The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
(commonly known as Coachella
) is a three-day (formerly a one or two-day) annual music and arts festival organized by Goldenvoice held at the Empire Polo Fields in Indio
. The event features many genres of music including alternative rock
, hip hop
, and Electronic music
as well as large sculptural art. The event has several stages/tents set-up throughout the grounds, each playing live music continuously. The main stages are: Coachella Stage, Outdoor Theatre, Gobi Tent, Mojave Tent, and the Sahara Tent (2006 also saw the addition of a smaller Oasis Dome).
The Coachella Music Festival has a desert setting (the city of Indio is a part of the Colorado Desert), with daytime temperatures frequently rising to over 100°F (38°C). The festival enjoys little cloud cover or shade. The temperature drops drastically after sunset.
On the evening of November 5, 1993 the rock band Pearl Jam
performed before almost 25,000 fans that stood and sat through the night on the lawns of Indio's historic and previously rock-festival free Empire Polo Club
. Although band management had chosen this untested and under-developed site as part of the boycott of Ticketmaster
and the Southern California auditoriums it controlled, the event established the new venue's suitability for large-scale rock events. Such suitability was not a given: the grounds, essentially one vast irrigated desert lawn, sit in one of America's hottest and driest spots, and the region's lightly populated towns, while having a history as resorts, are between one and five hours' drive from regional population centers (San Diego, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Phoenix).
Six years later, on October 9 and 10, 1999 (a mere three months after the disastrous Woodstock 99 festival) the first actual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (usually abbreviated simply as "Coachella") was held. Due to Woodstock 99's fires and riots, Coachella promoters weren't allowed to offer on site camping, a ban that continued until the 2002 festival. Unlike the widely-criticized Woodstock festival, notorious for water sold at $4 per bottle, Coachella's promoters, for the first year, provided free bottled water for all attendees. In 2001, water bottles were sold for $2. In 2007, a new program was adopted in which ten emptied bottles could be traded for one full bottle from different sites throughout the venue.
About 25,000 people attended the two-day inaugural event, supporting headlining acts Beck, The Chemical Brothers, Tool, Morrissey, and Rage Against the Machine. Other acts included Jurassic 5, DJ Shadow, and Underworld. Originally, promoters had hoped to make the event three days (Friday-Sunday) and even considered the UK band Massive Attack to be the third day headliner - but those plans never came to fruition. The event went smoothly, with the biggest complaint being the blistering heat. It is reported, however, that the event failed to generate any profit, which nearly put an end to the festival.
No festival took place in 2000, likely due to the financial troubles of the inaugural festival. In 2001, however, festival organizers decided to give it another try. They decided to move the event to April (to avoid the intense heat of the late summer), and it was only scheduled for one day, most likely due to a tighter budget. However, the 2001 organizers once again ran into some trouble organizing the festival. Just months before the event was to occur, promoters still did not have a big headliner, and the festival was once again at risk of turning a net loss. In a surprise move, promoters turned to friend Perry Farrell, and were able to bring a reunited Jane's Addiction to the main stage as the event's headlining act.
In 2002, the event once again returned to the two-day format, and saw a reunited Siouxsie & the Banshees, as well as headlining acts Björk and Oasis. The strong supporting acts helped prove to the community of Indio, California that the event was capable of bringing in money and ending without conflict.
Following the 2002 festival, Coachella began to generate large-scale interest, and the 2003 festival featuring Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Beastie Boys (as well as a reunited Iggy Pop and The Stooges) drew the largest crowd yet. (This record, however, was broken by Rage Against the Machine's 2007 reunion performance which drew nearly 100,000 attendees.) Around this time, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival began to develop worldwide interest.
The 2004 event, featuring a reunion of the Pixies, as well as Radiohead, Kraftwerk, The Cure and a number of other major bands, was the event's first sellout, with 50,000 tickets sold for each Saturday and Sunday. Since then, the festival has continued to generate large draws due to strong lineups from top to bottom, including such bands as Nine Inch Nails, Coldplay, Depeche Mode, Tool, Daft Punk, and Massive Attack.
The 2007 show was extended to three days and included headliners Red Hot Chili Peppers, a reunited Rage Against the Machine, and Björk, with all three headlining for their second time. Other notable performers included Arcade Fire, which had made a memorable 2005 Coachella appearance, LCD Soundsystem, Manu Chao, a rare American performance by former Pulp-frontman Jarvis Cocker, and Scarlett Johansson singing with a reunited the Jesus and Mary Chain.
Each year, the festival also features interesting installation art and sculptures. Most of the pieces are interactive, and provide entertainment and eye candy for attendees walking throughout the Polo grounds. Some of the works were initially created for the Burning Man festival. In contrast to the largely non-repeating roster of musical artists represented at the festival, a few of the visual artists, such as Robochrist Industries, the Tesla Coil (Cauac), Cyclecide, and The Do LaB, have appeared during several consecutive years at Coachella.
In 2008, Goldenvoice/AEG Live will also host the similar All Points West Music & Arts Festival at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey on August 8-10. Unlike at Coachella, there will be no camping.
Coachella Camping History
In 2002 Coachella started to include tent camping as an option for staying at the festival. The camp ground site is on an adjacent polo field next to the venue grounds. The campground has its own separate festival entrance on the southside of the venue. Goldenvoice/AEG Live
contracted out Kevin Lyman
, owner/promoter of Warped Tour
, Taste of Chaos
, and Mayhem
festivals, to coordinate and run the Campgrounds. Kevin's campground employees are usually his friends
or employees from the Production
Office of his tours. Kevin also has a series of interns come out from Citrus College
, they are paid a minimal day rate and given free camping for helping work the grounds. The first year saw camping attendance around 10,000. It was reported in 2007 that attendance in 2007 was in upwards of 17,000. The campground includes a karaoke lounge, general store, and shower trucks (semi trucks with around 30 showers in the trailer). Kevin Lyman
was also contracted out to do the Stagecoach
festival camping, which is usually the weekend succeeding Coachella
. Unlike Coachella
camping which is all tents, Stagecoach
is mostly Recreational Vehicle
Lineup of musical performers by year
Headliners for each date listed in bold text
The festival will take place on April 17
The 2008 line-up was announced at a press conference in Mexico City
on January 21.
Madness were originally scheduled to perform on Friday, but dropped off because they had not yet confirmed with Goldenvoice. Kate Nash and Yelle were added to Saturday a few days later.
Animal Collective were originally scheduled for Friday, but were moved to Saturday.
Les Savy Fav and Man Man were both originally scheduled for Sunday, but were moved to Friday and Saturday respectively.
On February 25, the following changes were made: Modeselektor was moved from Friday to Sunday, Black Kids were moved from Sunday to Friday, Grand Ole Party were moved from Saturday to Sunday, and Above & Beyond were added to Saturday. Does It Offend You, Yeah? were moved from Friday to Saturday. On March 11 Aphex Twin, Serj Tankian, Red Kross, and Goldfrapp were added, but their respective performance days had not been indicated. It was soon announced, that all four acts had been added to Friday. In the weeks and months leading up to the festival several more acts cancelled including: Jamie T, Reverend and the Makers, New Young Pony Club, The Streets, The Bees, The Horrors, and Turbonegro. However on April 9th it was announced that Prince would headline Saturday night of the festival, changing Portishead from a headliner to a sub-headliner with Kraftwerk.
- Madness were prematurely announced in the Friday lineup, but the booking was never officially confirmed with Goldenvoice.
- Matt Costa and Mason Jennings appeared as surprise guests during Jack Johnson's headlining set. Both artists record for Johnson's Brushfire Records label.
- The Verve's first U.S. show in 10 years was originally slated as the headlining act, until Jack Johnson was recruited by the concert's organizers.
- Adam Freeland, Aesop Rock, American Bang, Aphex Twin, Architecture in Helsinki, Battles, Black Kids, Black Lips, the Breeders, Busy P, Cut Copy, Dan Deacon, dan le sac Vs Scroobius Pip, Datarock, Diplo, Fatboy Slim, Goldfrapp, Jack Johnson, Jens Lekman John Butler Trio, Les Savy Fav, Luckyiam, Midnight Juggernauts, Múm, the National, Pendulum, Porter, Professor Murder, the Raconteurs, Redd Kross, Rogue Wave, Sandra Collins, Santogold, Sebastian, Serj Tankian, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, Slightly Stoopid, Spank Rock, the Swell Season, Tegan and Sara, Vampire Weekend, The Verve
DJ Sets in the Do LaB
- Chad Rock, DJ Wolfie, Djun Djun, Geno Cochino, Henry Strange, The Ianator, Jesse Wright, Sammy Bliss
- Morris Day and Jerome Benton appeared with Prince as did Sheila E.
- Kelly Osbourne appeared with Mark Ronson for 2 minutes.
- 120 Days, Above & Beyond, Akron/Family, Animal Collective, the Bird and the Bee, Bonde Do Role, Boys Noize, Café Tacuba, Austin TV, Calvin Harris, Carbon/Silicon, Cinematic Orchestra, Cold War Kids, Curses!, Death Cab for Cutie, DeVotchKa, dredg, Dwight Yoakam, Enter Shikari, Erol Alkan, Flogging Molly, Hot Chip, Islands, James Zabiela, Jesse Murphy, Junkie XL, Jupiter's Ring, Kate Nash, Kavinsky, Kraftwerk (minus co-founder Florian Schneider; was replaced by video technician Stefan Pfaffe), Little Brother, M.I.A., Man Man, Mark Ronson, MGMT, Minus the Bear, Orgasmic, Para One, Portishead, Prince, Rilo Kiley, Sasha & John Digweed, Scars on Broadway, St. Vincent, Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Surkin, The Teenagers, Uffie featuring DJ Mehdi, VHS or Beta, Yelle, Yo Majesty, Yoav
DJ Sets in the Do LaB
- Adam Ohama, Dandelion, David Starfire with i Catching, DJ Imajika, The Glitch Mob, Jesse (of Brazilian Girls), Random Rab
- The Field was scheduled to appear but had to cancel due to problems getting into the United States, M. Ward showed up as a surprise guest during My Morning Jacket's performance., Annuals, Austin TV, Autolux, Black Mountain, Booka Shade, Brett Dennen, Chromeo, the Cool Kids, Danny Tenaglia, Deadmau5, Dimitri from Paris, Does it Offend You, Yeah?, Duffy, Electric Touch, the Field, Gogol Bordello, Grand Ole Party, Holy Fuck, I'm from Barcelona, Justice, Kid Sister with A-Trak & Flosstradamus, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Love and Rockets, Manchester Orchestra, Metric, Modeselektor, Murs, My Morning Jacket, Perry Farrell, Plastiscines, Roger Waters, Shout Out Louds, Sia, Simian Mobile Disco, Sons & Daughters, Spiritualized, Stars, Swervedriver, Vas DeFrans
DJ Sets in the Do LaB
- Adam Freeland, Ana Sia, El Papa Chango, Helios Jive, Jupiter, Oscure, Patricio, Saynt
- We Are Scientists cancelled due to conflicts with recording schedule
- Arctic Monkeys, Benny Benassi, Björk, Brazilian Girls, Brother Ali, Busdriver, Circa Survive, Jarvis Cocker, Comedians of Comedy, Digitalism, DJ Shadow, El-P, Evil Nine, Faithless, Felix da Housecat, Flosstradamus with Kid Sister, Gogol Bordello, David Guetta, Interpol, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Stephen Marley featuring Jr. Gong, Nickel Creek, Noisettes,Of Montreal, Peaches, Peeping Tom, Satellite Party, Silversun Pickups, Sonic Youth Tilly and the Wall Tokyo Police Club, Julieta Venegas, Rufus Wainwright, Gillian Welch, Amy Winehouse
DJ sets in the Dome
- Travis Keller, Jacob Thiele of the Faint, Marques Wyatt, David J, Kraak & Smaak, Junglist Platoon/Respect Ft. Machete, Scooba, Clutch, No Face, Drone
- !!!, Arcade Fire, Andrew Bird, The Black Keys, Blonde Redhead, Busy P and DJ Mehdi, The Chuck Dukowski Sextet, The Civilians, CocoRosie, Cornelius, The Cribs, The Decemberists, DJ Heather, Roky Erickson and the Explosives, Fields, Fountains of Wayne, The Frames, The Fratellis, Ghostface Killah, The Good, the Bad and the Queen, Gotan Project, Hot Chip, Jack's Mannequin, Justice, Kings of Leon, Lady Miss Kier, LCD Soundsystem, MSTRKRFT, The New Pornographers, Girl Talk, The Nightwatchman, Ozomatli, Peter Bjorn and John, Pharaohe Monch, Pop Levi, The Rapture, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mike Relm, Sparklehorse, Svetlana, Travis, Tiësto
DJ sets in the Dome
- The Professionals, Eugene Carla and Greg of Autolux, Daniel Ash, Andy Rourke, Lady Miss Kier, Bassrush Ft. Silver, Hazen, XXXL, Subflo, MC Dino, Question Mark
The Avett Brothers
Explosions in the Sky
Fair to Midland
Rage Against the Machine
Rodrigo y Gabriela
, The Roots
, Spank Rock
, Tapes 'n Tapes
, Paul van Dyk
, VNV Nation
DJ sets in the Dome: Franki Chan, Busy P and DJ Mehdi, Kevin Haskins, Cut Chemist, Paul Harding of Pendulum, Total Science, Adam Freeland.
- Animal Collective, Atmosphere, Audio Bullys, Devendra Banhart, Joey Beltram, Derrick Carter, Cat Power, Celebration, Chris Liberator, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Colette, Matt Costa, Carl Cox,Common, Daft Punk, Damian Marley, Deerhoof, Depeche Mode, The Duke Spirit, Eagles of Death Metal, Franz Ferdinand, Head Automatica, Hybrid featuring Perry Farrell, Imogen Heap, Infusion, The Juan Maclean, Kanye West, Lady Sovereign, Ladytron, The Like, Living Things, Lyrics Born, My Morning Jacket, The New Amsterdams, Nine Black Alps, Platinum Pied Pipers, Rob Dickinson, The Section Quartet, She Wants Revenge, Shy FX & T Power, Sigur Rós, stellastarr*, Tosca, TV on the Radio, The Walkmen, White Rose Movement, Wolfmother, Youth Group, The Zutons
- Both HARD Fi and The Subways canceled their appearances.
- Amadou & Mariam, Art Brut, be your own PET, Bloc Party, Coheed and Cambria, Coldcut, The Dears, Digable Planets, Dungen, Editors, Gabriel & Dresden, Giant Drag, The Go! Team, Gnarls Barkley, Infadels, James Blunt, Jamie Lidell, Jazzanova, Kaskade, Los Amigos Invisibles, Madonna, The Magic Numbers, Massive Attack, Mates of State, Matisyahu, Michael Mayer, Metric, Minus the Bear, Mogwai, MURS featuring 9th Wonder, Mylo (DJ set), Paul Oakenfold, OneRepublic, The Octopus Project, Gilles Peterson,m Phoenix, Scissor Sisters, Seu Jorge, Kristina Sky, Sleater-Kinney, Tool, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists Louie Vega, Wolf Parade, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
, Amp Fiddler
, Bloc Party
, Boom Bip
, Buck 65
, Café Tacuba
, Hernan Cattaneo
, The Chemical Brothers
, Jamie Cullum
, DJ Marky
, DJ Peretz
(Perry Farrell), Eisley
, Four Tet
, Jean Grae
, Katie Melua
, Mercury Rev
, Nic Armstrong and the Thieves
, The Raveonettes
, Rilo Kiley
, Sage Francis
, The Secret Machines
, The Sexy Magazines
, Snow Patrol
, Josh Wink
, Zap Mama
- Cocteau Twins cancelled a month prior to the show.
- Doves cancelled a few days prior due to an illness in the group.
- Aesop Rock, Arcade Fire, Armin Van Buuren, Autolux, Beans, Ben Watt, Black Star, The Blood Brothers, The Bravery, Bright Eyes, British Sea Power, Diplo, DJ Krush, Donavon Frankenreiter, The Dresden Dolls, The Faint, The Fiery Furnaces, The Futureheads, Gang of Four, Gram Rabbit, Jem, Junkie XL, Kasabian, The Locust,, M.I.A., Matmos, Matthew Dear, Midlake, Miss Kittin, New Order, Nine Inch Nails, The Perceptionists, Pinback, The Prodigy Radio 4, Roni Size, Roots Manuva, Shout Out Louds, Sixtoo, Sloan, Stereophonics, Subtle, Tegan and Sara, Thrice, Wolf Eyes, Zion I
- The Beta Band,
- Lee Burridge,
- Charlatans UK,
- The Chemical Brothers,
- Citizen Cope,
- DJ Z-Trip
- Folk Implosion,
- Forest for the Trees,
- G. Love & Special Sauce,
- Groove Armada,
- Jack Johnson,
- Jimmy Van M.,
- Jurassic 5,
- The (International) Noise Conspiracy,
- The Pharcyde,
- Princess Superstar,
- Queens of the Stone Age,
- Sasha & John Digweed,
- Saul Williams,
- Siouxsie & the Banshees,
- The Vines,
- Pete Yorn
The Chemical Brothers
The Dandy Warhols
Del tha Funkee Homosapien
Detroit Grand Pubahs
Kruder & Dorfmeister
The New Deal
The Nortec Collective
Pedro the Lion
Smith & Mighty
Souls of Mischief
- A Perfect Circle,
- Amon Tobin,
- Art of Noise,
- At the Drive-In,
- Bassbin Twins,
- The Bicycle Thief,
- Breakbeat Era,
- The Chemical Brothers,
- Christopher Lawrence,
- Derrick May,
- DJ Food,
- DJ Rap,
- Dynamite MC,
- Juan Atkins,
- Jurassic 5,
- Kevin Saunderson,
- Kid Koala,
- Los Amigos Invisibles,
- Medeski Martin & Wood,
- Ming + FS,
- Modest Mouse,
- Mr. Scruff,
- Nightmares on Wax,
- Perry Farrell,
- Richie Hawtin,
- Roni Size,
- Sandra Collins,
- Simply Jeff,
- Super Furry Animals,
- The Wiseguys
Installation and visual art
Installation arts have grown significantly over the years. Coachella invites many notable installation and performance artists every year.
2008 installation artists
- Gerard Minakawa: Bamboo Waves, The Do LaB, Sean Orlando: The Steampunk Treehouse, Mike Ross: Big Rig Jig, Mark Lottor: The Quad Cubatron, Ball-Nogues: Copper Droopscape, Martti Kalliala and Jenna Sutela: Super Ball, Aaron Koblin: Flight Patterns, Michael Christian: Beyond the Garden, Christopher Janney: Sonic Forest, Syd Klinge: Cauac Twins, Corndog: Parabola, Ron and James Nick Sears: The Orb, Orion Fredericks: Fata Morgana, Robotronia: Hotshot the Robot, SWARM, SLICK: The Pig(during Roger Waters)
2007 installation artists
- The Do LaB, Lucent Dossier, Johnny America, Syd Klinge: Tesla Coil, Brian Corndog: KA Labyrinth, Mark Lottor: Cubatron, Cyclecide Bike Rodeo, Kinetic Steam Works, Jamie Vaida: Goes Around Comes Around Carousel, Stronghold Productions: FirePod, Michael Christian: I.T., and Babel, Sean Sobczak: Love and Dragons, Domes Guys: 90' Dome, Jason Hackenworth: Megamite Army, Dorothy Trojanowski: Rubber Horses, Perpetual Art Machine, NON Designs, Mark Esper: It's in the Air and Enlightenment, Brose Partington: Tide, Greg de Gouveia: Cubed 3, Jim Bowers: Terrasphere, Hotshot the Robot, LT Mustardseed: Aquatic Temple of Chill, Stefano Corazza: Field of Sunflower Robots, Sasstown Crew (Portland): Threemove, Rosanna Scimeca: St. Taudry's, manIC
2006 installation artists
- Syd Klinge (Cauac), Brian Corndog (Metron Transformer), Michael Christian (Flock and Hypha), Rosanna Scimecca (Zephyrus' Disgolmerate), Jerico Woggon, Orion Fredricks (Harmonizer Water Sculpture), Doyle (The Spider), Cyclecide/Bike Rodeo, O2 Creative (Gnome Dome), The Do LaB (Lucent Misting Oasis), Keith Greco (Leaf Rake Tree+Snow Globe Domes), Johan/www.domeguys.com (Dome structures) domeseurope.com
2005 installation artists
- Syd Klinge (Cauac Tesla Coil), Rosanna Scimecca (The Sublim of Da'ath), ThermoKraken, HornMassive, Christian Ristow (Robochrist Industries), The Do LaB (Lucent Misting Oasis), Corndog (Platonic Chamber), Mass Ensemble (The Drum Orb), Cyclecide (Bike Rodeo), Michael Christian (Celestial Body and the Archway), Jerico Woggon (Year of the Snake), LT Mustardseed (Dragonfly and Serracenia Insectivorous)
2004 installation artists
- Syd Klinge (Cauac Tesla Coil), Nairb (Deus Ex Machina), Laura Crosta and Funn Roberts (Lanternaria), LT Mustardseed (The Journey of the Dragonfly, Finley Fryer ("Stan" - The Diver), Rosanna Scimecca (Cleavage in Space+Red Widow Spider), Christian Ristow (Robochrist Industries), David Wharton+Scott Mattison (Diffraction Light Tunnel), Howard Hollis (Linticular 3-D Art), Gaspo (HypKnowTron), D-light (Helix IV), Gabi Tuschak, Juli Gudmundson and Melody Byrd (Chitlin'n Grits), Mass Ensemble (Earth Harp), Jerico Woggon (Year of the Snake), Cyclecide (Bike Rodeo)
Musicians reunited at Coachella
In 2001, the festival organizers were having trouble attracting a major headlining band. Running out of time, they went to friend Perry Farrell
, who reunited Jane's Addiction
in order to headline that year's event. Since then, it has become somewhat of a Coachella tradition to reunite at least one band for each festival. Although the line between a hiatus and an actual breakup is somewhat blurry, a number of artists are considered to have been reunited at Coachella, or have played Coachella as one of their first major shows after a reunion. The following is a list of performers who reunited or made a big return at a Coachella festival.
- Daft Punk - First U.S. performance since 1997
- Tool - Not a reunion, but their first performance in three years
- Kraftwerk - First U.S. show since 1998, and marking only their third Southern California appearance since 1981.
Performers who have played more than once
In order to keep each festival unique and fresh, the organizers of Coachella tend to book performers who have not appeared at the festival previously. To date, there have been only fifteen individuals or artists who have played at Coachella more than twice.
- Alexander, Donnell. "Big Things" Los Angeles City Beat. April 26, 2007. Accessed May 15th, 2007.