Coachella: Three Delightful Days In The Desert Versus Two Hours Of Madonna

“There are so many compartments of great music. What if “electronic” is your thing? There’s always Moby, the great DJ at the forefront of the movement from the early 1990’s. If you weren’t even on the planet then perhaps you would be a fan of electronic sub-genre “break-beat” producers C2C. We may dissect further and head to the YUMA stage and spend some time with the mellower “house” DJ Maya Jane Coles. Ms. Coles obviously has a giant if not idiosyncratic following, if judged on nothing else than her U-Tube video which has garnered well over a million views……..but no way could she fill the Staples Center. If we have a look on her website and review her upcoming “gigs”, she is a peripatetic scouring the globe on the club circuit. She will ply her trade at the Sub Club in Glasgow and the very next day paly the Liquid Room in Edinburgh before hopping a plane for the 700 seat capacity Goa Club in Rome.”

Richard: Thanks for your time Doug.

All this said, festivals of 2013 are a far cry from the chaos of upstate New York in 1969. For all the great music, much of the spontaneity is gone. Corporate sponsors have invaded the tranquility. Heineken, Play Station, Red Bull and H&M hand over millions and provide big chunks of the festival revenue. Grounds are carefully manicured, schedules are tightly adhered to on stages with the highest of high tech sound systems. When the last note is struck tonight, preparations will be underway for next year. Despite this loss of the extemporaneous, Coachella remains the big concert draw and one of the great social gatherings of Southern California.

But are there perhaps some chinks appearing in this impregnable suit of armor?  In a late January 2013 interview, Los Angeles Huff Post music editor Sasha Bronner spoke of fan disenchantment with the announced upcoming festival lineup. Apparently the swirling rumor was that it would be The Rolling Stones that would be the Friday night opening weekend headliner. It seems a great oxymoron the power and aura the “old” still commands. After all, the new is supposed to push aside the old, isn’t it?  The collective yawn was loud as The Red Hot Chile Peppers captured a top billing for a third return visit. Really, again…..that’s the best they can do. Stone Roses were clearly the wrong “stones” and greeted with equal ambivalence.  Despite the grumbling, Coachella was a sellout as usual. I wonder why some bigger top names didn’t make the docket call this year. Were negotiations held up over pecuniary considerations? Is Coachella starting to lose a tiny edge to other festivals? The festival concept has traveled around the world with lots of intermittent stops to be where it is today.  It’s best not to let a little hubris be your downfall.