I was most excited to see Kendrick Lamar perform two days after dropping his fourth studio album, DAMN. Would fans, like me, be singing along to a record we’d only been familiar with for 48-hours? Which new songs would he perform? Would he bring out U2? I was so DAMN curious. K Dot’s presence was keeping my festival energy on highly optimistic.
Can’t lie…seeing the Kogi BBQ food stand also excited me. It is hard to be anything but happy on a sunny day with a short rib kimchi taco in hand. Cold brew, b12 and ginger shots, teriyaki rice bowls, and lots and lots of water would be among my pallet’s favorites. Oh, and that trip to In & Out, of course!
A music nerd and food connoisseur is what I am. But the music and food only modestly added to the satisfaction of people watching. What a demonstration of individuality. A tall, lanky body dressed in black, shiny shorts, a bubble vest, wearing a motorcycle helmet. A Goth pirate. A fully coordinated couple in lilac leather. Sparkles, flower crowns, jean booty shorts, and strappy, flowy, see-through pieces. Sharks, bananas. Plenty of Lady Gaga impersonators. All parading in the crowd. And I’m pretty sure I saw Waldo. People were dedicated to their looks and I was captivated and positively entertained, appreciative of their efforts.
I was clearly experiencing a whole new Coachella. It was less about the music and more about the supplemental details that composed a unique environment upon which the festival was hinged…Radiohead’s sound cut out three times during their set; Future’s stage seemed too big for him; The Migos performed twice without being on the official lineup. Things that I would not have noticed before were overwhelmingly obvious…yet, I still had high hopes for Kendrick to hit a musical home-run.
The night of day two surprisingly made the whole trip worth while. Jeremy Scott’s production: a Moschino X Candy Crush event was the energy for which I had been searching! Colorful lights reflected off of the lake; DJs were playing ‘THIS IS MY SONG!’ songs, drinks and bites were readily available. Oh yeah, and there was also valet parking—you know, to make it more convenient for us. Thanks, Jeremy! There was a Candy Crush themed slide! Whaaat? Photographers all around ready to snap you and your crew should you want a Candy Crush boarder around your digital photo for memory; lollipops, gummy bears, and jelly beans filled to the tops of jars with mini shovels to scoop out whatever your Willy-Wonka heart desired. The eclectic mix of people was incredible.
I ran into middle and high school friends who were now famous. I saw homies I’d known from running the streets, faces I’d seen in movie sagas, rappers I heard on the radio. Queens were dressed better than everyone who thought they were going to win that award. Ethnicity, race, gender, non-conforming, celebs, new kids on the block, you name it—there was someone representing. If only the diversity and swag that was here, was at the actual music festival, oh what a world this would be.
After a night of dancing, meeting lovely, new people and catching up with old ones, taking photos, and drinking endless flutes of rosé, I was not hopping out of bed to rush to the festival grounds on day three. I, instead, took a ginger ale and sat down to breakfast, then hit up the pool to contemplate the day’s goals. Day’s Goals: meet up with Vince (Staples) and stay longer enough to see Kendrick’s set at 10:35 pm. Easy.
Meeting up with Vince was a breeze, sticking around the dusty, arid desert in the relentless heat, not so much. The hour long cat nap taken in the rental paid off big time.
At 10:25 pm my alarm rang. I got up, splashed some water on my face, and trekked back to Coachells to attend the event for which I had been anxiously waiting….