If something could be the opposite of a secret, it would be this: Coachella is my absolute favorite time of the year. This year was the first year Ryan and I went together, so while it wasn't quite my favorite Coachella music-wise, it was my favorite Coachella overall. :) From our cozy home-away-from-home in the back of Ryan's truck to surprise visits from friends to finally getting to see Airborne Toxic Event and Postal Service, it was an amazing weekend.
Getting on the road and out of San Diego has historically been the most stressful part of Coachella for me. This year wasn't any different. I was supposed to get a 16 mile marathon training run in and... I didn't. I tried though. I swear! Around Mile 9 when I realized it was going to push our departure time back over an hour if I kept going, I gave up and decided on a 10-mile run. I still feel pretty guilty about it, but honestly, I just wanted to start my vacation and get to the polo fields!
Once I got back, Ryan and I started loading up his truck for car camping. We said goodbye to the pups, made one final beer and ice run, made the obligatory road trip kickoff stop at In-N-Out and got on our way.
We decided (by accident) to take the mountain route through Temecula instead of the 215 to the 10. Which, as you can see from the random horse sculptures in the middle of nowhere and the mountains, is a much more scenic drive, though not necessarily a shorter one. Get stuck behind the wrong car on a one-lane windy road and you could add an hour.
Around 4pm we finally made it to car camping. A lot of people complain about the long security lines to get into the campgrounds, but honestly, it was one of our favorite parts of the weekend. The whole parking lot turns into one giant pre-party. Once we got into our lane, we shut off the engine, opened our cooler, got out the beer koozies and sunscreen and proceeded to have a blast for the next three hours. Everyone was in such a great mood and if I'd taken a shot for every time we got a "Happy Coachella!" I'd have been pretty drunk. Or rather, more drunk than I already was.
We pulled into our camping spot a little after sunset, set up, ate and promptly passed out on an air mattress in the back of the truck.
In the desert, there is absolutely no where to hide from the sunshine. So despite our makeshift curtains (I ducktaped pashminas to the windows), we had no choice but to get up with the sun. At 7am.
Eventually our friends made their way over to our campsite and we headed into the festival in the late afternoon to catch the end of Stars. Our Friday lineup after that was mostly back-to-back. We managed to catch full or partial sets for Metric, Alt-J, Of Monsters and Men, Palma Violets, Modest Mouse, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I had originally hoped to watch Beach House and last til midnight for Tegan and Sara but after our 7am rise and shine, we called Day 1 quits after YYY.
Takeaways from Friday? I wish we'd gotten tickets to Alt-J at the Casbah in San Diego, because as fun as their set was in the Mojave tent it would have been better in a smaller venue. Karen O is a performer not to be missed. And Modest Mouse was a huge letdown. Whether it was the sound problems they were having or just their set list, I couldn't really decide, but for a sunset show on the main stage, they were truly disappointing.
It never fails that Saturday ends up being my favorite day at Coachella. After a rough start (Note to self: VIP showers are still terrible and SO not worth the 3 hour line), it turned into a perfect day. First, Ryan surprised me with my birthday present a few days early: a really gorgeous, festival-ready gold wrap necklace that I LOVE and went perfectly with my outfit for the day. Then our friends showed up to the campsite fairly early to enjoy some shade and beer pong with us during a relaxing, lazy day. And in the afternoon, two more friends who weren't originally coming to Coachella showed up with day passes and snuck in some Fireball whiskey for us! Many, many shots ensued.
There is some blank tape post-Fireball but somehow my friend Heather and I separated from everyone else to go see Bat for Lashes (which was awesome!) and explore the H&M tent. We reunited in the Red Bull Speakeasy, where I quickly downed two Red Bull Raspberry Lime and Vodkas (Red Bull had 3 limited edition flavors for Coachella that I hope, hope, hope they start selling soon), then we headed to watch Grizzly Bear (equally fun) en masse.
Postal Service was the band I was most looking forward to on Saturday and though they were absolutely amazing, afterwards Two Door Cinema Club ended up being my favorite show of the day and maybe even of the whole weekend. I danced so much that I immediately needed dinner, which I got at Mangler's Meltdown, this LA-based food truck that sells grilled cheese sandwiches with mozzarella sticks inside. What!?
We closed Saturday by watching the first half of Phoenix and then returning to camp. All in all, Saturday ended up being a lot of fun and performance-wise, definitely had some of my highlights. However, it remains undetermined if said performances were enhanced due to Fireball-induced euphoria...
I was absolutely determined to skip drinking on Sunday morning when I woke up and I believe that I cracked my first Bud Light Lime open around 10:30am. Which explains the photo at the very top, of me barefoot and fancy-free, dancing my heart out to Airborne Toxic Event at 2pm. Postal Service and ATE were two of the bands on my bucket list and I am still so happy that I got to see them both.
In fact, Sunday may have been the best for shows. It certainly felt like we saw more full performances than we did any of the other days and a lot of them were bands we were checking out for the first time, which was fun. Our Sunday lineup also included: Grimes, Tanlines, Tame Impala, Vampire Weekend (surprisingly fun), Pretty Lights, The Faint, and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Outside of music, the highlight of Sunday? Riding the ferris wheel for the first time. The lowlight? The ridiculous sandstorm that made RHCP's set less than enjoyable. Despite how badly I wanted to stay, I couldn't even keep my eyes open with the wind whipping dust and sand into them (though, I will say, it made for a pretty light show during Pretty Lights' show). After about five songs, we made the trek back to the truck one last time and drove home Monday morning, more than ready for a shower.
Sets I Missed and Wished I Didn't: Youth Lagoon, Blur, How to Destroy Angels, Janelle Monae, Wild Belle, James Blake, Father John Misty, and the last half of RHCP. Again, damn you, sandstorm.
Coachella 2013, you were so good to us. See you next year!