Complete coverage: COACHELLA 2013
INDIO - In the world of music festivals, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival stands out in a league of its own. It has essentially helped create the model for a successful festival since 2001 after starting in 1999.
Less than a month after this year's festival wraps up. ticket sales for next year will already by available, long before a lineup is even announced. And last year it upped the ante by expanding the festival to two consecutive weekends, featuring identical lineups.
Some were skeptical about the move but their doubts were squashed when both weekends sold out - almost immediately.
For weeks there was speculation that the Rolling Stones would be a headlining act, needless to say more were disappointed when the closest they got was the Stone Roses.
But once festival goers had the chance to digest the set list the speculation began about who would be a surprise guest. Among those was the rumor that Daft Punk, friends of fellow Frenchmen Phoenix would join them on stage.
For all the hype, Daft Punk was a no-show for the first weekend. Instead Phoenix was joined by R. Kelly on the first weekend. Fans still seemed to hold out hope on the second weekend that Daft Punk would make it out to the fest but it was not to be.
This year still brought some surprises, Solange Knowles joined The xx for a cover of Aaliyah's "Hot Like Fire," while John Legend came out to Benny Benassi's set over in the Sahara Tent.
The second weekend was also sprinkled with some guests, like rapper Danny Brown joining Purity Ring for a song and RZA at James Blake's set. Both rappers were already set to play at the festival with their own respective work.
Fall Out Boy stunned fans at 2 Chainz' set, dropping in for a remix of "My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up).
Out of the both weekends both Wu-Tang Clan and Yeah Yeah Yeahs - billed ahead of the headliners - seemed to steal the shows on their respective nights. Staten Island's Wu-Tang Clan, on the Outdoor Theatre side stage, easily outdrew Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds on the nearby main Coachella stage and gave more passionate performances than Sunday main headliner Red Hot Chili Peppers.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers, who had no surprise guests, appeared to draw the largest audience each Sunday but critics gave their first weekend performance poor reviews for lack of energy and imagination. Reviews were still coming in for their second weekend performance but it featured a lot of the same material from the week before.
"I thought they were missing something," said Coachella attendee Jacqui Brain of Willaura, Australia early Monday morning after the Chili Peppers performed. "The crowd didn't go crazy." The ever colorful and energetic Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs helped her band draw more fans than co-headliners the Stone Roses and Blur. Friday night's headliners was clouded by a bit of controversy after the Stone Roses failed to attract a large audience during the first show. A couple a days after the show Goldenvoice, the show's promoter, announced changes to the set times which included flipping the sets with The Stones Roses and Blur.
But the festival was also an opportunity for smaller acts to expand their fan base. Among those were Vintage Trouble, Guards, Youth Lagoon, Japandroids and Father John Misty whose hip-shaking dancing and playful persona may have been one of the best live shows at the fest.
One of the breakout stars of this festival had nothing to do with the musical acts. The carefree, slow-going Helix Poeticus - affectionately dubbed the Coachella snail - was perhaps one of the most photographed features from the festival. It also had a very active Twitter account which responded to a tweet anytime anyone mentioned it.
The snail was created by Los Angeles-based Poetic Kinetics, a collaboration of artists who specialize in various mediums. Their work has been featured in other festivals such as the Electric Daisy Carnival, Burning Man and at Coachella in 2007.
Massive winds on the final night of the first weekend of the festival created a sandstorm for most of the evening and had many in attendance referring to it as "windchella," "Hurricane Wu" (dubbed by the Wu-Tang Clan who was performing in the middle of it) and "Coachellasandstorm."
The wind kept most of the heat at bay for the first weekend but temperatures began to warm up the second time around.
Officials made some adjustments to the second weekend of the festival in wake of the Boston Marathon bombing earlier in the week. The event draws more than 80,000 people to the three-day festival.
Police officials asked the crowds to be vigilant and an additional security checkpoint was added as well as a K-9 unit from the firm hired to handle security.
A La Verne man hired to do traffic control for the festival was killed on the final Saturday when a driver struck his motorcycle near the festival grounds. The collision occurred in the morning and 59-year-old Monte Gardner died from his injuries later that day.
Ben Guitron, spokesman for the Indio Police Department, said on Monday there had been a total of 80 arrests mostly for alcohol during the second weekend of the Coachella festival. There was 91 arrests the first weekend. "I think people are making better choices, " Guitron said when asked why the number had improved.
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