Saturday, August 25, 2007

Lollapalooza vs Coachella (2007)

Coachella and Lollapalooza are two of the biggest music festivals in the US, spanning 3 days, more than 100 bands and focusing largely in alternative rock n' roll, a good amount of electronic music and a hint of hip hop. This year I attended both, so I thought I'd share my experiences.

Location

Coachella is set in the middle of a California desert, in a city named Indio, a few miles from Palm Springs and two hours by car from LA. No matter whether you camp (which I did) or you settle in a nearby hotel, there's nothing interesting around besides the festival. Also, being in a desert means two things: you'll need lots of liquid and the shows can go on longer (from noon to midnight) - there's no one to complain about the noise.

Lollapalooza is located at the Grand Park, the very center of Chicago downtown. From there, if you look East you'll see lake Michigan. If you look any other direction you'll see skyscrappers - impresssive ones. As I noted earlier, Chicago is a cool city, so there's stuff to do before and after the shows - which end around 10pm.

Crowd

In both festivals, the crowd is mainly composed of young people, most of them between their early twenties and early thirties. Everyone is either a music lover or friends with them, which is great. Coachella has a more mixed crowd (geography-wise), since no one really lives there. Lollapalooza's public (in my unscientific 10 people sample) comes mainly from Chicago - which is not a bad thing, since they seemed to be very friendly and open to conversation.

Organization

At Coachella there was a lot more pushing and trouble walking around. People at Lolla would excuse themselves through the crowd, and hardly push anyone. On top of that, there was beer everywhere, in contrast with an enclosed, crowded beer garden at Coachella. The physical disposition of the stages at Lolla is worse, though - they are placed along a strip - with the two big ones at the two opposite extremes, meaning you'd have to walk a lot to move between two mainstream concerts.

Music

Last, but not least, music.

Even having won in every other aspect, Lollapalooza lost here. Lollapalooza had amazing headlines - Daft Punk (think of lights and triangles in sync with electronic music), Muse (ending with Knights of Cydonia, thousands of people yelling "no one is going to take me alive") and Pearl Jam (with Vedder singing "Hey, Bush, leave the kids alone") - and a bunch of ok shows.

Coachella's headlines weren't so great (Bjork was for Bjork fans and RHCP was for RHCP fans), even though RAtM was perfect - fast and furious, exactly as they're supposed to be. Coachella really blew me away with their amazing selection of alternative music: Kaiser Chiefs (starting their show with an energetic "we're the world famous Kaiser Chiefs!"), Explosions in the Sky (ignoring the sun and dazzling the crowd with their guitars) and Arcade Fire (one of the best shows in my life - you should've seen the smiles on everyone's faces when they played "No Cars Go", closing a brilliant presentation - pure good music).

Overall

Coachella won because of the new music. As a music fan, I'm always happy to see new bands rising and showing how it's possible to create and inovate. Lolla was a close second, though. If you love music and you have the oportunity, I definitely recommend you to try both at some point in your life.

2 comments:

Ronaldo said...

Já tem um terceiro lugar? Meu voto vai pro Austin City Limits (www.aclfestival.com). 3 dias de shows, meia dúzia de palcos e Bob Dylan pra encerrar!
O próximo é daqui a 1 ano... dá tempo de se programar.

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