the a-z of coachella
Photography Matthew Stone
A is for Action Bronson
The Queens native's Coachella set closely follows the recent release of his major label debut album, Mr. Wonderful, giving festival-goers a chance to find out what the fuss is all about if they haven't already. The food-loving rapper — he was a chef before crashing the hip-hop scene — has been compared to Ghostface Killah, has collabed with a who's who of contemporary rap, and has been widely praised for his freestyling skills.
B is for Ball-Nogues Studio
Understandably, the art doesn't get as much hype as the music at Coachella, but the festival's large-scale installations, by some of the world's most talented artists, really round out the experience. One of the most buzzed-about teams this year has hit this circuit before, and Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues promise to thrill again for 2015 with their sweeping, architectural sculptures in innovative textures and materials.
C is for Choices
Coachella might be happening over the course of two weekends, but that's still not enough time to catch every act you want to see. You'll have to put some good decision-making skills into action to catch your musts while discovering new favorites, too. Billboard highlighted some of the toughest calls, like Marina and the Diamonds vs. Jenny Lewis, Ab-Soul vs. Lil B, and Jack White vs. Tyler the Creator vs. FKA Twigs.
Tyler the Creator. Still from "Fucking Young."
D is for Do Lab
Moved from the center of the festival so as not to disrupt other acts with its earth-shaking sounds, Do Lab is a Coachella staple where the relationship between the performers and audience is much more interactive. Discover a lineup of both established and emerging electronic acts like DJ collective Droog and trap act Loudpvck, check out dreamy art installations, and get weirded out by The Lucent Dossier Experience's performance art, burlesque and fire-dancing.
E is for Emerging Artists
There are plenty of stars at Coachella, from VIP audience members to the headlining acts. But in between Florence and the Machine, Interpol, Jack White and Drake, don't forget to put in some time with the exciting, eclectic array of emerging artists. Find out why there's so much buzz around up-and-comers like Norwegian dance music master Todd Terje, Brooklyn rock set Parquet Courts, and rapper Vic Mensa.
F is for FKA twigs
Singer, songwriter, dancer, i-D cover star and baby-hair trailblazer FKA Twigs strikes a perfect balance between being a down-to-earth cool girl and a mystifying artistic alien. And there's no doubt she is priority number one for most Coachella attendees. The newly engaged performer promises to thrill with established favorites like "Two Weeks" and newer numbers like "Glass and Patron" — plus her envelope-pushing wardrobe.
G is for Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger
Thanks to the spawn-of-legend status of Sean Lennon and the cool-fashion-person status of Charlotte Kemp Muhl, The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger makes frequent appearances in magazines, blogs, and Instagram feeds. Sure, people are intrigued by their coupledom, their sartorial choices, and Lennon's heritage, but their Coachella set will introduce their folksy psych-pop to larger audiences and let their talent shine.
H is for Haim
The trio of sisters everyone wishes they were best friends with might not be playing Coachella this year, but their set last year was one of the brightest moments in their meteoric rise. Alana, Este and Danielle embody the very meaning of Coachella with their effortless cool and their free-spirited fan-girl vibe. And they did make a special appearance yesterday, when they DJed at the H&M Loves Coachella party.
Haim. Photography Laura Coulson.
I is for the Interview Party
This exclusive afternoon party on Saturday, April 11 offers attendees a chance to unwind poolside and catch some surprise performances. It's rumored that Sia and Diplo could be those surprises, since they were featured in the magazine's latest issue. In addition to drinks and food, there will be plenty of swag, as well as something advertised, terrifyingly, as "slingshot motorcycle rides."
J is for Jeremy Scott's Moschino Party
Another one of the festival's most sought-after invites, this shindig — held at a private residence on Saturday, April 11 — promises a guest list of models and cool kids, and some excellent outfit watching. Starting at 11PM, it will be the spot to end the day. It's also your best bet if you want to hang with Scott's BFF, Miley.
K is for Kimbra and Kiesza
These two talented songstresses both hover somewhere between up-and-coming and already-arrived. Blending electro pop, soul and R&B, Kimbra broke out when she worked with Gotye on the crazy overplayed "Somebody That I Used to Know." Kiesza has written songs for Rihanna, and got some rave reviews for her own work in 2014, with collabs like "Take U There" with Skrillex and Diplo yet to come this year.
L is for the Lacoste Party
Perhaps an unlikely host for one of the coolest festival's coolest parties — though the fall/winter 15 collection was "Royal Tenenbaum"-inspired — the collar-popping French brand is throwing a very exclusive two-day pool bash which will be DJed by none other than Elijah Wood. Held at a private estate on April 12 and 13, the party is will offer a pop-up shop, DIY stations, food trucks, cocktails and mini golf.
M is for Mystery Guests
Coachella has bred a healthy competition among acts to produce the most thrilling surprise guest. Last year, Solange brought out her sis Beyonce for "Losing You," Pharrell enlisted Gwen Stefani for "Hollaback Girl" and then Snoop Dogg, Nas duetted with Jay-Z, and Arcade Fire called upon Debbie Harry. Who knows who will make cameos this year — bets on Flying Lotus bringing out Kendrick Lamar?
Kendrick Lamar. Photography Stephanie Sian Smith.
N is for Neon Carnival
Called the "Vanity Fair party of Coachella's first weekend," this very exclusive bash finds Hollywood's buzziest young stars and VIPs hitting up carnival rides and games as well as the dance floor. Held in an airplane hangar, the party, organized by Bolthouse Productions, is at the top of many crashers' lists. In addition to the usual amusement park-like setting, this year's event will feature a film screening of Dope (starring A$AP Rocky) and performances by Politik, DJ Ruckus and Jesse Marco.
O is for Offensive
For some reason, in past years Coachella has inspired attendees to wear things like giant feathered headdresses. In an effort to stop the insensitivity, festivals like Glastonbury have banned the sale of headdresses (though you can still wear them), Bass Coast banned them altogether, and the media and even better-informed fellow concert-goers have taken up the cause, preaching about "not being that guy."
P is for Perfume Genius
Perfume Genius, aka Mike Hadreas, has been bubbling right at the surface of stardom lately with his brutally honest lyrics, haunting melodies and experimental sounds. His 2014 album Too Bright has deservedly pushed him further into the spotlight. With PJ Harvey influences and in-your-face messages regarding issues like gay stereotypes, his live set won't disappoint.
Perfume Genius. Photography Matthew Leifheit.
Q is for Queuing
Want to charge your phone so you can post your blurry band shots on Instagram? You'll have to queue up for that. Need to eat? You'll queue for that, too. Beer? Queue. Bathroom? Queue. For all of the blissful performance-watching, dancing, drinking and hanging out with friends you'll do at Coachella, you'll also spend a solid chunk of your weekend waiting in lines. Plan accordingly by keeping a friend with you to pass the time and wearing plenty of sunblock.
R is for Real Bathrooms
The fact that Coachella has always relegated guests to different levels of port-o-potties is pretty insane when you think about the VIP parade, the luxury designer pop-up shops, and the exclusive parties. Well, no more: there are now permanent toilets to match the surroundings. 324 stalls and sinks are now firmly rooted in the terrace area, conveniently near the food vendors.
S is for Selfie Stick Ban
There is justice in the world. If your days have already been interrupted by tourists and teens grinding to a halt in front of you to aim their selfie sticks, you are probably concerned about the sticks' ubiquitousness at the Insta-heaven that is Coachella. Flower crowns and Valencia go together like peanut butter and jelly. But mercifully, this year the festival has forbidden this bane of most festival-goers' existence.
T is for Tinder Party
What kind of party would Tinder throw at Coachella? That's exactly what you undoubtedly want to find out. On Saturday, April 11, everyone's favorite hookup app will take over 1OAK Chateau in La Quinta for its One of a Kind Afternoon event. All we know so far is that there will be an open bar and secret performances, which could be an enticing offer so far, but what remains to be seen is whether Tinder can throw a cool festival party — or maybe one so bad it's good.
U is for Uber
Unless you're camping on the festival grounds, you're going to need a ride home after a long day of drinking. Luckily, the Uber we all know and maybe love is available at Coachella; unluckily, it was a total mess last year, with people waiting on line for hours before either deciding to walk or getting stuck paying $130 for a 15-minute ride. To improve matters this year, festival organizers have designated certain zones you have to be in to hail a driver — here's hoping it helps.
V is for Vaping
Not even medical marijuana is allowed at Coachella, but a lot of 420-friendly festival-goers were probably banking on being able to discreetly vape. However, a California bill banning public vaping was passed last year to rain on their parade. Coachella hasn't made a clear statement about its stance on e-cigarettes and vaporizers, so it's hard to say whether they'll consider themselves part of that "public." Ticket-holders have been discussing in their own forums, and say Coachella has responded via e-mails that e-cigarettes will be allowed but no e-cigarette fluid.
W is for Woes
Do you want to hear Drake rap about his woes? Are you one of Drake's woes? Take a moment to explore the woe issue during Drake's set, during which you'll be sure to hear "Know Yourself" and how the perennial love triangle member is "running through the 6 with my woes." But that doesn't necessarily mean Aubrey is on a sad jog — fellow Canadian rapper Devontée told Noisey that "woe" means "working on excellence," and that it's his crew and an entire way of life.
X is for Jamie xx
Sadly, The xx isn't performing, but perhaps even more exciting is that Jamie xx is. Fans will get a taste of what the band member's solo stuff sounds like live, and it's sure to be one good ride with his genres swinging from dubstep and garage to electronica and trip hop. The remix artist is releasing his first full-length solo album in June, so his set is sure to be a must-catch preview of that new music.
Y is for Yuma Tent
It's been pointed out that this year's lineup is swinging back from a dance focus to a rock focus, but as you'll find in areas like the Do Lab, all things house, techno and EDM will thrive on, providing a dance break between soulful singer-songwriter sets or guitar-driven rock sets. A new space, the Yuma Tent, promises to keep EDM fans happy with some recognizable acts as well as new artists to check out, like Dubfire and Carl Craig.
Z is for the Zamora Brothers
John and Ben Zamora are another addition to the festival's art lineup that has current fans and curious art lovers alike anticipating what they'll contribute. Until now, they've been more under-the-radar, lending their lighting genius behind the scenes to operas, concerts and museum shows. Coachella is a chance for their starkly modern light installations to really break out — their sprawling, carefully planned and sculpted pieces will no doubt electrify the casual party atmosphere.
Text Courtney Iseman
Photography Matthew Stone