10 Things You Might’ve Missed at Coachella 2016

10 Things You Might’ve Missed at Coachella 2016

Every year, the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California brings a recordbreaking number of people together on the grounds of the Empire Polo Fields. If you were one of those people who couldn’t make it this year and chose to watch it on social media instead, you probably thought you saw it all. There was the N.W.A. reunion both weekends that everyone couldn’t stop talking about, the “Portals” art installation by Philip K. Smith III that ended up on nearly every attendee’s Instagram feed, and of course, the garlic crab fries.
People say that pictures are worth a thousand words, but sometimes they still don’t tell the whole story. Here’s what you might have missed while vicariously living through #Coachella2016 on Instagram:

The “Armpit” art installation

In comparison to “Portals” or Alexandre Arrechea’s bright yellow “Katrina Chairs,”  the unfinished-looking art installation “Armpit” by Latvian artists Katrīna Neiburga and Andris Eglītis stuck out like a sore thumb on the festival grounds. Even though the line to get into the installation grew long at times, it had a great view of the surrounding area — and the Coachella main stage. The piece, which was “inspired by every man who eludes his family under the guise of fixing the car or working on a project,” was a shady getaway for those looking to put the “art” back into “Coachella Music and Arts Festival.”

Beer Belly’s Rare Beer Bar

The addition of the Rare Beer Bar was a welcome respite for attendees looking for more variety in their alcoholic beverages than what Heineken and Cupcake Vineyards, Coachella’s official beer and wine sponsors, had to offer. Hard-to-find beers from all over California, as well as beer cocktails, were menu offerings for the thirsty Coachella-goers who found their way to the back of the beer garden. Synchronizing the beer set lists to correspond with the sets that ended each night was a clever finishing touch to Jimmy Han’s already novel idea.

Bernie Sanders’ surprise video introduction

Supporters of the presidential candidate were elated to witness the short introduction before Run the Jewels’ weekend one set on the main stage. A prerecorded video of Senator Sanders was projected onto the screens adjacent to the stage as he spoke to the crowd; turning his attention to Killer Mike and El-P, he then joked, “I thought the least I could do for both of you was to help you out by bringing a few young people together.” Some weekend two attendees hoped that the Democratic nominee would show up in person for weekend two, but alas, to no avail.
You can watch the introduction video here:


The singer has previously described his shows as an “emotional apex” — and the phrase perfectly described his breathtaking Coachella set in the Mojave tent. The minimalistic, no-frills stage setup allowed for Gallant to really showcase the soaring falsetto and poignant songwriting that he is known for. With his instant hit “Weight in Gold” and a surprise duet with Seal during his weekend one performance, the R&B powerhouse’s Coachella stint was truly an emotional rollercoaster. Fans who were there to witness it definitely got more than they bargained for.

Halo-halo in the VIP section

Coachella this year was easily a food blogger’s dream. With offerings like vegan buffalo cauliflower, fried pork belly chips, and burger patties topped with deep-fried potato and sandwiched between raspberry-flavored buns, Isa Fabro‘s specialty halo-halo (literally “mix-mix” in Tagalog) fit right into the festival food circuit. Made with boba, coconut milk, and soft tofu, Fabro added Fruity Pebbles and Red Bull to the concoction for a twist on a characteristic Filipino dessert drink — a refreshing way to beat the heat in the Coachella desert.

Kesha’s unexpected appearance

Kesha‘s performance during Zedd‘s set at the Outdoor stage during weekend one took everybody by surprise. “True Colors,” her song in collaboration with the DJ and her first release since 2012, was filled with lyrics like “I won’t apologize for the fire in my eyes / Let me show you my, my true colors.” The production felt like an act of defiance against Dr. Luke, the music producer she has accused of rape and emotional and verbal abuse over the years they have worked together. It was a glorious comeback to the mainstream music industry for the recording artist.

Lido’s debut album

In the days leading up to the first weekend of Coachella, Lido tweeted up a storm when he revealed that he had finished his debut album and would be playing the whole thing in its entirety during his performance at the Gobi tent. Fans of his work flocked to his set to see his story-turned-album, titled Everything, played live and were given an extra surprise when Jaden Smith was brought out to perform a pivotal song from the album.
Unfortunately, due to the fact that most of his set was unreleased music, Lido’s live stream couldn’t be posted on Coachella’s Youtube page, but you can watch his performance with Smith here:

Major Lazer

Where Jack Ü went wrong, Major Lazer did right. The “Take Ü There” duo, made up of Diplo and OWSLA founder Skrillex, played a set on the first day of the Coachella weekend that felt more like a bizarre caricature of commercialized EDM than anything else, requiring surprise guests in order to keep the performance afloat. Major Lazer, however, seemed to acknowledge the lack of substance in its set and reveled in it; people were only there to have a good time, and the trio delivered a memorable high-energy set with twerking and theatrics to spare.

Prince tributes

Upon hearing the news about the “dearly beloved” singer’s passing, the artists performing at weekend two took it upon themselves to immortalize the man in their music. From Ice Cube to Gallant to LCD Soundsystem, performers paid their respects to the late singer and added renditions of his most famous numbers to their sets. Even Goldenvoice and attendees at the festival found a way to honor Prince on the fields; the palm trees surrounding the venue were bathed in a wash of purple light all weekend, while purple flowers and ribbons adorned the structure supporting the 2008 Coachella lineup poster with his name on it at the festival entrance.


In a main stage performance that was innovative in its simplicity, Sia wowed the crowd that gathered to watch her on the final day of the Coachella weekend experience. Using artistic short films and celebrity dancers like Kristen Wiig, Tig Notaro, Paul Dano, and Maddie Ziegler to put her music instead of her persona in the limelight, she created what felt like high art in an industry where cookiecutter EDM drops and DJ worship reign supreme. Not bad for her first full performance since 2011.
Featured image © Fred von Lohmann/Flickr