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20 Years in the Desert

The past 2020 was a difficult year for everyone and it was also for those of us who are used to going to concerts and festivals. If you miss live events, we recommend the documentary “Coachella: 20 years in the desert,” which is available for free on YouTube.

The documentary, released in April 2020, is divided into 5 chapters and tells in just over an hour and a half how Coachella went from being an emerging event to becoming one of the most important music festivals in the world.

The origins of the festival date back to 1993 when Pearl Jam first performed a concert at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California in response to their well-known dispute with Ticketmaster. This concert testified that large-scale concerts were possible in this remote city in the middle of the desert.

It took six more years for the Coachella Festival to take its first steps, at a time when mass festivals did not have a good reputation, after the chaos that occurred at Woodstock 1999 only 3 months before the start of this nascent adventure.

In that first edition, artists like; Beck, Tool, Rage Against the Machine, Chemical Brothers, Morrissey and Underworld, however, would be far from a financial success.

After not taking place in 2000, Coachella would return in April 2001 in a one-day format in search of being able to keep the project alive. But this would not be easy since not having a confirmed main act made the festival unviable. That is why Goldenvoice had to turn to Perry Farell, an old friend of the producer who would reunite his old band, Jane’s Addiction to save the event.

Despite being able to carry out the festival after a year of « rest, » financial pressures did not cease to afflict Goldenvoice, who in 2001 would be forced to sell the company to Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG).

Although it did not become an immediate success, as the years passed, the festival began to attract more and better acts. They also specialized in mixing rock, electronic, and hip hop bands in one festival, something that was not so common in the United States in the early 2000s.

Another element that characterized the festival were the meetings of groups such as the aforementioned Jane’s Addiction (2001), Siouxsie and the Banshees (2002), Iggy Pop and the Stooges (2003), Bauhaus (2005), Faith No More (2010) , among others.

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Similarly as the festival grew in popularity, the promoter was able to hire increasingly important acts such as; Paul Mc Cartney, Madonna, The Cure, Guns n Roses, AC / DC, Prince, Roger Waters, Pixies, Radiohead, Depeche Mode, Daft Punk, Blur, Stone Roses, etc.

Also, the documentary makes an account of memorable presentations during the festival, such as the Daft Punk show (remembered by many as a historical event in the life of the festival), in which with its pyramid-shaped stage they captivated a large part of the 120,000 people who attended that year.

Another outstanding participation was the hologram of Tupac Shakur, during the presentation of Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre, which left many surprised after seeing the Oakland rapper on stage, 16 years after his death.

Stories about complicated artists like Kanye West, who wanted to build a giant dome in the middle of the festival (to which the organizers refused) were also not left out.

Despite the refusal, West’s participation would be carried out allowing the first public function of his « Sunday Service » to be held in the festival’s camping area.

Finally, and without being exhaustive, the documentary, Coachella: 20 Years in the Desert, recounts the most relevant of the different stages of the festival and shows how it has evolved over time, adapting in a very good way to the different cultural and musical changes of the moment, but always without losing its essence.

Coachella: 20 Years in the Desert is now available YouTube.

Coachella: 20 years in the desert

Pablo Riquelme I am a fan of sports, music, LEGO and technology / innovation. I collaborate in TrendWatching, TrendHunter, BusinessofPurpose, VivaBasquet and now in Cine PREMIERE. I’m a series eater and I will always find an episode of The Simpsons that is related to something that is happening in the world.