Coachella Music Fest: The best of the worst of us?

I am working with a friend at the famous Coachella Music Festival, which somehow gets itself listed as the best music festival year after year. This is based upon the music lineup and surprises that come with that lineup. For instance, Eminem was one of the headliners this year, and as a surprise guest, Dr. Dre came out with Slim Shady. After having been to Glastonbury this last year, and now to Coachella, I do have an opinion on which fest I would prefer to go to, and sorry Coachella fans, but it’s Glasto hands down – bigger, better, and more raw compared to Coachella, which feels like a commercial enterprise well-experienced in getting your money. Nonetheless Coachella has some great music, and it’s not necessarily the biggest names on the bill that are the best. Apart from these festival observations, I made my assessment of the festival from a (somewhat) sociological and (definitely) missional perspective, and here is what I came to see at Coachella after the first of two weekends.

First weekend of Coachella done.


  1. We live in a shallow culture, and people are obsessed with famous people and wanting to be famous and rich.
  2. Coachella is the self-portrait and public lingerie capital of the world. If people are not getting selfies, they are having friends take their pictures as they pose all over the event.
  3. This is not your father’s music festival. He’s scratching his head, and wondering what happened to Woodstock and .
  4. Yes, there is some rippin’ music. War on Drugs, Kamasi Washington, Nile Rogers and Chic, First Aid Kit, Nothing But Thieves, HAIM, and a good old fashioned punk show from FIDLAR were some of the better sets I saw. I worked during some of the main sets, and that was just fine with me. 😉
  5. I have one more week of the same thing to go.
  6. Etherea at Coachella

    Coachella makes a big deal about its art. There is not a lot of it, though it is big and impressive, but art should be squeezing out the cracks of this place. Even the big and impressive stuff is nothing like Burning Man. If you want interactive big art go to Burning Man.

  7. They do have one of the most amazing catering services for staff. Super impressive for hungry and discerning palates. TaDa was the caterer – Wow.
  8. They sure make it difficult to get places when you are working. There is more “you can’t get there from here” than Pan’s Labyrinth. I walked 10 miles one day, when I should have walked about 4.
  9. I can’t help but think that Coachella represents the best of our narcissistic tendencies, and capitalizes on it.
  10.  Joshua Hanson‘s gang at Kingdom Promotions are the bomb. 😉

Those are my thoughts on weekend One at Coachella. I am looking to see how deeper spirituality fits into the music festival world. I believe that we can expect that this is one of the coming movements in the festival world. The question is what that spirituality will look like, and how Christianity will navigate that movement.

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