The Sahara Tent provided the clearest definition of what the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival has become when 11-year-old Mason Ramsey took the stage Friday afternoon alongside electronic dance artist Whethan.
Two weeks ago the preteen from Golconda, Ill., was unknown, and then a video of him yodeling in a Walmart went viral and he became an overnight sensation — with his own hashtags: #WalmartYodelBoy and #WalmartYodelingKid.
With few events as trendy as Coachella — just check your Instagram and Twitter feeds — it was no surprise Mason’s arrival was met with rapturous applause and not with the nod of irony one might expect.
Jack Antonoff remade Bruce Springsteen’s boomer-friendly arena rock for a millennial audience as he led his band Bleachers inside Coachella’s packed Mojave tent Friday afternoon.
Wearing high-waisted dad jeans and a black sleeveless T-shirt, the singer and guitarist from Springsteen’s home state of New Jersey told the crowd that he’d written his sad songs all alone in his room — then added that they didn’t sound so sad now that thousands were singing along.
Antonoff, who’s also an in-demand producer for the likes of Lorde and Taylor Swift, brought out Carly Rae Jepsen to sing a pair of tunes: “Hate That You Know Me” and “Alfie’s Song (Not So Typical Love Song),” from the soundtrack of “Love, Simon.”
Kali Uchis’ new album is called “Isolation,” but she was anything but alone at her set at Coachella’s Outdoor Theater on Friday.
The Colombian American singer is one of the quintessential new pop voices right now, running Amy Winehouse’s melancholy soul through a contemporary sheen of dub reggae, Latin pop and hip-hop brashness, all with a very East L.A. sense of history and longing (even though she was raised in Virginia).
She’s become an adopted favorite of L.A. — her Coachella warmup set in downtown and her gig at the recent Tropicalia fest were all slammed with eager fans who knew every word in English and Spanish.
In a very 2018 update to the classic fireworks show of yore, HP and Intel will fly drones over the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival grounds Friday and Sunday night.
Weather permitting, the drones will fly before the Weeknd takes the stage Friday night and during Odesza's set on Sunday, the first time a live drone show will be used during a concert.
"We've done multiple events worldwide," said Anil Nanduri, vice president and general manager of Intel's drone team. The team has been responsible for drones used during the Bellagio's water show, the Superbowl and the winter Olympics. "Bringing this together for an artist experience has its own charm."
The first performance slot on Coachella’s main stage isn’t exactly a coveted position at a desert festival where many fans don’t even bother to show up until after sundown.
But Los Ángeles Azules drew a relatively gigantic crowd in that spot on Friday afternoon — perhaps because its position on the bill wasn’t its only first.
Based near Mexico City, Los Ángeles Azules was the first traditional cumbia group to play Coachella, which has boosted its share of Latin music this year with additional bookings for the likes of Kali Uchis and Cuco.
No one can begrudge Coachella for taking security extra seriously in the wake of last year’s shooting at the country-focused Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas. A little patience should be expected from fans as they deal with realities of a world where concerts and nightclubs have become notable targets for mass attacks.
But man, on a day this hot, you feel it when the first hour in line at your security checkpoint passes and you’ve only moved a few feet.
As the fest grows bigger every year, the challenges of safely steering this many people inside get more and more considerable.
Coyote seemed to be up to his old tricks in Pioneertown on Thursday evening. The trickster of Southwestern mythology conjured up gusts of wind and a drop in temperatures that threatened to scuttle Dior Parfums’ magic hour celebration of its Sauvage Eau de Parfum men’s fragrance.
The locale — the rustic Pioneertown Motel a peyote button’s throw from Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace a few miles northeast of Yucca Valley — was chosen only partly for its proximity to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival that starts Friday in Indio, according to Dior reps of the ad campaign for the fragrance, which features Johnny Depp driving around the desert in a white convertible and burying something (we know not what) in the heat-blistered ground. It was shot in nearby Joshua Tree. (The original ad was released in support of the fragrance’s eau de toilette formulation, and the April 12 dinner was to mark the launch of the eau de parfum — if that makes scents.)
Depp wasn’t present in the flesh, but his voice could be heard narrating the newest ad for the fragrance that was being screened for guests in one of the motel’s rooms. He was also there in spirit — kind of — thanks to a low-talking shaman camped out cross-legged in another rooms, who spun tales of the coyote trickster while crushing chile peppers, pink peppercorns and sage (some of the scent notes found in the new fragrance) in a molcajete while surrounded by bottles of the Sauvage Eau de Parfum.
For frequent attendees of the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, the familiar grounds can get a bit … stale.
Lucky for them, U.K.-based show design studio Newsubstance is making its debut at this year's festival with Spectra, a multilevel, spiral-shaped pavilion that offers a fresh view of the well-known festival grounds.
"We were really keen to try to make people slow down and take a breath from the buzz of the festival," said Patrick O'Mahony, creative director for Newsubstance. "And maybe look at the site in a totally different way."