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“Youth must be served”: Diverse, green Coachella draws positive reaction

After a stormy start, the second weekend of the 2018 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival received a favourable reaction from the nearly 125,000 people on site, according to local media, with music fans responding positively to bookers’ hip hop-heavy, youth-focused programming.

Promoted by AEG’s Goldenvoice, Coachella – which traditionally marks the beginning of the international festival season – returned to the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California for its 19th outing on 13–15 April and 20–22 April, with the Weeknd, Beyoncé and Eminem headlining.

Coachella weekend two got underway on Friday morning (20 April), after revellers were turned away from campsites on Thursday evening owing to intense winds. (Many camped out in the car park of Indio’s Walmart, holding a mini festival of their own,‘Walmart-chella’.)

Coachella has been split into two weekends since 2012, and while there are only minor differences in the music at each (mainly when it comes to special appearances), weekend two is widely regarded as the quieter of the two, with fewer celebrities flaunting their outfits for the ’gram and arguably more ‘real’ music fans, along with an increased number of industry guests.

Headliner Beyoncé largely repeated her performance from the first weekend, once again ‘turning Coachella into Beychella’ with the help of her former Destiny’s Child bandmates, although Japanese rock act X Japan simultaneously gave a strong performance in the Mojave tent, joined by special guest Marilyn Manson.

Temperatures were also higher for Coachella 2018’s second outing, reaching more than 90°F (33°C) compared to the low to mid-80s the previous weekend.

Following AEG UK’s events in banning plastic straws, the festival additionally notable for its ban on single-use plastic straws, phasing them out in favour of paper. “Plastic pollution is a huge problem around the world, and it’s exciting to pioneer change by phasing out the use of single-use plastics from our festivals,” says Mapi Moran, Goldenvoice’s director of festival marketing.

The eclectic line-up drew “an appreciative crowd that looks different from other years”

“Our new straw policy is estimated to eliminate about 300,000 plastic straws from Coachella and Stagecoach. We look forward to announcing similar initiatives later that go beyond just plastic straws.”

According the Desert Sun, Goldenvoice founder Gary Tovar described the audience for Coachella 2018 as a “new generation” of festivalgoers. The “youth must be served”, he said, referencing the urban-focused music line-up – which included fellow headliners Eminem and the Weeknd, along with Post Malone, Vince Staples, Tyler the Creator, Migos (pictured) and Cardi B.

And served the youth were, with the eclectic line-up drawing “an appreciative crowd that looks different from other years”, writes Desert Sun reporter Bruce Ferrier. “It seemed the diverse bands booked by Goldenvoice were attracting diverse audiences.”

“When a singer with Los Angeles Azules proclaimed, ‘We have no wall here’ in Spanish, cheers erupted from the crowd,” he continues.

“Singer Maria Conway of the Marias, dressed in a glittering gown in front of a quintet of guys wearing red suits and white open-collar shirts, mixed English and Spanish-language dream pop-rock in the Sonora tent. She noted there are 167 acts on the Coachella bill and 15 [are] Latino [or] Latino-led. ‘I’m so proud to be part of that,’ she said.”

Goldenvoice has yet to release audience figures from the festival, but CEO Paul Tollett said before the event he expects similar numbers to 2017, when all 250,000 tickets sold out, making it the highest-grossing festival in the world.

Coachella will return for its 20th-anniversary event next April.


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