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Coachella 2013: The Parties Guide

What everyone will be texting, talking and tweeting about in the desert

Get the Indian headdresses back from the dry cleaner quickly.

For the second year in a row, the Coachella party scene is only on the first weekend, April 12-14.

Not a single significant entertainment marketer has moved into weekend two. Most celebrity talent will head to Indio on the first weekend ,with festival goers like Elijah Wood, Ashley Benson, and various CW and “Bachelor”-level names expected east. The consumer media will follow suit.

Fashion retail is the biggest category investing in pool parties or glowing nighttime festivals that are staged for lens appeal. While generating the first “summer-themed” celebrity images for the 2013 season, the music from a consensus underwhelming class of festival headliners  — Phoenix, The Stone Roses, Blur and The Red Hot Chili Peppers — occasionally takes a backseat to the scene.

“Who’s wearing what is very nearly as important as who’s playing on stage,” says Wendy Lauria, Executive Director, Brand Development & Marketing for Harper's Bazaar, who’s hosting several events at the Parker Palm Springs.

Here’s what everyone will be texting, talking , and tweeting about in the desert. My pop-up feed @CoachellaParty will have real-time coverage.

Friday, April 12

What You Call It: Harper’s Bazaar

Actual Title: ShopBazaar Poolside Fete (*New*)

Gene Autry Pool at the Parker Palm Springs, 4200 E. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs

“For years, Bazaar has celebrated the chic street-style looks as seen on the festival grounds,” Bazaar’s Lauria says.

After a successful run at Art Basel in Miami in December, Bazaar again ports their content and retail portal offline. In-person consultations tied to cocktails and fashion with Bazaar editors take over the Parker.

Host of the Palm Springs Film Festival’s star-packed after party, the Parker is arguably one of the two glam destinations in the 909 — with the Viceroy being the other — albeit one of the furthest from the polo grounds. For its audience, that’s likely an advantage.

Mia Moretti spins the Friday afternoon poolside soiree. On Saturday, there will be manicures all day, and a “braid bar” all weekend for a new (hopefully regret-free) “festival-favorite” hairstyle. 

What You Call it: The Hard Rock 

Actual Billing: Hard Rock Hotel's Hard Rock Music Lounge (*New*)

150 S. Indian Canyon Dr., Palm Springs 

Friday-Sunday, 12p.m.-8p.m. (Various Events)

The Hard Rock Hotel is coming to Palm Springs permanently this December, taking over the Hotel Zoso. For this weekend, get a sneak peek at what’s in store of the brand best known to L.A. audiences from its peak in Vegas (late ’90s/early 2000s) and more recently San Diego, where it always hosts a few choice Comic Con events.

The hotel contains 160 rooms, and many of them will be stocked with media and talent in Palm Springs. BMFMedia, the group behind festival activations from SXSW to Sundance and even the Chilean version of Lollapalooza  (the weekend before Coachella in Santiago) are steering the ship.

This is one of the only events with a concert performer attached: Friday night’s headliners Blur host their after-party here.

What You Call It: The Saguaro

Actual Billing: dF and Hello Stranger Present the Saguaro Desert Weekender Pool Parties

Saguaro Hotel, 1800 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs

Friday-Sunday, 1p.m.-7p.m.

Inside the color saturated hotel where rates jump from $299 to $599 for the big weekend, Microsoft’s invite-only revelry clocks in its fashion footprint with Swatch, Forever 21 and Revolve Clothing. DJ’s Sky Ferreira and Rick Rude spin. On the list: Ke$ha and the DJ who blogs as well as he spins, A-Trak.

What You Call It: Details

Actual Billing: Details @ Midnight presented by Hennessy VS

Friday, 10 p.m. (Private Residence)

Nas, who performs at Lollapalooza Chile days earlier, is “hosting” and not technically performing. The invite promises “surprise performances,” so the guy who also played Sundance this year may grab the mic.

One thing that is certain: Hennessy only pours Hennessy at their parties, so don't come looking for a vodka-Redbull.

Another Details staple: Forgiving lenses on their photobooths.

What You Call It: SBE or Wynn

Actual Billing: Sahara Parties at the Renaissance Esmerelda Resort (*New*)

Renaissance Esmerelda Resort, 44-400 Indian Wells Lane, Indian Wells

Friday night- Sunday afternoon

Sam Nazarian and Steve Wynn team up, and packages are for sale to the general public.

LA’s hospitality heavyweight and its Vegas counterpart tag-team the weekend in two halves. Friday night and Saturday day, it’s SBE’s turn. Greystone Manor handles after-hours on Friday and the famed champagne spraying idiocy of XIV Summer Sessions touches down on Saturday, a day earlier than its usual Sunday timeslot back in LA.

Saturday night belongs to Wynn’s Las Vegas nightclubs XS and Tryst, with Sunday daytime flipping to the clubs’ dayclub counterparts, Surrender and Encore Beach.

Saturday, April 13

What You Call It: H&M

Actual Billing: H&M Loves Music (*New*)

Saturday, 12PM-4PM, Merv Griffin Estate

What’s more obscure than a fully charged cell phone at Coachella? An officially accredited event. As the fashion retailer is an official festival sponsor, H&M’s takeover of the Merv Griffin Estate for 300 guests is fully credentialed on Saturday afternoon.

Santigold and LA event staple Michelle Pesce up the industry authority, in addition to the clubby friends-and-family feel at this one. Moguls-in-training will enjoy window shopping the grounds, which includes a lake and horse stables.

What You Call It: Lacoste

Actual Billing: Lacoste Live Desert Pool Party

Saturday and Sunday,1PM-6PM, Estate at 82-820 54th Ave. Look for the line.

Here, the crocs are not the unisex, friend-repellant plastic footwear.

It’s the fourth year of this oasis within walking distance of the festival, but a bigger anniversary for the brand. “We’re going all out to celebrate our 80th anniversary,” says Emily Coppock, Lacoste’s Marketing VP.

One “all-out”: Guests can take a turn at a gun turret shooting tennis paint balls at a giant shirt, the “Polo Gigante.” Fiji water is freezing itself, doling out snowcones.

What You Call It: The Mirage or Volt Valley

Actual Billing: Night Vision Entertainment and Chevrolet present Volt Valley at The Mirage featuring Bagatelle Beach. (*Winner – Most Ridiculous Title*)

Saturday and Sunday, 12 p.m.- 6 p.m. Skipping distance from the concert.

A menu whose length rivals Jerry's Deli awaits.

Hot air balloon rides with views in to the festival itself (including airborne Patron shots), a zip line over a lake, and a beach paired with an igloo — “Volt Valley” is going for degree-of-difficulty points.

“It’s not like going to a gifting suite and getting brands pushed in your face,” producer Brett Hyman of Night Vision entertainment tells TheWrap. “That’s the last thing we want,” Hyman says of the Chevy-heavy event. “We want it to feel authentic and organic.”

Granted, they’re floating a Volt in the lake, but that’s small compared to creating Seth MacFarlane‘s 70-piece live orchestra post-Oscars gala in February.

Going up on a 10-acre ranch looking over the shoulder of the festival — a virgin venue that’s never before been Coachelli-fied — Hyman says he’s already “raised eyebrows” from festival producers AEG.

“I have an email from AEG/Goldenvoice to one of the main guys at GM saying, ‘Hey guys, we’d love you to be a partner over here instead of over at your own event. Feel free to give us a call for 2014.'”

“We'd love artists to use this as a green room, get prepared,” Hyman says

With hot temperatures expected, the best preparation will be eating and hydration. Bagatelle Brunch, imported from La Cienega to Indio, is anchoring the nutrition. 

What You Call It/Actual Billing: The Guess Hotel

Saturday and Sunday, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. Viceroy Hotel, 415 S Belardo Rd  Palm Springs, CA 

“The Guess Hotel,” which has floated between venues over the years, moves to the Viceroy. Expect lots of talent staying on-property.

Left, Vanessa Hudgens auditioned headwear last year that was less iconic than Harmony Korine‘s pink ski masks from “Spring Breakers.”





What You Call It: Neon Carnival

Actual Billing: A|X Armani Exchange Neon Carnival

Saturday, 11 p.m. -3 a.m., Tradition Aviation, 56850 Higgins Dr., Thermal

This is the crown jewel of Coachella parties, with carnival rides, games, an outdoor dance floor on a private airport tarmac, and thousands of industry faces from stylists, agents, the entire publicity community and a few finance types. 

Last year, prolific producer Brent Bolthouse called it the favorite event he’s ever done.  This year, there will be some new rides and a huge LED wall behind the DJ booth.

Insider Tip: Get pre-checked in with a wrist band in advance. Bolthouse tells TheWrap they are improving the maddeningly disorganized arrival process (with thousands of RSVP guests and many just showing up and hoping) by banding 1,000 VIPs before the event.

“The Voice” judge Usher and Kellan Lutz are practically on the credit block as annual regulars, as is host AX’s launching a neon accessory with a push. This year, it’s a Color Flash watch and glasses.

Unofficial cabbies wait outside offering $600 rides back to L.A.


What You Call It: The Thursday Night Party

Actual Billing: Filter Magazine’s Yacht Club Kick Off Events

Thursday April 11 and April 18; 8 p.m. – 1 a.m.

The people who should be least likely to support festival distractions again go it alone, proving their indie cred. Filter Magazine braves Thursday night solo, and repeats their pre-party again on the music-only second weekend (Thursday, April 18) with their 11th annual Yacht Party.

Following form with everyone else though, they have a fashion sponsor: a lingerie brand from American Eagle called “Aerie.” 

Also, McDonalds is partnering with L.A. nightspot Bootsy Bellows for a pop-up, Guess is counter-programming the Neon Carnival with an “after-dark” party heavy on EDM, and Kari Feinstein is taking her swag lounge on the road in a mobile bus.