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Coachella. Wow. You gotta go.

April 26th, 2010

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Coachella. Wow. You gotta go. I did.

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Check out my review on this year’s Coachella Festival after the jump!

*Blog post by Darren Bourne

Wake up Thursday morning at 5 am and make some coffee. Throw my laptop in my bag. Call my cab. And I’m off. I’m heading there with a group of friends, but I booked late and had to take a separate flight through the windy city. I charmed my way into the bulk head window seat for both legs of the trip…which is key. As soon as I got to Chicago and arrived at the gate for Palm Springs I could sense it was going to be a gong show. Everyone getting on the plane was going to the same place. I arrive at Palm Springs airport (sick airport, FYI) and rendez-vous (that’s french) with my boys, who have been waiting patiently gunning beers at the airport bar. We load up the minivan and head to the house we’ve rented.

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The house (which was fully furnished by Tommy Bahamas himself) is off the hook.

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It’s located in a gated golf community and our pool sits basically on top of the 8th green (obviously, you’re not a golfer). We are about 1.5km from the venue (as the crow flies).

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I’m normally not much of a walker, so it only took me 3 mins before I stepped out in front of traffic and flagged down a car and ended up hitch hiking to and fro the entire weekend.

Anyways, our first order of business was a Wal-Mart run. We were able to gather all of our supplies under one roof. Where else can you buy cases of beer, 60′s of vodka and Jack Daniels and all your groceries (including steaks, which were on the menu that evening). Back to base with the booze and food. Start the BBQ, blow up the water wings and start crushing beers.

Obviously this wasn’t a last minute trip, so there was lots of time to work some magic. Through some connections and resourcefulness (have you heard of the internet??? CRAZY!!!) I was able to learn about most (if not all) of the private parties being thrown around the 3 day festival. The first party I realized I needed into was the FILTER magazine opening night party (Thursday). So, like the rest of the world I entered the contest they were having and told all my buddies to do the same and without a word of a lie…we all won. I’m guessing everyone wins?? Anyways, they send us an email telling us we’ve won and to meet in some Casino parking lot where we will be shuttled to the secret location….sounds sick!

We arrive at said location and quickly find our way into the shuttle and a couple minutes later we walk into what was one of the coolest venues for a party EVER!

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Sick venue! But, as it turns out, we were early (like first people there early). Anyways, open bar and within an hour the place was pumping. Got a free t shirt. Played some ping pong. Didn’t get my haircut????? The party was a huge success.

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Rise and Shine! Day 1 of Coachella. It’s a lovely 33 degrees and sunny. Start the day off with pool, beers, and bacon and eggs. Life is good. At 2:30pm we decide to head to the festival.

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The first act I want to see is Yeasayer who are playing the Mojave Tent at 4:20 pm. Back to my resourcefulness, did I mention I applied for media accreditation for the entire festival and got it? Based solely on this blog. Thanks again Alexandra, I hope I do you proud…cause I’m coming back every year from here on out. So, we’ve got the media passes and we take them up to the front of the jammed stage just as Yeasayer come on. And sure enough, only the photographer is allowed into the pit and guess who’s not wearing the photog wristband….yep. Small glitch, my “photographer” was able to snap a couple quick pics and we bounced back to the beer gardens where the rest of the team were watching from.

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Yeasayer are definitely one of my fave new discoveries and they put on a pretty dope show. Perfect ambiance for a garden of beers. From there we headed over to the Main Stage for a little Street Sweeper Social Club. Tom Morello is a stud. Rage are epic. SSSC were pretty good. Not sure about Eddie Griffin’s doppelganger as front man, but whatever. Next up was Passion Pit playing the Outdoor Stage. Sent my photographer into the pit and he came back with this picture of Passion Pit and a picture of the crowd.

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Then it was back to the Main Stage for Them Crooked Vultures. Super group to end all super groups. They rocked out something fierce…I think. I’ve left out the countless visits to the beer gardens and by 8:30pm we were LOVING life.

I should also quickly mention that the venue was incredible. There was origami.

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An area for people on mushrooms.

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A ferris wheel.

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A wooded forest-esque stage.

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It was easy to get in and out of Coachella (with concealed booze) and the stages were all set up perfectly. Walking from one end of the festival to the other only took 10 mins and the walking around was the best part. Everyone had a perma-smile going. I have never experienced a more chilling vibe.

The night wrapped up with Jigga man. I wasn’t super close or in any shape to be operating a camera. I had also lost most of my friends and when Jay-Z went on I had officially lost the last of my buddies and was rolling around the vip area solo dolo. Bumped into a few peeps I know from Toronto and positioned myself atop a picnic table and watched the show with them. I’ve seen Jay-Z a bunch of times now and this wasn’t his best set. I think this was due to the presence of Beyonce on stage with him, resulting in Jay Z performing more of a mainstream female friendly set. Too much Alphaville and Bonnie and Clyde, not enough Reasonable Doubt. Sadly, I was starting to fade and didn’t have the mustard to walk across the masses of exiting people to see if I could catch the end of Deadmau5. There were so many conflicting performances, you just had to bite the bullet and pick one. Sorry I missed Fever Ray and Deadmau5. I followed the herd of people to the exits and quickly stopped a passing car and jumped in. There was a girl passed out laying on the floor in the minivan and the two dudes in the front seat didn’t look like killers. They couldn’t have been nicer, and dropped me off right at the fence and I was up and over and in the backyard, home safe. One down, two to go. Ten minutes later all my buddies show up after walking home. We all had a nightcap, told our stories and then crashed.

Day 2 starts off rough. Real rough. Skip breakfast, start right into the jack and cokes. And they are going down like sand paper. The order of the day is to make it to the DipDive Oasis pool party being held at the Merv Griffin estate and hosted by Will.I.Am. A friend at Universal Music got me on the list with a plus one. I grab a buddy and we get in a cab and head off to the estate. We arrive and there is a mob of beautiful people in bikinis and boardshorts waiting to see if their name is on the guest list. I weasel my way through the crowd and get to the list girl and she quickly references the list and shouts back “you’re not on the list, sorry”. I’m in no mood to not be on the list. I make a quick phone call to the contact person I was given and she says she’ll call me right back….a minute later some dude screams my name and we are in! I was only wearing boardshorts and didn’t have enough room for my camera in the one pocket. You’ll never believe me when I say the estate was 218 acres, which included a farm and horse racetrack, a man made pond stocked full of large mouth bass and a sick pool. The bar was wide open and the 400 people there seemed to be really enjoying the day. They had bouncy castles. A dunk tank. Inflatable rock wall. But, the real entertainment was the 400 people. The girl to guy ratio was through the roof (hats off to DipDive) and of the 300 girls there I’d say 250 of them were working models. My buddy said it best – “we’ve got to be the two ugliest people here”. We did our best to drink as much as possible and shake the hangover, but in the end we knew we there was much work to be done and felt bad we had ditched the rest of the guys so we pulled chute. Walked out to the main road flagged down a car full of people and jumped in.

On paper, Saturday wasn’t the best looking day in terms of performers, so we didn’t leave the comfort of our backyard until about 6:30 pm. Hitched a ride and before we knew it, we were in the beer gardens given’er.

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Head over to the DJ tent and Kaskade is murdering it! People are going apeshit! Have a couple more beers in the vip area (those media wristbands essentially only amounted to access to the vip areas, which wasn’t too shabby) and get back into the tent for David Guetta.

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Paris and Nikki Hilton were up on stage so we kept our distance….that shit’s contagious! We pushed on to see Muse play the main stage. They were pretty good, but not as good as some were making them out to be. Kinda blew it not seeing The xx and Hot Chip, but I’ll get over it. And for the girls, on one of our trips to the beers gardens we said whats up to Josh Hartnett – so dreamy! Tiesto closed the main stage Saturday night and blew the roof off the place.

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Exhausted, we trek out to the highway and hitch another ride home. Beers in the hot tub and we’re done. Two down, one to go.

It’s a jack and coke party Sunday in our pool. And we are getting lit, early. I feel awesome compared to the previous day. And I give a big speech around the pool about how great the experience has been and how we can’t take our foot off the gas now. We gotta go even bigger. And we did. We jump the fence early around 1:30pm and hitch a ride. We arrive and park in the beer gardens beside the main stage. Half listen to B.o.B. and De La Soul. Vacate the gardens and head to catch the end of Matt & Kim and then Julian Casablancas. Both good shows. And when Miike Snow goes on, we head over to see if Sly and the Family Stone will show. They don’t (although it ended up they were just 4 hours late), so we move on to the Outdoor Stage to catch Phoenix and then Thom Yorke. Phoenix are alright. Bumped into Kristin Stewart (of Twilight fame) at the port-o-potties, which was nice.

Thom Yorke and Flea (yes Flea from RHCP) are quite the odd couple, but you cant go wrong with Yorke. Stayed for most of that but a couple of us break off at the end to pay our respect to Canadian Techno pioneer Richie Hawtin (aka Plastikman). He was super good. And then it was time for Gorillaz.

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I’m no expert, but don’t the Gorillaz usually put on a video performance with their animated characters? Was this special that they were all on stage and visible? I am madly in love with their latest album, so I was excited. They were super good. Did a bunch of the classics and a few of the new ones. And that was all she wrote.

In closing, I can’t recommend this festival enough. It’s just so chill. Palm Springs is off the hook. The weather is guaranteed. There are snow capped mountains everywhere you look. Basically every hot person from California is in attendance. The festival is well run and loaded with amazing talent. Bring money for food and booze. And be resourceful.

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See you there next year.

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