‘TIS THE SEASON FOR COACHELLA.
At this point, you’ve probably (most definitely) heard of Coachella, officially named “The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.” Unless you don’t have any social media, don’t like music, or don’t have friends who like music, it’s pretty much impossible to get away from anything Coachella-related during this time of the year. It’s arguably the biggest, most renowned annual music festivals in the world, and it takes place in Indio, California. The festival has grown tremendously since its first year in 1999. Fun fact: It all began when the band Pearl Jam got into a dispute with Ticketmaster over their service fees, claiming that they were financially taking advantage of both fans and artists. Because of this, the band began to look for alternative venues until they finally found the Empire Polo Grounds, where the festival is held today. Over time, Coachella grew so immensely that organizers had to split it into two separate weekends in April. The first round of the festival took place this past weekend; hence, the inspiration behind my blog.
Although Coachella’s roots are grounded in music, it’s evolved over the years to become way more expansive. Now, the experience consists of art installations, iconic fashion statements, and technological revolutions. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably looking out for the most elaborate bohemian-inspired outfits (Vanessa Hudgens will forever be the queen of Coachella), and living vicariously through the Instagram stories of friends and celebrities living their best lives out in the California sun. I also find myself eagerly looking out for the lineup every year to see which artists are set to perform. Here’s a list of this year’s lineup to show you just how big of a deal this festival is.
But more than just raving and jamming out to your favorite artists like Ariana Grande and Childish Gambino, Coachella is the place where music meets technology. Produced by Goldenvoice, the festival offers an unparalleled and thrilling experience by incorporating the most innovative technologies to enhance both the artists’ sets and the experience for its dedicated attendees. From mind-blowing performances to futuristic experiences, Coachella has established a name for itself by staying at the forefront of technology.
2012 Tupac Hologram
The most memorable, legendary moment in Coachella history would probably have to be the time the late rapper Tupac appeared on stage in 2012, alongside Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre. Except, it wasn’t actually him (obviously), it was a hologram of him. Considering the fact that this took place in 2012, it’s pretty breathtaking how realistic his hologram looked. The hologram, nonetheless, was actually a 2D image that was projected on an angled piece of glass, which then bounced onto a Mylar screen.
In 2016, Coachella partnered up with Doppler Labs to introduce a revolutionary piece of technology. Using the Here Active Listening System, these wireless buds allow festival-goers to customize their music experience on their phones through a smartphone app. Listeners can control, adjust, and personalize the volume, reverb, bass, and even apply various sound filters such as “Carnegie Hall” to completely alter how they are hearing the festival. You can even have a conversation with someone next to you and alter how loudly or softly you hear that person. The Here Buds allow you to transport yourself into your own world, experiencing Coachella in a very intimate, unique way by manually controlling the sounds of the world around you.
360-Degree Live Streaming
If you’re stuck here in Boston like me, dreadfully looking at the rainy weather forecast for Marathon Monday tomorrow, there’s good news: You can live-stream Coachella from the comfort of your own home and live out your Coachella dreams via YouTube. Say goodbye to FOMO. This year, not only will there be live-streaming, but the shows will also be captured in 360 degrees, so you won’t miss anything. Check out the official Coachella YouTube page for more details.
Augmented Reality at the Sahara Tent
The stage at the Sahara Tent is the first-ever Coachella stage equipped with augmented reality, let alone space-themed augmented reality. It allows attendees to use the camera on their Coachella app between musical sets to see a variety of celestial objects, such as astronauts, satellites, and comets. Once pointed towards the Sahara video screens, the camera will allow them to choose several AR filters that will react to the audio and physical space within the tent. It can make it look like the content is floating and flying above the crowd, interacting with each audience member. AR will continue to transform the realm of musical festivals, making it an increasingly immersive experience.
Smartphone Apps and Smart Wristbands
The Coachella smartphone app is a crucial part of the festival experience, offering interactive maps, a customizable schedule of performance times, vendor listings, a real-time lost and found, and, as mentioned earlier, the Coachella Camera. All of Coachella’s vendors are equipped with Square, allowing smartphone users to use Apple Pay or Android Pay to purchase anything. You can also order food, drinks, and festival merchandise ahead of time with your Postmates account in the Coachella app, and pick it up when it’s ready at a designated Postmates pickup location. In addition, the smart wristband is enabled with RFID technology to grant you quick access into the festival. Although smartphone apps and smart wristbands are not necessarily new to the concert realm, it’s amazing to see how Coachella is swiftly advancing this technology every year to better cater to its festival-goers. It really makes me wonder what the future of music festivals will look like, and I look forward to witnessing it all unfold.
And to close out this blog, here is one of my favorite Vanessa Hudgens Coachella looks.