Coachella 2018: Beyonce, Fleet Foxes, alt-J Reign Supreme

A full breakdown on Coachella 2018. Consistently one of the the more expensive festivals, it always delivers. 

By Croix Provence

They say that when you wander into the desert, you find nothing but mirages. On the contrary, friends: I found nothing but music, art, and fantastic memories! Maybe a few mirages here and there, but apparently that’s to be expected. Coachella Weekend 2 came and went quickly, but every moment was just as magical as the sunset over the Indio valley.

The Price

General Admission tickets this year cost guests $429, which included admission and parking. This does not take into account the cost of camping or getting a hotel, but for three days in a tropical oasis with some of the biggest names in music, you can’t really complain. Also, it’s California, so everything is more expensive from the get-go. Also also, it’s Coachella, the granddaddy of all music festivals. That being said, to the untrained eye this is a steep price for a 3-day camp out festival, but this is actually pretty fair, all things considered.

The Lineup

Here’s a recap of the lineup for this year:

Three words: Be. Yon. Cé. And good lord, Alt-J, Eminem, A Perfect Circle, ODESZA, Greta Von Fleet, Benjamin motherf*cking Clementine… This is an awesome lineup!

The Traffic

Okay, so there were definitely some issues with traffic this year. Granted, every festival has its long lines and what not, but this year was especially nasty for Coachella because of high winds. Campsites that were generally open for load-in all day and night Thursday, were not open until 3am on Friday morning. YIKES! People (like myself) came from all around the world having not heard about the camping delay, so local parking lots were flooded with festival goers who were killing hours and hours waiting to get into the festival and set up.

These things do happen, and Coachella did their darndest to inform everybody through social media, the app, and so on. Because of the time crunch, though, traffic was abysmal while trying to enter the festival, get checked, and grab a spot. A 0.5 mile drive took me over three hours, and this was once the gates had just opened, an hour and a half earlier than they were slated to. For that, I am definitely appreciative!

It wasn’t in my plans to be putting up my tent at 6am (my plans, rather, were for a 6pm set up), but it all worked out in the end. Everyone was cool and cooperative in traffic, and the staff were very helpful in guiding attendees to the right places, and moving as fast as possible, given the circumstances.

The Security

I can confidently say that nine out of the ten times that I entered or exited the festival, I was looked at, my fanny pack was looked at from the outside only, and I was told to go in. As always, this is great for people who want to sneak in illegal things (or snacks, amirite), and terrible for the rest of us when it happens to be that somebody is sneaking in a weapon or something harmful. There was one security guard who was incredibly vigilant, going so far as to squeeze out sunblock while on the hunt for drugs and alcohol. Kudos to you for the search. All of the security members were lovely and professional, which is a great change of scenery from some of the festivals I’ve been to.

The Atmosphere

Again, a great change of scenery from some of the festivals that I’ve been to. Coachella is surrounded by beautiful mountains, and boasts desert sunsets that are cry-worthy. There were some large and vivid, albeit minimally interactive art installations that were larger than life, planted all around the festival. Beautiful white picket architecture, colorful tables and benches at which to snack, and large wide spread stages. The rose gardens were lovely, and VIP was a well-shaded paradise. I do wish that there were more recreational activities in the center of Coachella, as well as more fun shopping booths, volunteer or activism booths (a la Bonnaroo), and the sort. HP hosted a unique planetarium-esque exhibit where animated movies played on the curved ceiling for 8 minutes, set to EDM artists’ music. And well, there were plenty of places for people to just take selfies, which I simply could care less about. The ferris wheel, now a staple of festivals, was certainly the nicest one I’ve seen! It had enclosed seating, rather than the traditional buckets. How fancy! And pretty much everywhere you turned, somebody was getting their photo taken (or taking their own photo) in their best weekend hippie outfit.

The Food

Such healthy options! Such expensive options! Such… options! Everything from vegan ice cream to gluten-free this to Spicy Pie that to giant smoothies to lobster rolls. There was an expansive (and expensive) variety of food at Coachella, with many options to be found in the Market under a giant shady structure. Paying $15 for vegan nachos is tough, but again, it’s the festival prices we have come to expect, plus a little extra because California does what California wants. Beyond the standard booth options, there were experiences such as Outstanding In The Field, offering incredible chef experiences for the rich and famous, and a few select pop-up restaurants. Let us not forget the endless array of beer gardens! Praise be the beer gardens!

The Potties

This was… incredible. I have never been into so many freshly cleaned porta potties in my entire festival career as I had the pleasure of entering at Coachella. Also, some small pop-up bathrooms in VIP that were enclosed, had full sinks, toilets that flush, and … air conditioning?! It’s a Christmas miracle come early!

The People

Attendees were decked out in their weekend hippie finest! Everywhere you turn, rainbow wigs, glitter, kimonos, platform shoes, fishnets, fake eyelashes, onesies, bodysuits… Everything you’ve ever seen someone post on Instagram and thought to yourself “Huh, seems like they’re trying pretty hard.” I don’t attend festivals just to say that I did, nor do I dress for the occasion, nor do I experience the entire thing through my phone for my followers, so the entire concept of this all is foreign, upsetting, and wasteful to me. And that’s fine; I can do festivals how I want to, and the rest of the world is welcome to do it how they would like to. TL;DR: I jive more with the friendly down-to-earth folks at Bonnaroo more than I did in the Coachella environment. To each their own! My campsite neighbors were perfectly lovely, and I did happen upon a pretty awesome chick at the Fleet Foxes concert. They were my saving grace.

The Shows

  1. MANY. AMAZING. SHOWS! Benjamin Clementine was one of the first of the weekend, and he opened the main stage with an electric and haunting performance of a selection of songs, climaxing with coaxing the audience into singing “Condolences” twenty times with him. He also smashed a white child mannequin off of the stage, so that spoke pretty loudly to me. Greta Von Fleet tore up the stage with their young and wild Led Zeppelin-esque presence and power. Tyler The Creator might be the angriest human being alive, but his production work was great. Fleet Foxes’ haunting harmonies were lovely as always, but were kind of lost to the huge stage and a rather lackluster lighting show.

Alt-J absolutely killed it in all aspects of performance! Their show was my personal favorite of the weekend. And while HAIM, Eminem, LP, and so many others slayed, there can be no other slayer that werked as hard as Queen B herself! Beyonce’s stage show was a force to be reckoned with. Featuring an ethnic female driven marching band, step crews, dancers, and surprise appearances from Solange, Destiny’s Child (HOLY SHIT), and others, the evening with Beyonce did not disappoint. Even her costume changes were exciting. Watching her stand there and stare out at all of us peons was exciting. The way she empowered women without deprecating men was incredible. And the fireworks throughout the show, and then capping off the performance, were the magic touch. Let me tell you three facts about Beyonce:

  1. She is an incredible dancer, singer, and performer in general.
  2. She is the most important and iconic female performer of our time.
  3. Dat ass.

All in all, the shows, stages, sound production, lighting design, and extra elements of the music side of Coachella were spot-on.

Overall: Well, now it boils down to the time when I give my rating for everything from Bad to Bad-Ass on the Croix Scale… Here we go!:

Price – Good. Lineup – Awesome. Traffic – Decent. Security – Awesome. Atmosphere – Cool. Food – Awesome. Potties – Bad-Ass!. People – Eh. Shows – Awesome. Overall – Cool

It was definitely a weekend to remember! From the raging shows to the beautiful weather to the fun people, Coachella did not disappoint. Make sure to make your way to the desert for Coachella 2019, and prepare for a cool weekend of memories!


Croix Provence, abridged: Actress. Director. Model. Singer. Rapper. Nerd. Music lover. World traveler. Comic Con freak. Follow @CroixProvence on Instagram.