Coachella 2022 is very fun, eventful

My experience at weekend one


Modesty Manion

The Coachella Music Festival in Indio, California is a 3-day event of concerts, art and fashion. I was lucky enough to attend weekend one this year. The festival grounds are huge, and the headlining acts were Harry Styles, Billie Eilish, The Weeknd and Swedish House Mafia. 

I went to weekend one with two of my cousins. On the first day, we were overwhelmed by the sheer amount of people at the festival. Once we got past security, we went straight to the merch tent, but the line was about three hours long. The headliners all had their own merch tents, so I was able to get Harry Styles merch right away. We got a locker to put our bulky items in, which was an absolute necessity. 

The first day we saw the Regrettes, Still Woozy, the Marias, Lil Baby, Phoebe Bridgers and Harry Styles. The Regrettes and Still Woozy were really fun and upbeat shows to start the festival off with. Phoebe performed a new song, which was really moving to hear for the first time. Before Harry went on the Coachella Stage, we caught a glimpse of Daniel Caesar and Justin Bieber, which was a big surprise. 

At almost every show, we were surrounded by people smoking and vaping, making it very hard to breathe. This wound up being a regular thing at Coachella. Drugs are not allowed, but cigarettes and vape pens are, so a lot of people were utilizing this. This, combined with all the dust that was kicked up into the air created an incredibly asthmatic environment. As I write this, my throat still hurts because of the air quality. 

As for food, we got loaded tater tots for lunch and nachos for dinner. All the food was incredibly overpriced, but we were not allowed to bring food in. Throughout the weekend, we got everything from pizza, to blue coffee, to stir fry, to ice cream. We tried to eat healthier breakfasts before we left to make up for all the junk food. One of my cousins wound up getting food poisoning, so she had to leave early. 

My other cousin and I stayed for Harry Styles, who brought Shania Twain out as a special guest. He also debuted two new songs off his upcoming album, “Harry’s House.” It was definitely worth staying until the whole time, but the shuttle line afterwards was incredibly long. We got to the festival grounds around 12 p.m. the first day, and didn’t get home until 3 a.m. We decided that days two and three of our Coachella experience were to be more chill and flexible. 

On Saturday, we slept in, and didn’t leave until around 3 p.m. That day, we saw Disclosure, Brockhampton, Megan Thee Stallion and Stromae. Brockhampton was really fun, as their two Coachella shows are to be the group’s last. Onstage, they had a huge blue blow-up gorilla that seemed to nod along to the music, which gave the show a great vibe. Megan did a great show, but she had a few outfit changes that left gaps in her set. Stromae was probably my favorite of the day, because I’ve been listening to his music since I was a kid. He’s Belgian, but he sings in French, and he doesn’t make many appearances in the States. The headliner for Saturday was Billie Eilish, who we stayed for a few songs of. Because we didn’t stay the whole time, we saw a vast difference in the wait time for the shuttles home. 

On Sunday, we saw Maggie Rogers, Karol G, Joji, Doja Cat and Swedish House Mafia. Maggie Rogers had an incredible set, as she always does. I felt like I was in a coming-of-age movie as the concert went on. Karol G brought out Becky G, which was definitely a pleasant surprise. Joji’s performance was very… interesting. 

Joji makes relatively relaxed music, so when we scream-sang his first three songs, we were a bit thrown off. But when he walked off stage for around 15 minutes, then returned and continued his set with seemingly no explanation, we were very confused. According to various sources, the singer has a neurological disorder, and has a stress-induced seizure while performing. Many fans were mad at the Coachella franchise for having Joji perform when it was known that he might have issues while performing. 

Doja Cat was probably one of my three favorite acts. Not only are her songs and stage presence impeccable, but her transformation of her songs onstage was truly astounding. Doja Cat’s music is a mixture of pop and rap, but at Coachella, she incorporated wild drum solos and heavy metal-sounding guitar to create a very different but cool sound. 

Originally, Kanye West was supposed to headline on Sunday. But amid his recent social media outbursts, he pulled out and was replaced by Swedish House Mafia and The Weeknd. We thought that because there were two headliners rather than one, they would somehow combine the music of both artists for the final show. However, it started with only Swedish House Mafia, 45 minutes after it was supposed to. Swedish House Mafia is a group that makes electronic house music. Surprisingly, for a Coachella headlining act, their music was not especially unique or amazing. They played for the first hour, then the Weeknd came on by himself for about 15 minutes. We left after the first SHM song, because we were not planning on waiting in the shuttle lines again. On the walk back to where we were staying, we watched the Weeknd’s performance through a Youtube live stream. 

Overall, my first Coachella was definitely a learning experience, but it was also a fun and freeing weekend. Between once-in-a-lifetime concerts, overpriced food, beautiful sights and long lines, Coachella is something I will never forget.