Whether or not you were there, you’ve already heard about the most epic three days of the year.
Coachella is a three-day music festival in Indio, California, for music, camping and drug lovers alike. The festival amounts to a long weekend of what life should really be about.
Admit it, if you missed it you’re kicking yourself right now, while listening to everyone else talk about how incredible it was. And more importantly, how happy everyone was while they were there. Read on and continue the kicking.
The heat, the amazing music, the happy people, the campsites, the lights and stages were a perfect recipe for an unforgettable weekend. There’s nothing like music festivals, and with a line-up as inconceivable as this one, Coachella managed to please us all.
I realized early on that the pleasure felt by festival-goers was what the event is really all about. Everyone was so happy, generous and loving, functioning together and helping each other out.
At one point in between shows I sat down to rest on the grass and closed my eyes. A few minutes later I felt a tap on my shoulder and opened my eyes to see an outstretched hand with an orange in it. “Would you like this?” said the woman who the orange belonged to. I looked tired and she wanted to help.
As soon as they were let in, campers ran to claim their site. Those of us that were volunteering at the festival in exchange for a free ticket — thank you Work Exchange Team — headed to the dirt patch that would be our home for the next few days. As soon as we pitched the tent and each of us downed 10 water bottles in mere seconds, we headed for the venue.
We met unforgettable people. One man camping next to our site was offering everyone free ecstasy. When we asked why he was doing it he replied, “I like giving this to people for free because I know from experience that it helps people open up and enjoy themselves more.”
People were hula hooping and juggling, and wanted to teach you how. After talking to one amazing group of people from Davis, they offered us a place to stay for the Whole Earth Festival next month.
While we wanted to stay and talk to more of these amazing people willing to share everything they had with perfect strangers, we knew it was time to get to the music. She & Him was about to go on and I had to see my adorable idol Zooey Deschanel live.
How could I even begin to tell you about all the shows I saw? The edge of the massive field that served as the festival’s venue was lined with five different stages, each presenting a different musician or band at the same time. Running back and forth between the stages all day and into the night turned out to be a necessity.
The running back and forth reached its height one day as we were sitting at our campsite and realized that Vampire Weekend was going on in 10 minutes. It was time to book it.
We sprinted. We watered the grass with sweat, and I knew that whoever came after us would experience a gnarly Coachella slip-n-slide.
The show had started.
And it was during this moment — this united feeling of simultaneous joy along with the 20,000 people around the stage — that I realized that I wanted to camp in the desert and listen to my favorite bands every day for the rest of my life.
More realistically, I realized that running as fast as I can to see a band I love is what life should be about. We were so happy and so eager. We knew what we wanted to do and we did it. And most importantly, we enjoyed every moment of our memory-making experience.
At one point when we were running to another show, we went through security and a woman was waiting at the other end offering us grapefruit. The happiness of the festival was spreading into a generosity that should be present in the world every day.
As the days went on my revelation expanded. The 75,000 people at Coachella were all having the time of their lives. How often is it that you are in a place that such a massive amount of people are so blissfully happy? They are soaking up the sun during the day, listening to their favorite bands into the night, and probably surrounded by some of their best friends.
It makes me realize that I want to live like that every day. And it makes me shrug my shoulders and wonder: why not? When we realize a way to be happy, we have to run with it. Music has always been something that inspires people. When you have so many amazing bands and so many die-hard fans in one place, people will be happy.
Go to almost any music festival and I think you’ll see what I mean. It’s difficult to have a bad time. And getting to be around so many happy, friendly and giving people is one of the healthiest experiences a person can have. I pursued only two things: happiness and my favorite band playing just a stage away. Then again, maybe both of these are really the same thing.
So throw “look before you leap” out the window of your van, watch it float away over the mountains surrounding the valley, then tear up some grass on the way to the next stage.
And don’t forget to grab your free ecstasy.