Dancing in the Desert: Coachella Weekend 2 Recap

Every year California's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival comes and goes, leaving us with more FOMO than ever. This year we watched as one of our own - Laura Fitzpatrick, made the expedition to Indio for the 3 day event.

This was my second year at Coachella and it's safe to say I'm officially hooked. I've developed a full blown addiction to the art, music and good vibes the festival has become famous for, and will gladly endure the dust filled lungs, sore feet and horse voice for those jam packed 3 days and nights of music.

This year brought some huge artists, not to mention quite a few Aussies, to the Coachella Valley. Ellie Goulding, Jack Ü, A$AP Rocky, Major Lazer, Sia, Ice Cube and Disclosure were among the hundreds of acts that performed over the weekend. As expected, we didn't get to see everyone we wanted to but still got a pretty solid few days out of it, so here we go!


Friday morning: we woke up from a much-needed rest after the 13 hours of flying from Sydney. A quick application of body glitter and sunscreen and we got on our way to see the first act of Day 1, Nina Las Vegas.

Never failing to impress, she had the smaller crowd of the 3 days squished into a huge tent jumping around in 35 degree heat. As the day went on, and temperature grew, we sat ourselves in the VIP outdoor lounge underneath overhead mist to watch Joey Bada$ play on the Coachella stage performing some of his best tracks.

Image via Nina Las Vegas

Next up was DJ Mustard, Foals and Monsters and Men before the main performance I was keen for, A$AP Rocky, performing on the Outdoor stage. For the hour that he had on stage, he sure did work through a lot of the crowd's favourites including F*cking Problems, Fashion Killa, Multiply, Wild for the Night and Everyday. He also surprised fans by bringing out not 2 but 3 special guests – Miguel, Tyler The Creator and A$AP Ferg. Safe to say I wont be forgetting that performance for a while.

We followed that with about half an hour of Ellie Goulding who performed amazingly on the Coachella stage before running over to the Sahara tent to finish the night with G-Easy and Rae Sremmurd. To top the night off, Lil Wayne shocked the tent when he came out to perform along side Easy for A Milli and The Motto.

One day down and I already had the highest expectations for the rest of the weekend. We made our way home by way of the Coachella shuttles (highly recommend btw) and passed out eager to get up again in a few hours and do it all over.

Day 2 started off a little rough but never the less, we powered on in typical Aussie style – drinks at 11am. Today we got in early to give ourselves a lot of time for the huge acts that were on, but my first must see was Run the Jewels who brought out Travis Barker to perform with them. Snatching a spot on the Coachella stage they definitely left an impression, sending the crowd bonkers with Oh My Darling and Close Your Eyes.

Following on the same stage was CHVRCHES who we were told we couldn't miss, and I'm glad I didn't – the act had a huge turnout and an even bigger performance on stage. From being under the 32-degree sun in a crowd for a solid 2 hours, we were ready for AlunaGeorge in the Sahara tent. Now, the last time I saw them perform was at Sydney's Oxford Art Factory for less than 200 people so it was awesome to see her holding her own on a stage that has been used by some of the biggest names in music, and as expected, she killed it. She also joined Disclosure on the Coachella stage later to top of their unbelievable set, before the one and only Ice Cube drew the entire festival into the field.

Ice Cube and NWA fans across all ages stood in shock as Cube stopped the show mid way through and asked, “Is there a doctor in the crowd?" I think my ears are still ringing from the screams as Dr.Dre appeared on stage to join Cube, MC Ren and DJ Yella (not to mention Kendrick Lamar who gave us a taste of Backstreet Freestyle) to perform a few of his songs including Still Dre and California Love.

After that we didn't think the night could get better but we were happily mistaken when we headed back over to the Sahara tent for ZHU and RL Grime. Taking a spot front and centre, we set ourselves up for hours of jumping and singing along to hits like Working For It and Tell Me, ending the second day perfectly.

Image Via Zhu

By the 3rd day, I had used about 15 band aids, half a meter of tape on my shoes and and had completely given up on taming my hair. As final days go, this lineup was a pretty amazing signoff. The crowd was the biggest, the wind was the strongest it had been all week and it was predicted to hit a steamy 36 degrees. First up – Baauer, and we were absolutely taken by his set: everything from the lights, to the smoke to the animation used was perfect…oh and to top it off AlunaGeorge helped out on the vocals for his remix of Attracting Flies.

Tchami followed after him with a huge show, and has seriously upped his game since I saw him at The Ivy Courtyard in Sydney a few years back. We left a little bit early from him to get a slice of American pizza and hydrate before the long haul that was coming up on the Coachella and Outdoor stages – Sia, Flume and Calvin Harris.

Sia's performance was a whole other experience, featuring her signature wig, wildly choreographed videos and dancers to mimic. She sent the crowd into frenzy with Big Girls Cry and finished it off with Chandelier. Although I got to see a killer set of Flume's at Laneway earlier this year, we were pretty excited to see what he'd come with this time. It was obvious he put a lot of thought into the visuals and combining that with an amazing mix of tracks, he created a whole other world.

Image via Tchami

Running out half way through Flume's Never Be Like You, Calvin Harris was just about to begin his set on the other side of the grounds and we were set on getting a prime position. Although Rhianna didn't make an appearance this weekend, Big Sean still surprised everyone by coming on to perform Open Wide and I Don't F*ck With You, along side John Newman for Blame.

Harris's set was just as expected for the final performance of Coachella 2016 – eccentric and jam packed with all of his hits. As fireworks came out from all sides of the stage, the crowd went wild on his last song, signing off the night as one of the best I've ever had.

The shuttles were silent as we all made our way back to our hotels, with sore feet and heavy eyes. Well done Coachella, I'll see you next year.

Follow Laura on Instagram: @laurafitzpatrick_

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