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Coachella 2019: Preview the Buzziest Parties and Activations

The massive music festival will see on-site safety ambassadors, new sustainability initiatives, and a slew of high-profile parties and brand activations.

Returning this year is Spectra, the brainchild of creative studio NEWSUBSTANCE and Coachella's only resident art exhibit. The seven-story installation allows festivalgoers to climb through six spirals of color; at night, LED lighting illuminates the tower.
Returning this year is Spectra, the brainchild of creative studio NEWSUBSTANCE and Coachella's only resident art exhibit. The seven-story installation allows festivalgoers to climb through six spirals of color; at night, LED lighting illuminates the tower.
Photo: Charles Reagan Hackleman/Goldenvoice

Despite a last-minute cancellation from Saturday headliner Solange blamed on “production delays,” there’s still plenty to look forward to at this year’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Goldenvoice’s world-famous festival, which runs two consecutive weekends at the Empire Polo Club, April 12 to 14 and April 19 to 21, will see headliners Childish Gambino, Tame Impala, and Ariana Grande—plus a recently announced Easter Sunday performance from Kanye West during the second weekend. Big-name brands are also flocking to the desert, both for on-site activations at the festival and invite-only off-site parties that draw high-profile musicians and celebrities. Here are some highlights to look for this year.

On the Grounds
Organizers are taking a few major steps to improve the festival itself this year, including the new "Every One" program designed to fight sexual harassment and assault. The initiative will offer dedicated tents where attendees can meet with trained counselors, plus safety ambassadors who will monitor the grounds. The festival will also offer gender-neutral restrooms this year.

Coachella also has increased sustainability initiatives, including a series of donation centers; leftover tents, sleeping bags, blankets, and non-perishable food will be donated to the Galilee Center in Coachella Valley. An on-site “Coachella Waste Gang” will be walking the festival to show attendees how to dispose of their waste, and almost all serviceware will be compostable.

Also new this year: Attendees can pre-order food and alcohol through Postmates, available on the official festival app, and Amazon is offering same-day delivery to on-site storage lockers.

For fans who can’t make it to the desert, YouTube is amping up its live streaming efforts this year: For the first time, both weekends will be live streamed on the service. (Last year, the first weekend's live stream drew more than 41 million viewers in more than 232 countries and territories.)

Marriott Bonvoy, the hotel brand's loyalty program, is offering a variety of options for members who want an on-site glamping experience—including luxury yurts from W Hotels and safari tents (pictured) from Aloft Hotels.Marriott Bonvoy, the hotel brand's loyalty program, is offering a variety of options for members who want an on-site glamping experience—including luxury yurts from W Hotels and safari tents (pictured) from Aloft Hotels.Photo: Courtesy of Marriott

Brand Activations
On the festival grounds, there are a few things every guest wants: air conditioning, charging stations, and free Wi-Fi. A number of brands are tapping into this with on-site activations during both weekends. Absolut Planet's tent, for example, will offer photo ops, music from DJ Storm and Daisy O'Dell, and Absolut Grapefruit cocktails; MKG is handling production.

Meanwhile, Coachella wine sponsor Cupcake Wine will offer frosé drinks topped with personalized selfies, and the popular Heineken House will have performances from the Roots, De La Soul, and more. For non-alcoholic beverages, Peet's Coffee will have an on-site taproom as well as a vintage bus serving cold brew.

NYX Professional Makeup, meanwhile, is hosting what it calls an "Immersive Glitter Trip Experience"—think beauty bar with plenty of Instagrammable moments—while Calvin Klein is creating the multi-sensory #MyCalvins House. American Express's Card Member Lounge, also on festival grounds, will offer nail art, sneaker cleaning, exclusive merchandise, and a bar and lounge.

Lyft will also have a presence during both weekends, aiming to improve transportation options during the crowded festival. For drivers, the ride-sharing service will host a "driver pit stop" offering food discounts and a place to relax between rides.

Another buzzy on-site activity: the Coachella edition of roving dinner series Outstanding in the Field, available to festivalgoers with upgraded tickets. The dinners take place each night of the festival, with big-name chefs including Shirley Chung, Casey Thompson, Nyesha Arrington, and Jessica Largey on weekend one. Chefs Adam Sobel, Ray Garcia, Susan Feniger, Mary Sue Milliken, and Jason Neroni will be cooking during weekend two. 

Off-site, YSL Beauty is creating its first Coachella activation during weekend one. Located on Route 111 in nearby Cathedral City, the pop-up is designed to mimic a gas station with bright-pink gas bumps, vintage convertibles, and an eye-catching lipstick sign. A store will offer a makeup vending machine and consultations with beauty experts. Hotels in Palm Springs will be busy with a number of unofficial parties. The Hilton Palm Springs, for example, is hosting Day Club Palm Springs (pictured) over both Coachella weekends.Hotels in Palm Springs will be busy with a number of unofficial parties. The Hilton Palm Springs, for example, is hosting Day Club Palm Springs (pictured) over both Coachella weekends.Photo: Courtesy of Day Club Palm Springs

Parties
While there are no official parties associated with Coachella, fashion, media, and tech brands tend to blanket the region with pool parties and late-night blowouts, many during the buzzier first weekend—and this year is no exception. 

Arguably the most coveted after-party on the first weekend’s lineup is the 10th edition of Neon Carnival. The 8,000-attendee dance party, created by nightlife maven Brent Bolthouse, will take over HITS Desert Horse Park on April 13. The Levi's-sponsored event has a layout spanning three football fields, with carnival games, amusement park rides, a bumper car installation from sponsor Bondi Sands, and a PokĂ©mon: Detective Pikachu-theme Ferris wheel. (For the first time this year, organizers will also host a country-inspired edition during the Stagecoach Festival on April 27.) 

For the fashion set, the Revolve Festival continues to be a favorite—and continues to grow. Now in its fourth year, the invite-only event will feature a stage curated by Top Dawg Entertainment, with performances by the likes of SZA, 2 Chainz, and Rae Sremmurd. The festival, produced by the Visionary Group, takes place April 13 and 14 at a private location in La Quinta.

Revolve is also hosting a kick-off party on April 11 at the V Palm Springs Hotel, plus the Desert Nights party, a partnership with TAO Group, on April 12; Desert Nights will feature a DJ set by Chase B, plus cocktails by Casamigos Tequila, a custom activation from Al Harrington's Viola brand, and a private cognac room from Remy Martin XO.Last year's stylish Revolve Festival had a hedge maze with florals from Venus Et Fleur.Last year's stylish Revolve Festival had a hedge maze with florals from Venus Et Fleur.Photo: Hagop Kalaidjian/BFA.com

Another high-profile party is Bootsy Bellows' seventh annual pool party, presented by McDonalds and PacSun. Taking place on the sprawling Bootsy Bellows Estate in Rancho Mirage, the April 13 daytime event will include live musical performances and a pop-up restaurant.

Also taking place on a private estate is Adidas's annual athlete- and musician-focused Adidas Sports Club during weekend one. And Instagram will have its first Coachella presence this year, taking over a private location during weekend one; Instagram Desert Chill will be a photo-friendly collaboration with artist D'ana Nunez of COVL.

Hotels in nearby Palm Springs will see a slew of unofficial parties from big-name brands. Rachel Zoe and the Zoe Report will host a Saint Tropez-theme party at the Parker Palm Springs on April 12, while the Hilton Palm Springs hosts Day Club Palm Springs—a pool party featuring top international DJs—over both Coachella weekends.

Ciroc's Summer House, hosted by Evan Ross and Ashlee Simpson-Ross, will be held at the Korakia Pensione resort, while the PS Fashion Week runway shows take place at the Riviera Resort & Spa. Both events take place during weekend one. 

On April 13, Create & Cultivate is hosting a pop-up at the Ace Hotel; the daylong event will have music, food, and panel discussions from female entrepreneurs. Also at the Ace Hotel is Desert Gold, now in its 11th year. Taking place both weekends, the event offers guided meditation, live performances, a comedy night, and more.

The parties aren't all invite-only, though. During weekend one, BMW's #RoadtoCoachella initiative—in which influencers drive a fleet of custom art-wrapped cars to the festival—will host a fan party at BMW of Palm Springs that will include meet-and-greets with singer Khalid. Mirrored Media is producing. And for American Express platinum card members, the brand will host its annual Platinum House at the Avalon Palm Springs on April 13 and 14. The event will include food by chef Michael Solomonov, live DJ sets, a first look at Equinox's new recovery-driven spa experience, and more.

Look for our coverage of these events and more on BizBash.com later this month.

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