The 2017 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival has come to an end, leaving only a trail of Instagram selfies in its wake. We had staff on site both weekends, who saw everything from the hottest music to the strangest outfits. And when we tell all of our friends and family members what happened at Coachella 2017, this is what gave us all of the Coachella vibes.
1. The size: We knew the City of Indio approved an expansion of acreage and a capacity increase in 2016, but when Coachella actually expanded, wow. It was literally the biggest Coachella ever. The palms that used to mark the perimeter of the public area were now in front the line of stages they used to be behind. We can’t wait to see the space is used for the Stagecoach Country Music Festival, which starts Friday, April 28.
2. The Sonora Tent: This was the best addition to Coachella 2017, hands down, from the music to the decor. The new seventh stage looked like a ’90s Nickelodeon cartoon splashed with the vibe of a cool city club with colorful graffiti on the walls. Plus, there were couches and air-conditioning. The Sonora was a haven for rock fans to see legacy acts such as T.S.O.L. and Guided By Voices, but also gave a visible place for Latin-flavored bands like Thee Commons and Quitapenas.
3. Kendrick Lamar: First, the Compton rapper dropped his new album “DAMN.” on Friday, April 14, two days before his scheduled headlining set. Then, he brought out the most opower of any of the headliners, complete with ninja dancers. Lamar announced a major U.S. tour on Monday morning and the heat from Coachella ought to help him sell a lot of tickets. Check out the photos.
4. Lady Gaga: Gaga had big shoes to fill at Coachella after Beyonce postponed her headlining spot to 2018 due to pregnancy. Lady Gaga brought flashy costumes (literally–she had a spotlight in her belt), dancers and a whole lot of pop confidence to Coachella. She also debuted a new song, “The Cure” the first weekend, and reprised it the second week.
5. Hans Zimmer: The buzz on social media was big when movie composer Hans Zimmer was announced as one of the Coachella 2017 performers, but it did not prepare anyone for how amazing it would be to see Zimmer and the orchestra live. Singing “The Circle of Life” with tens of thousands of strangers at the festival definitely ranks high as a Coachella 2017 moment.
6. The unicorns. Or piñatas. Or rhinos: The art installation “is this what brings things into focus?” sparked a debate among festival-goers as to what the giant colorful mammalian structures actually were. One thing was for sure–they provided a lot of shade.
7. The year of the pickpocket: One of the biggest stories out of Coachella 2017 wasn’t the music, but about people getting their phones stolen. Multiple thieves were arrested weekend one and again on weekend two with stolen phones.
8. The secret tiki bar: There was a secret tiki bar and if you wanted in on it, you were likely to wait a really long time.
9. Drake’s redemption: When Drake headlined Coachella in 2015, it was lackluster to say the least, except for the soul-sucking kiss from Madonna. But Drake returned to the main stage Weekend 1, wearing a yellow puffy vest, as one does, to be a guest during Future’s Saturday set, it felt like a triumphant redemption.
10. When Coachella went Yacht Rock: On the first weekend, Thundercat brought out Michael McDonald to guest on three songs, including “Show You the Way” and the Doobie Brothers’ iconic “What A Fool Believes.” Sadly, Kenny Loggins didn’t surprise us the second weekend. Also, can we just say that Thundercat has some of the best hats at Coachella? The first weekend he wore an animal pelt, but clearly that was too hot for Weekend 2 so he dressed more like he was a member of Gwar.
11. A sweet proposal: We’ve seen proposals at Coachella before, but the couple who met at UCLA and had 30 friends involved was a pretty special one.
12. Glitter, glitter everywhere: Glitter tattoos, glitter faces, glitter beards, glitter mustaches. Glitter was a big trend for 2017. Think about how many art projects you did as a kid with glitter that you could never seem to wash completely off. Now imagine all of these people back at work. See photos of glittery fashion from Weekend 2 and even more fashion from Weekend 1.
13. The selfie mirrors: Yes, this art installation has a name, “The Lamp Beside the Golden Door,” but it was one of the best selfie spots at Coachella. At least it was until people vandalized it. This is why we can’t have nice things.
14. The Do Lab: You could honestly go to Coachella and never leave the Do Lab. With its own stage, acrobats and special guests like Skrillex, the Do Lab continued its reign as one of the coolest things at Coachella.
15. Churro sundaes: Forget the doughnut ice cream sandwiches–this year the churro sundaes were the best sweet treat. You get a churro, dipped in your choice of toppings, like Fruity Pebbles, and then it is cut in half and put into a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The churro antennae are shaped like a V, a V for Coachella food victory.
16. Ezra Furman: After Coachella tickets went on sale, some outlets reported on contributions made by Philip Anschutz, the owner of AEG, which is the parent company of Coachella promoter Goldenvoice, as funding anti-LGBTQ groups. Anschutz refuted those reports in a statement, but Furman spoke out about it on stage both weekends. However, the best part about Furman’s Weekend 2 set was actually the cover of the Misfits’ “Where Eagles Dare” that opened the show.
17. Radiohead: Yeah, Radiohead had major sound issues on the first weekend, but Thom Yorke blamed it on aliens. And the band soldiered through and played “Creep.” And Weekend 2 went off without a hitch, with classic chestnuts “My Iron Lung” and “Fake Plastic Trees” making it into the set.
18. Travis Scott’s toys: Travis Scott had a giant bird, trees and multiple larger-than-life cardboard cutouts of himself on stage Friday at the Outdoor Theatre. It was definitely one of the weirder sets, but people loved it.
19. Lauryn Hill’s guest appearance: DJ Snake brought out the singer, who performed Fugees classics “Ready or Not” and “Killing Me Softly,” during Weekend 1 and it was everything you hoped it could be and more.
20. The balloons: Because everyone still loves the balloons and it’s not truly Coachella until you take a balloon chain picture.
21. The Sahara Tent: Every year the Sahara becomes more immersive. This year, screens wrapped around the airplane hangar-sized tent, which made a trippy Friday night set from Empire of the Sun even more intense.
22. Migos, Migos everywhere: You couldn’t swing those glowing balls around during Weekend 1 without a Migos guest appearance. Everyone heard “Bad and Boujee” a lot.
23. Inflatable canoe chairs everywhere: Any place that Migos wasn’t, those inflatable canoe chairs were. It was brilliant for those who brought them in and incredibly amusing for everyone else watching them trying to inflate them.
24. Fishnet cover-ups: Fishnet-style cover-ups were a thing again and it still made us wonder–don’t you get really weird tan lines?
25. The stuff we brought home with us: Coachella had some interesting merch this year and chances are you probably brought something to take home, whether it was a new record, a cactus in a beer bottle or a bathrobe.
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