Since high school, I have known music festivals being a huge staple in music culture. It was almost as if it was one of those must do things, its something you have to do at least one time in your life. In less than six months I got to do both Camp Flog Gnaw in November of 2018 and the second weekend of Coachella this year.
The first time I heard about Coachella was while I was in my Tumblr prime. It was the 2014 performance of Tupac’s hologram. Seeing a hologram online as a 14-year-old and living in the desert at a music festival for three days are two completely different realities.
My hour and a half flight from SFO to LAX left me waiting an hour for the rest of my group to come off that three-hour flight from Texas. The four of us made it together and prepared for the two-hour drive to the agonizing heat of Coachella, California. My travel journey has turned into nearly 12 hours. After checking in and getting into our tent, we changed, went our separate ways, and got ready to party in some dirt, grass, and sand with our favorite artists.
Cliff and I stuck to each other this whole day like glue. Going from people like Jpeg Mafia where he started some of the craziest mosh pits I have ever seen. To seeing the calmer set of Tierra Whack and this being one of her performances yet. At the end of her set, she walked out from backstage and I gave her one of the biggest hugs ever. She interacted with her fans as if we were good friends, she spoke to and hugged each person that came up to her, she’s so genuine and kind. We even saw the iconic BLACKPINK. Being able to see them was so much fun I loved them since I saw the ‘DU DU DU’ video. Plus seeing all of their fans be excited and scream the words to their songs was electric. We ended the night seeing Childish Gambino floating over the crowd and taking selfies with fans all while performing hits from both ‘Because of the Internet’ and ‘Awaken My Love’.
Day two was the day of exhaustion. Off of the first-day hype the second-day slump got to us early; mainly me. Before we got there I made it clear that I was determined to see serpentwithfeet on this day. After almost dying in the merch line and seeing Donald Glover’s Guava Island we went back to the tent and I slept for nearly two hours. At this point, I missed the only person I really wanted to see. So, I went from set to set with Cliff and his friend, Shack seeing the rock duo, The Garden which was new for my eyes and ears. Even Mac Demarco came on stage it was wild, but being in that room and seeing the show from the sidelines made me want to join in. Afterward, we linked with Domo and I saw Smino yet again. Then we all make our way to the stage where Kid Cudi was.
This was the second time most of us saw him in less than six months, and he was better the second time. I was with two of the biggest Kid Cudi fans I know, Domo and Cliff. They were determined to make it to the front, though people were not moving even with all of the mosh pits that were started. No one budged. The show its self was amazing despite everyone in front of us just standing still. He brought out Kanye and 070 Shake to do ‘Ghost Town’ off of the album”Ye” and the tears immediately flowed from my eyes. Cudi is just so much fun to see, for me as a casual fan I realized the number of hits that he has separate from what is on my favorite album. But seeing him with people who love him more than life is even better because you get to experience them experiencing the moment.
We went to church with Kanye. It was Easter Sunday, missing church with my family nearly hurt my soul. Yet, being at the church service that we constantly see in Instagram videos, in real life with old and new friends was like being at church with my family. It was as if the entire festival population was there. Immediately after the gates opened, everyone raced into the space trying to get the best view of the mountain, almost like a stampede. This one girl was running with the person she came there with and ended up falling, Domo and I locked eyes and straight died laughing. Most of the time church can be exhausting, but being able to praise and worship with songs that many of us deem as classics like the instrumental of ‘Outstanding’ by the GAP Band. Being able to hear ‘Ultralight Beam’ performed by Kanye West and Chance the Rapper and Kirk Franklin, the emotion that the choir conveyed was powerful to me. Singing is always my favorite part of going to church. We were really at an Easter Sunday service just without the communion or hour and a half sermon.
After church, we changed. I slept even longer, the sun can really drain a person. I finally woke up and we raced to see Rico Nasty. But this was some of the most fun from this festival, I was able to see her again after her show back in August in Oakland on her Nasty Tour. She truly never misses all of her shows are great by the way she feeds off of the energy of the crowd. She brought out Doja Cat to do their single ‘Tia Tamera’ and she brought out 10K Cash which was a big difference from the first-week guest, producer, Kenny Beats. This was my favorite set, I got to be in my very first mosh pit which is something I have been scared of for a long time. Even her DJ ended on a strong note by playing the City Girl’s hit ‘Act Up’, which is the same song that the SOBxRBE DJ played to lure people toward the stage.
Seeing SOBxRBE was so much fun, it is inspiring. Being able to see Bay Area artists on a platform as big as Coachella really lit a fire under my ass. It let me know that I can really do this. My work can take e to places that I would have never imagined. Seeing people from close to home being celebrated by their fans, being seen by new people. This work can take me places. I can be able to go to Coachella off a press pass one day off of my work.
My weekend, in a nutshell, was great. It was great seeing new friends and sharing these moments with people that I will remember forever. Even with the heat and almost dying in the merch line and the Tierra Whack crowd, the experience was great, getting to see all of these artists with new and old friends it’s a memory that I would remember forever. Yet, doing this again out of my own pocket probably won’t happen. Maybe if Young Nudy and Xanman are on a future lineup. If they are I need a press pass.