work demeanor I have become so accustomed to for the last year.

About three hours into my Day 1, the chant “Chro-Me-Oh!” was what truly awakened me. Perhaps it was the funk that just wouldn’t quit, or the setting sun over a surreal desert backdrop, but an infectious euphoria pulsed through out the crowd that reminded me of what makes music the most transcendental, indescribable form of self-expression. To either side of me, was a sea of dancing figures grooving as if no one was watching, because no one was; and, even with our collective gaze set on the stage, it wasn’t really our eyes that were having the experience.

This energy can be felt at any show any where in the world—for me, at Coachella Weekend 1, it was in a grinning, crop-top laden Kid Cudi belting out his signature cry, Calvin Harris catching “true” EDM fans off guard with a ground-shaking set, MGMT getting the Wolf of Wall Street to dance like a flower child, RL Grime tearing turning a tent to a trap house, a guest appearance from Gwen Stefani that had the crowd going bananas, Arcade Fire strolling through the main stage audience and Outkast dropping the wisdom of “Aquemini.”

We tend to think of music festivals as an external experience—one in which we are taking in all these marvelous things around us spending time with people who are important to us and, in many ways, it is just that. But it is also a place where we learn about who we truly are at our core when societal expectations have been stripped. Coachella 2014 reflected exactly what is going on inside of me right now. Currently, like many in my generation, I am in a time of transition filled with internal conflict that has worn me down. It is the moments of genuine spontaneity, when thoughts and actions are finally permitted to unify, that remind me of who I am when the bullshit subsides. You can achieve this level of self-awareness through meditation, certain religious practices and various art forms, but I, along with millions of others, choose to find this peace in music. There are few better places in the world to meet yourself over and over again than at Coachella.


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