During the first two weekends of April, the sprawling belly of Indio, CA’s Empire Polo Club hosts a subculture all its own. The middle-of-nowhere desert locale is home to the annual Coachella Music and Arts, where the agenda consists of three back-to-back days of blazing sun, mobile art installations, good food, great drinks and bass shattering music sets.
While standout moments like Tyler, the Creator’s bedroom session, Action Bronson’s front row greetings, the Weeknd’s LED light show and Drake’s cringeworthy spit-swap with Madonna made the weekend memorable, the stars of Coachella weren’t always up on a stage in front of nearly a hundred thousand people.
The true gems were sights, sounds and people shuffling from the main stage to the Outdoor Theatre to Gobi to Mojave from sun up to sun down. The ever-present aroma of stealthily smuggled in marijuana paired with the faint roar of crowds begging for encores at the different stages.
Celeb sightings peppered through a sea of men and women with bikinis, floral headdresses, face paint, flash tattoos and oddball costumes. Festival-goers with dusty shoes (many of whom eventually said fuck the shoes). Couples tethered to each other as they clumsily made their way through crowds of other lovers. Occupied blankets in the grass as the sun sets and glow sticks waving in the air as night falls. This is the real Coachella that doesn’t make headlines and timelines the next morning.
That’s where we come in. Flip through to see the gems VIBE unearthed during our time at weekend one of Coachella.
Photo Credit: Getty Images