How we grooved with Beyoncé at Coachella

The biggest music fest in the world is what you want it to be: an enriching festival experience, or one never-ending party!

brunch Updated: Jun 16, 2018 23:47 IST
Nikita Das
Nikita Das
Hindustan Times
Coachella,Beyoncé,Palm Springs International Airport
A picture in front of the epic ferris wheel is a must-do for all Coachellers(Nikita Das)

There we were, the three of us, stranded at the Palm Springs International Airport at 3.20 in the afternoon. Meanwhile, Justin Beiber, Kylie and Kourtney Kardashian, and Normani Kordei Hamilton of Fifth Harmony strolled the desert festival grounds at Coachella, the craziest music festival in the world, at least according to their Instagram feeds!

Coachella made us crazy too, and we hadn’t even reached the grounds yet! Why? Because a storm of Uber and Lyft cab bookings in the tiny city of Palm Springs meant we had to wait for cars. So, we hung around for a good 50 minutes and then paid a whopping $75 to get to our resort just seven miles from the airport, where we would pay $700 a night, because, you know, small town and packed hotels mean big prices.

But as far as the three of us were concerned, it was entirely worth it.

With celebs like Brooklyn Beckham in attendance star spotting is a happy exercise (Nikita Das)

Play it again, Sam

In 1993, Pearl Jam performed for almost 25,000 fans at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California. They selected the site as the result of a dispute with a ticketing company, when they refused to play in Los Angeles. This concert sowed the seeds for this massive revolutionary music show, today known as the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

The Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa in Palm Springs is a good option for Coachella attendees (Nikita Das)

Coachella’s Weekend 1 boasted the best and most innovative talents of the music spectrum, with headliners this year being Queen B, The Weeknd, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Post Malone, and many others. It was a wild weekend, full of historic sets, and raw energy, all in the middle of the Colorado desert. While I’m still trying to recover from three days of music, sun, celebrity spotting and inhaled desert dust, here’s a final look at the festival highlights.

In spite of the dirt and dust, and the bathroom lines we couldn’t shake off the feeling of wanting to be back at Coachella

We reached our resort on Friday at midday, right on time for SZA, Kygo and of course, The Weeknd, the last act for the night. We’d booked shuttle passes between our hotel and the venue, and thank heavens we did! Our legs were tired by midnight, and night winds in the desert are chilly.

#REVOLVEfestival is touted as the best private pool party running parallel to Coachella and entry here is impossible unless you hobnob with the Hollywood big guns

Seeing stars

Day 2 started easy with pool parties, great cocktails and sun bathing at the resort itself before we left early for the festival grounds. Live Instagram feeds by Rihanna, Kendall, Kourt and new mom Kylie, Bella and Gigi Hadid, Vanessa Hudgens, Emily Ratajkowski etc. had already started flooding our wall with their Coachella looks, which meant we were super pepped to do some star spotting. We spotted Brazlian model Alessandra Ambrosio and Brooklyn Beckham, and heard Leonardo DiCaprio was there too somewhere, hyping the scene for Queen B’s set.

Rub shoulders with celebrities like Bella Hadid at the Levi’s Brunch Pool Party (Nikita Das)

The hyperbolic reactions to Beyoncé’s headlining slot were totally justified. In spite of lining ourselves at main stage hours before her performance, we could see a mile-long sea of fans. Queen B truly lived up to her reputation as the greatest living LIVE artist, flawlessly hitting every single cue and dance move, without missing a single breath throughout.

Her performance was innovative, extravagant and hugely imaginative, notable for its machinations, brass band, entourage of 100 dancers on stage, and her historic statement: “Coachella, thanks for allowing me to be the first black woman to headline”. And with that, the night was a wrap.

Kylie Jenner, Kourtney Kardashain and Jordyn Woods arrive on the first weekend of Coachella

Bring back Coachella to me

After Beyoncé’s landmark performance on Saturday night, it was hard for us to bounce back for Day 3. Fortunately, marquee acts of Cardi B and Eminem breathed life into us with their action-packed sets. Also our favourite Diplo did a friendly stint on MØ ’s set – the duo that rose to fame with Lean On. It made us smile to remember the time Diplo performed to a crowd of 20,000 at Mumbai’s MMRDA grounds.

The electronic duo ODESZA turned Coachella Stage into a giant rave with their dreamy, widescreen anthems and mind-bending beats, before giving the stage to the closing act of the night and of the festival, Eminem. The topliner, although looking old, was joined by Dr. Dre and 50 Cent for a thrilling act.

Justin Beiber hanging out with his friends at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival

The morning of the 15th was quiet and strange. We’d got used to the constant buzz of the crowds and loudspeakers blowing our eardrums out, and our lungs, noses and ears full of desert dust. As much as we hated the scorching sun, the dirt and dust and the never-ending bathroom lines, we couldn’t shake off the feeling of wanting to be back at Coachella. Returning to normal corporate life was depressing. Sadly, we took the Greyhound bus, and along with Beyoncé’s entourage, we left for LA.

From HT Brunch, June 17, 2018

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First Published: Jun 16, 2018 22:18 IST