Once upon a time I went to Coachella
I took an early start to the day that I could loiter in the main campgrounds where Elabrew was stationed. Navigating the many lots isn’t a small feat, but I found them on an elevated grassy knoll, under a shaded tent nourishing the people of Coachella with donuts, bandannas, zines and of course coffee as I knew they would.A beautiful painted tarp by Joerael covered their booth and it artfully declared, “the cure is…elabrew.”
My cure came in the form of a hot soy cortado despite the dessert heat. Its warmth felt like comfort, a throw and a good book. And as for taste, it was like heated milk with a warm chocolate – gluten free – cookie … just all kinds of yum.
Since I arrived near closing time, I was able to chat with the crew for a bit and then people watch which is always a pleasure. Then we all walked to the entrance of the festival sharing our first day Coachella adventures – who we saw – OUTKAST, and what we’d experience: community, culture, connections.
Once inside we made our way for some Sweet Clems Popsicles near The Do Lab tent. And as soon as I pulled off the wrapper on my strawberry flavored one, its freshness was like a cool deliverance to my tongue.
With it in hand and watching The Do Lab space – a revolving stage of dj’s , air mist and the most colorful people streaming in and out of its space, I was torn between finishing my pop and freeing my hands to document its unique vibe. It felt sub-independent of all the other main stages and adjacent tents – it was underground, yet above ground and functioned as some other-wordly kind of cool going on and I was diggin’ it!
Soon the Elabrew crew departed and I rapidly finished my pop. I stayed there for a little longer and then I was off to stroll the entire grounds for awhile, people watching, people talking and people documenting catching bandannas, shingled bottoms, cotton skirts, All-Stars aplenty and interesting hair arrangements.
When the late noon arrived, I met my friends for my first concert and enjoyed the folk calm of City and Colour. Their sound underneath the sun was an ideal way to leisure a still hot afternoon away. Then it was on to one of my most beloved bands, indie folk artists, The Head and The Heart, whom I last saw and photographed at CMJ.
It wasn’t long before I was happily singing along, full throttle, as one inevitably does with this band among a crowd of strangers. However, when Jonathan Russell said, “its not that weird to sing in front of strangers, we do this sh&t all the time,” the crowd went full vocal aplomb.
Then, when Charity Rose sang her infamous refrain towards the end of ‘Rivers and Roads,’ it was nothing short of a holy inner revival. The feat of achieving such intimacy in such a massive space among thousands of people is something I hadn’t imagine occurring at Coachella and here it was happening and I was part of it. Talk about bringing the Indio magic. #boom.
This experience with them at the Outdoor Theatre set the rest of the day musically for me. I went on to se Future Islands, Lorde, Solange, Pharrel Williams who had a host of cameos with him including the Jabbawockeez – amazing storytelllers of dance and movement – Usher, and JayZ. It didn’t seem real, but it was.
I must say this day ended with a fullness in my heart, the kind where you think you’re in love, and then realize, no, you are in love.
- “Down in the valley, the valley so low
- Hang your head over, hear the wind blow
- Hear the wind blow, dear, hear the wind blow;
- Hang your head over, hear the wind blow.
- Roses love sunshine, violets love dew.” Head and the Heart