Saturday, May 25, 2024

Coachella Day 1 Recap: Lana Del Ray Headlines, Shakira Pops Up For A Surprise Set And More

25 years after its debut, the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival comes back to the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California. The festival lasts for two weekends every April, featuring established acts across all music genres. There are also specially created art installations, food and drinks vendors, and other unique attractions. The festival has over 100,000 attendees each weekend. 

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

We started the day on Friday arriving at the Indio Polo fields for Coachella 2024 around 12:45 p.m. Gates were supposed to open at 1:00 p.m. but were delayed about 20 minutes as attendees lined up to run into the festival. Usually early arrival fans are headed to buy coveted Coachella merchandise or to get on the rail at the main stage to start the long wait for their favorite headlining artists each day.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

The festival temps reached the upper 80’s with bright sunshine all day for a beautiful opening to one of the most popular festivals in the world.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Our first shoot of the day was late night drive home at the Sonora stage. The Sonora stage is typically where rock and alternative music fans can catch some of the newest acts and this year was no exception starting with this band from a small town outside of El Paso, Texas. The 4-piece indie rock band performed some singles and songs from their EP including top songs “Euphoria” and “Stress Relief.” 

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Sid Sriram is a musician and producer who took over the Gobi stage at 4:20 p.m. Sid is an Indian R&B and Carnatic musician who moved to California as a child but now resides in South India. This was his first time performing at Coachella. In his laid-back outfit, Sid performed “Do The Dance” from his album Sidharth, and sang a Tamil song, “Kannalanae,” from the movie Bombay.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Rolling Stone cover star Young Miko was the first rapper to take the main stage at Coachella 2024. This was the Puerto Rican artist’s debut at Coachella. She wore a colorful tie-dye tank top and denim shorts as she jammed out with her fans on her boom box inspired stage. Young Miko kept the crowd going with 16 songs, beginning with her Platinum song, “Lisa” and singing songs like her cover of “FINA” by Bad Bunny and “Tempo,” her collaboration with Marshmello.  

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

French recording artists L’Impératrice are always a treat to see live with their colorful stage performance and this weekend was no exception. They came out onto the outdoor stage in futuristic costumes that highlighted their new album Pulsar set to release on June 7th.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Sabrina Carpenter took the stage for a sunset set. Her set was an eye catching giant blue Motel with a car crashing into the front. Sabrina entered from the top of the stage sitting on a giant heart shaped neon sign. The new sexy vibe Sabrina was sending out was advertised on giant billboards leading into Indio from LA. She sang her new single “Espresso” and finished out with her signature song, “Nonsense.” She even gave her beau, Barry Kogan, a flirty wave during her set as he watched her set. 

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Brittany Howard reminded us soulful music still has a place at Coachella as she performed in the Gobi tent. Brittany took the stage in a beautiful rainbow-colored sequined caftan and belted out 12 songs during her 45-minute set. This five-time Grammy winner dazzled the audience with her No.1 hit, “Stay High.”

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Next door in Mojave, R&B hitmaker Tinashe performed in a classy and cool all white outfit and danced along with backup dancers for a fun late afternoon performance for fans. During her 16-song set, the Pasadena native debuted her new single “Nasty” and brought her high-energy vibes to the crowd. 

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Lil Uzi Vert took over the Coachella stage for a very Uzi set dressed in red sunglasses, black pants and a flowy white blouse and bright red hair on a set built of giant scaffolding in front of colorful LED screens. Uzi sang over a dozen of their hit songs including “XO TOUR Llif3” and a snippet of their new song “Get Neeky.”

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

The Sahara stage was moved further out this year to make space for the new addition of the second EDM Quasar Stage but we made the long trek out to see special performances throughout the weekend.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Argentinian DJ Bizarrap brought one of the biggest surprises to Coachella 2024 by having pop icon Shakira to join him on stage for her hit “La Fuerte.” Shakira delivered a two-song electric performance with her signature dance moves at the Sahara stage. This was a special highlight for me because I had never seen Shakira perform live.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

The two also announced a world tour entitled Shakira Las Mujeres Ya No Lloran World Tour during the performance. Her Coachella performance acted as a formal kickoff to the world tour. 

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Bizarrap concluded the set by saying “Thanks everyone for being here with me tonight, it’s the first time we’re here in Coachella and to be here with my Argentinian flag is a huge honor.”

One of the most highly anticipated sets of the weekend was from Mexican artist Peso Pluma. He did not disappoint taking the main stage with a full mariachi band to accompany his performance. He started the performance in a black stocking mask to cover his face while dancing across the stage with a team of backup dancers. 

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

By the third song “Nueva vida,” the mask was gone to reveal his face and perform his 65-minute set. During the energetic set, Peso Pluma displayed news headlines on the screen behind him, highlighting his controversial relationship with Mexico’s drug trade. He also brought out guest singers Becky G and Junior H. 

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Hatsune Miku was an act that was highly publicized before the weekend of shows as a hologram performance. When we arrived at the festival we were told that this set was closed to press but I went over to check it out, only to find that there was no hologram, only a huge TV screen showing a cartoon performance on the stage in the Mojave tent which was a disappointment to fans.

DoLab’s special guest at 10:20 p.m. was DJ Pee .Wee, the vinyl DJ alias of prolific rapper and singer-songwriter Anderson .Paak, played a headlining surprise set to close the night. He also brought out surprise guests of his own including Cordae, Freddie Gibbs, and MARIO.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

K-pop band ATEEZ took over the Sahara with their boy-band good looks and choreographed dance moves on Friday night. Fans came from all over the world to see the K-Pop acts that were featured all throughout the festival weekend. The group delivered an electric performance with essential songs such as their rock version of “Guerilla” and ending with their most streamed song, “Wonderland.” 

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Lana Del Rey closed out the first night of Coachella 2024 as the headliner. The main stage showed an aerial view of Lana riding in on a motorcycle with a motorcade following behind her. The stage was set as a beautifully overgrown and run-down mansion, with Lana center stage in a sparkling blue dress. She performed “Ride” swaying on a suspended circular ring covered in leaves.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

During her extended version of “Candy Necklace,” Lana was joined on stage by Jon Batiste on piano. Lana also brought out surprise guest Billie Elish, Coachella’s 2022 headliner, to sing Billie’s song “Ocean Eyes” and the Born To Die classic, “Video Games.” The most memorable part of her performance was her hologram rendition of “Hope Is a Dangerous Thing for a Woman Like Me to Have – but I Have It” accompanied by co-producer and close friend Jack Antonoff on piano.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Overall it was a great first day at the festival with much more to come. Stay tuned for our Day 2 and Day 3 recaps.

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Amy Harris
Amy Harris is a writer and photographer who has been traveling for 20 years and flown over 2 million miles to visit over 80 countries on 6 continents. She is a freelance photographer for Invision by Associated Press, AP Images and Rex/Shutterstock. Her work can be seen in various publications and websites including: Rolling Stone, AP Images, National Geographic Books, Fodor’s Travel Guides, Forbes.com, Lonely Planet Travel Guides, JetStar magazine, and Delta Sky Magazine.

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