Coachella to Feature New Amenities On Site, New Brands for Parties Off Site

By Alesandra Dubin April 18, 2008, 3:40 PM EDT

The crowded festival grounds in 2007

Photo: BizBash

Next weekend, many of the Los Angeles residents who fall into a certain demographic (loosely defined as young and music-minded, most with hipster affiliations and some disposable income), will flee the city for the desert in the annual pilgrimage known as the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

The festival at the Empire Polo Field, which noticeably works to reinvent itself annually, will bring with it some first-time initiatives (not to mention the last-minute add of Prince to the lineup). New for this year will be an expanded lobby area at the entrance, which will offer lockers, vendors, restrooms, and water fountains; the area will leave more room on the main polo field for people to mingle, as the space has become increasingly crowded. Also new: Coachella will offer fancy camping packages—tent options including beds, a breakfast buffet, and even air conditioning against the desert heat. Also, as we already reported, festival organizer Goldenvoice has partnered with Amtrak on a shuttle for campers between L.A. and Indio, one of many environmentally friendly projects underway for the festival.

The Do Lab, the artists' collective that creates the large-scale installations on the polo field, has been working in its downtown L.A. shop for six weeks on an installation that will include 35 pieces, ranging in height this year to 30 feet, to include more water and misting features than in any year past. “For the most part, Goldenvoice just wants us to blow people away,” said the Do Lab's Jesse Flemming, whose budget from Goldenvoice has grown each of the four years he's worked on the project. “They want something that no festival has.”

As for the proliferation of parties that the festival has spawned, they'll be back this year, but the hosting brands have largely rotated. T-Mobile will have a presence for the first time at a private airport hangar near the polo field for a party on Saturday night. DJs AM, Steve Aoki, and Danny Masterson will spin at the event, where guests can customize their Sidekicks at an etching bar before facing off with friends at the Ping-Pong tables or at stations featuring PlayStation's new karaoke-ish game “SingStar."  Bolthouse Productions/SBE is producing the event (which got a mention on a recent episode of The Hills, on which one of the characters works for the production company). In addition to Saturday evening’s event, T-Mobile Sidekick will also host a three-day hospitality suite for celebrities and V.I.P. guests at La Quinta Resort & Club.

GQ will host a three-day event series at the Viceroy, with the Gap as the official sponsor. The series will feature both day and evening events, with DJs, poolside parties, and gift bungalows from the Gap. Vanessa Fontanez is working on the events for the magazine.

And Anthem magazine, which hosts the party that has collected the most buzz among the American Apparel-wearing set in recent years, will take its party to a private home with an invitation that promises “largest private pool in the desert with swim-up bar, Levi's 501 happy hour giveaways, complimentary bar and fiesta BBQ, inflatable pool toy insanity, mani and pedi station, photo booth memories, and lots of other games and random weirdness.” Anthem publisher Andreas Herr, who is working with Evolutionary Media Group this year on publicity, expects about 1,500 guests over two days.

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