By Sofia Jones
I walked down the long dusty path, flocks of people at my side sweating in the dry heat. Fidgeting with my outfit, I briskly walked forward, imagining what the weekend ahead of me would entail. As I finally reached the entrance I could hear the loud thumping music, a spike of adrenaline pumped through me, preparing me for the atmosphere I was about to enter. It was the first weekend of Coachella, April 14-16.
Walking into the VIP lounge, (my three best friends were lucky enough to receive VIP tickets –I paid for my own,) I was greeted by an endless sea of beautiful people, tall, tan, and chiseled. A brief sense of intimidation flooded over me, but was soon relieved by the feeling of heavy bass rising into my chest, drawing me into the crowd. I walked through the mass of people, sliding in between groups of models and actors casually laughing — a picturesque scene. I reached the gates that separate the massive stages from the VIP lounge, tall white fences with men in black suits ominously gazing over everyone. All I could feel was sympathy for the poor men, as I sweat in a mesh top and light shorts. I slid my wrist band over the gate, a green light appearing, allowing me to pass.
I walked onto the open field. The first thing I saw was a massive black stage with screens and speakers that towered 80 feet high. In front of the stage were thousands of people crammed together, dancing and cheering. Girls spun around, their laughs hung on the music. Scattered around the field were massive colorful sculptures of all shapes and sizes, and people lying in the small amounts of shade available.
My friends grabbed my hand as we weaved in and out of the crowd, gripping each other in fear of separation. Colorful booths with an array of foods lined the field, extravagant ice creams, and vegan matcha smoothies were for sale, a foodie’s dream.
We lounged on the grass, absorbing the sun as a small stage in front of us featured intense electric guitar. The sun began to set, covering everything is a gentle orange glow as the celebrities emerged. Walking through the VIP center, I rubbed shoulders with The Weeknd, Selena Gomez, and Chris Evans. While in the food line for vegan ice cream, I complimented Victoria Justice on her bag, and talked to famous YouTubers about music and fashion.
Finally, the sun set and the headliners began to play. We wove our way to the front, hugging the barrier, crammed between strangers. Suddenly the screens flashed on, bright geometric shapes shifting and changing. The crowd began to scream as Kendrick Lamar walked on stage, and the giant speakers began to blast a heavy beat. The music and lights created a euphoric feeling as I jumped up and down, pouring water over my head to cool off.
When the set ended, everyone stumbled out of the crowd, a blurry delirium phasing over everyone. I began my stumble back to the car, down the long dirt path, exhaustion making my body heavy. Once I got back to the hotel I hit my bed, excited for the next day.
Photos by Sofia Jones