Last Updated: Thursday, April 10, 2014
Coachella kicks off on Friday, April 11, with headliners Outkast, Muse, and Arcade Fire, and Pharrell, Nas, Disclosure, Lorde, Ellie Goulding, and more.
But this post has nothing to do with the musicians, the on-site camping suites, or the new “features” that concert producers are touting — like mass family style four-course seated dinners in a field that sounds like someone confused Tanglewood with Skrillex fans (See: below).
This is about what’s happening before and the after sets, like the one on the right, in the weekends’ real VIP section, not the fenced in gardens sold off at a premium.
Here are five things you need to know now, including “the list” and who’s in charge.
1. It’s all about the first weekend – April 11-13.
All you need to do is look at the FOMO (fear of missing out) drool in “Neon Carnival’s” instagram comments from last year, with hopefuls asking “Are you doing this again the second weekend?”
No. They’re not.
Save for one event in Palm Springs, every year since the festival expanded to two weekends, all the hosts and marketers who pay for it come and leave early. If you’re coming on weekend two looking for parties, it is going to be the Magician or Bearhands fan club meetups on site. (Two downbill acts I’m guessing will be playing in the afternoon.)
Updated: 1 (B). 100 Degrees in April
It is going to be hot: 100 degrees on Friday, 91 on Saturday, and 97 on Sunday. Only two years ago, it was in the 40’s on opening weekend . I’d rather take hot than cold. There’s always a pool
2. Fashion Retailers Love this Platform Here’s who is hosting the major bashes: Guess, Lacoste, H&M, Dickies, fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar, and in the past Diesel and Armani Exchange. It’s the same at Lollapalooza, where shopping site Asos put up the major Hard Rock Hotel activation. If your clothes get sweaty or muddy, there will be fresh collections around. To be fair, Sonos, Bootsy Bellows, McDonalds, are also hosting, and they are more lifestyle brands than fashion, but they aren’t the massive tentpole events.
Pro Tip: Some of these may have consumer (not industry) contests to win your way into events. Armani Exchange did for the Neon Carnival last year.
3. Line Up Your Transportation
The good news: Uber is going big at Coachella.
They just launched in Palm Springs officially, which might explain the non-traditional stretch limos (for 10) added to their fleet for the occasion.
Warning: Do not call an Uber from inside the festival. Instead, they will have an Uber Lounge in Lot 1C (Avenue 49 @ Monroe) as their port to the festival. There’s a bar, cell phone charging, a DJ, and other airport lounge type comforts.
Palm Springs to Indio is slated to run $49 in an UberX. A black car from L.A. is only $299. Both of these sound a lot better than the sketchy drivers I hired off Craigslist in years past. I suspect this will be a top trending topic (of discussion) at the festival.
The fields will be pink moustache free: ride sharing app Lyft tells me they will not be there.
The bad news: I can’t see Uber being as instantly available as in L.A., especially during surges. Last year, I discovered that there is a taxi stand right at the show. Getting around the “760” is doable, but it takes some planning, which leads to #4.
4. “Palm Springs” is not Coachella
You would not pop between social events in Malibu and the USC Coliseum several times in a day would you? They are separated by 26 miles and tons of traffic.
Because you basically have to choose between the two towns, I’ve broken down the list in to “Close to the Concert” and “Palm Springs.”
A handful of niche music magazines and house parties of various repute will mushroom closer to April 11.
There’s very little that’s actually new new. Nearly all of the familiar faces and footprints are back.
The recipe for a win is “the obvious.” says Tony Schubert, the top shelf event producer whose clients include ESPN’s Super Bowl party and Audi’s awards week events.
“The social aspects of the events are huge. Everyone wants guests to be talking about the party they’re at via Instagram and Twitter. You can bet that’s an important element for each of these big parties,” Schubert says.
Close to the Concert: Indio, Thermal, and Points East
**One to Watch/New Move** H&M Loves Music
Saturday, April 12: 11 p.m. – 4 a.m.
Indio – Custom Space That Has Not Hosted a Major Party Before
Update: Last year’s concert show stealer Major Lazer is performing at the party, plus two unannounced “surprise guest performers” beginning at 2:30 a.m. The confirmed guests are impressive: names that took home trophies during this past awards season and one who is perhaps the brand’s most globally famous “pitch” man.
Because H&M is an official concert sponsor, theirs is the “official after party” very close to the grounds in Indio.
Last year was the first time they went it alone with an event, and they nailed it on the first try. The leisurely daytime event with Santigold bridging two bodies of water was a sanctuary from the noise – the right size, tone, and a luxury hideaway that had everything you like about a Coachella party without any of the things you don’t (see above).
I was hoping they would turn it in to a weekend-long ultra exclusive destination like an Aman resort. No such luck, but they do have a performer up their sleeve they’ll be announcing soon.
Chet Mehta, Alyssa Some, and PR-Dept are facilitating.
*Hot Ticket* Neon Carnival
Full Title: Nylon and Olay Fresh Effects Present Neon Carnival In Association with Guess
Saturday, April 12, 10 p.m. – 4 a.m.
(Address Witheld) Thermal, CA
You’ve heard about it: It’s “the thing,” and the super heavyweight. Armani Exchange is out. Guess and the companies in the title are in. Invites go out the week of March 31. This video sums it up.
Brent Bolthouse took it from what it was (when it was inside the hangar years ago) and produced it in to what you see above. Jeffrey Best/Best Events builds it, and PMK*BNC handles the scene.
Many more details to come.
*New Move* Soho House
Soho House will have a 909 headquarters with both daytime and evening programming. Their plans are still in development, but they are moving up from being the lone ranger on weekend two to join the fun on weekend one.
Last year they took over the Merv Griffin estate after H&M moved out. I expect more DJ sets from splintered members of bands, escaping AEG’s “radius clauses” that would presumably block other local performances.
*Top Daytime Hang* Lacoste
Full Name: Lacoste Desert Pool Party
Saturday April 12 – Sunday April 13
Massive House in Thermal
Five years strong, it’s always a winner. It’s an idyllic scene close to the concert and they know it too. Close to the entrance they have a Disney-esque picture spot to snap the lake, poolside cabanas, and roaming “crocodiles” that have defined the brand.
A fun food item only at the festival: Patron infused ice cream sandwiches. They also have Moet & Chandon Ice Imperial, a white bottled, white goblet served bubbly that is meant to be taken with ice, that was the Miami Heat’s official party pour during last season’s NBA championship run, and ended up on-air during locker room celebration shots.
ID PR helps pull it off.
*New* Resqwater House
Bougainvillea Estate, Indio
Saturday Afternoon, April 11
Half a mile from the concert grounds, these guys cuts through pretense: a house party hosted by an anti-hangover drink.
“We take the best care of our peeps,” founder Troy Michels (the former lifestyle marketing head for Target) tells TheWRAP. There’s only 75 invites, including expected faces like Shaun White, Giovanni Ribisi, and Adam Bravin (DJ Adam 12) who is playing on the 5 acre spread.
*Most Convenient Party* Heineken House on the Concert Grounds
Friday-Sunday both weekends, on the Festival Grounds
No list, no paid celebrity appearances, no 5 digit address to decipher, and no VIP section at Heineken’s massive consumer facing activation on the festival grounds itself.
“We take a much more inclusive approach,” Leanne Maciel, Heineken’s Brand Manager, Sponsorships and Events tells TheWRAP of their consumer facing activation. “The key thing at Heineken House is unique collaborations.”
The beer flows freely, but not free as it does beyond the grounds, but they do make BYOB fail-proof. Campers can “check in” two cases of Heineken for cold storage and claim it using their fingerprint, when dusty fingers are the only surviving form of ID after wallets and their contents evaporate.
The green bottle and red star basically came over on the Coachella “Mayflower”, dating back 13 years to the era when Siouxsie and the Banshees and Bjork were the headliners, while Tiesto toiled as a downbill act. They remain the festival’s oldest official partner. “They’re legit,” an AEG exec says.
Thank them for the Sahara tent, as they were the first to have any sort of dance presence in Indio, with what was then the Heineken dome (flash from the past). Now celebrating their Coachella Bar Mitzvah with a 13 year presence, there’s a party within the party that also comes with lots of gifts.
In addition to cold refreshment and AC, the house is focusing on collaborations -live musical mashups between name artists with hints given on SnapChat, artist/instagram collaborations, a donut chef creating donut mashups, and three flavors of infused Heieneken only available there.
Get your I.D. checked first.
Gated Golf Community in La Quinta
12 p.m. – 6 p.m.
This is smart. Bringing a “Real World” style house full of social media stars all churning out content from under the same roof as DJ Cobra and others play during the day, before shuttles go right to the festival. Houseguests include Vine’r Alx James (4.6m subscribers) and massive style blogger Jennifer Grace (@thenativefox on Instagram, 615,000 followers).
They already have locked in to the Electric Daisy Carnival in June in Las Vegas, porting the same concept to the Mike Tyson mansion in that desert to the northeast.
*New & RSVPs Open to the Public*: Dickies and Tilly’s
Full Name: Dickies X Tilly’s Desert Lounge in Palm Springs
Thursday, April 10, and Friday, April 11
The Ace Hotel, Palm Springs
Yup, another clothing brand jumps in. A pre-game of poolside music at the fiesta-friendly hotel. American Authors (“Best Day of My Life”) perform on Thursday’s twilight event. On Friday, the Fools Gold Records party moves here during the day.
Of note, the former Denny’s diner on site is one of the only late eats in Palm Springs. RSVP’s are open to the general public on Tilly’s website.
*Posh* Bazaar Poolside Fete
Friday, April 11, 4-6 p.m.
Parker Palm Springs, 4200 E. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs
Mia Moretti (who returns this year to DJ), Katy Perry, Eli Roth, and more at the Bazaar’s first intimate gathering last year. Bazaar editors Nicole Fritton and Joyann King host Friday, which leads in to a three day presence of their pop up boutique, open to the public at the Parker.
Party: Details at Midnight
Friday night, April 11 in Palm Springs House sponsored by Lexus
Last year, Nas hosted for Details.
Party: Bootsy Bellows
Saturday, April 12, 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.
House in Rancho Mirage
They only have 2 permanent locations – West Hollywood and Aspen – but they pop up everywhere. In the last few months alone: Sundance, Super Bowl, and a bit on Oscar night.
The two brand partners, Chevy and McDonalds, feel like a stark juxtaposition against the industry-friendly owner and clientele. I would have expected Mercedes and Gracias Madre.
Ben Russo, EMCBowery, and the Narrative Group are overseeing.
Hang: Guess Hotel at the Viceroy
Saturday, April 12- Sunday, April 13
Palm Springs: 415 S Belardo Rd. Palm Springs, CA
Katharine Mcphee and the scene at the base of the mountains at the Guess Hotel in 2013.
IDPR is in charge.
*New Hang/Tickets for Sale*: LED Dayclub at the Hard Rock Hotel
Ongoing Thursday-Sunday, both weekends.
Downtown Palm Springs: 150 S. Indian Canyon Dr., Palm Springs
Last year, the Hard Rock was still in its egg. It masqueraded the Hotel Zoso with its own signage and a stage over the pool as its future home. Now fully launched, they are having a marathon lineup of music in conjunction with LED.
Updated: LED has a lineup of EDM headliners, one a day, with A-Track and David Guetta on the first weekend, and Skrillex, Martin Garrix, and Tiesto amongst others on weekend two. Tickets from $40 here.
Alastair Duncan and the EDM focused firm Infamous PR are overseeing.
Marathon Music Resort: Saguaro Desert Weekender
Both Weekends, Friday-Sunday, Day and Night
1800 E. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, CA 92264
It’s massive. Last year, 5,000 people came through the hotel ranging from Aziz Ansari to Diplo. Rolling Stone is a partner with a stage this year. They always have at least one or two performers a day you have heard of, which trumps many others. This year’s lineup is forthcoming.
The dFm’s Linda Kovacs and Brynn Wallner, and Hello Stranger’s Caroline Hoste produce the six days.
Online fashion and celebrity news site PopSugar is going direct to consumers with a bus handing out free water, free WiFi, and cell phone charging at shuttle stops, hotels, and parties across the area. Destination updates come via @PopSugarLounge.
Sitting It Out
SBE, which has previously done activations with Steve Wynn’s properties and on their own, are staying on the sidelines. Their focus this year has been looking to opening the SLS Las Vegas this fall. Wildfox, which had a massive outdoor carnival style event get frozen out two years ago, has been silent so far as well.
Also sitting it out, everyone associated with the MTV Movie Awards, which go live from the Nokia on Sunday night of Coachella’s first weekend and J. Lo, who is picking up a trophy at the GLAAD Media Awards at the Beverly Hilton around the time that it gets dark on Saturday night.
This post will be updated as further details emerge. All events are private and by invitation only.
Send additions/updates/invites here: Mikey@thechimp.net (Mikey Glazer)