By Camryn McLen
After two years of postponement due to the pandemic, the Coachella Valley Music Festival, held in Indio, California, finally made its return.
I bought a ticket with my friend a few months after the festival took place in 2019, excited that I’d be going again in 2020, but little did I know that wasn’t going to happen.
The festival was supposed to take place in April 2020 but was canceled in March due to the lockdown. Goldenvoice, the company that puts on the event annually, rescheduled Coachella to October 2020 but that was also postponed as the pandemic continued.
Now in 2022, after a long awaited return, Coachella finally took place April 15-17 and April 22-24. I was able to attend after they honored the same tickets people bought for the 2020 dates.
Leading up to the festival, I was nervous because finding a place to stay was going to be hard and not to mention very expensive. I was planning on going with a friend, however, we considered selling our tickets at one point.
Then the lineup was revealed in January, which made me quickly change my mind after seeing who would be headlining.
Harry Styles would headline on both Fridays, Billie Eilish on both Saturdays and Swedish House Mafia and The Weeknd on both Sundays. Other performers listed also convinced me that I would regret selling my ticket and made me excited for the festival.
When my friend and I made it to the festival for the first weekend, it felt so good to finally be back.
Though it was extra hot and abnormally windy, the environment made up for it just knowing we’d be able to see the artists we’ve been waiting for as well as enjoying the experience of just being there.
On Friday, we didn’t have a full idea of what to expect, but it exceeded our expectations. Because we filled our time taking a lot of pictures, we only saw three artists on Friday but it was worth it nonetheless.
First we saw the City Girls, whose performance put everyone in the crowd in a good mood. The City Girls’ energy was contagious, and their performance was better than I thought it would be.
After we left the stage where the City Girls performed, we stopped for a minute to figure out what we wanted to do next because the next performance wasn’t for another few hours. As we were looking around, I spotted someone who looked familiar. When I got a better look, I became really excited because I realized it was someone from Love Island UK, which I am obsessed with.
It was Millie Court, one half of the 2021 winning couple. I walked up to her and asked if I could take a picture, and I don’t think I’ve met anyone as sweet and kind as she is. We made a little conversation and took some pictures. After that, I thought the night couldn’t get any better.
We wanted to get to the main stage early, where Harry Styles would be performing, so that we could get a good spot. Although there was someone before him, we decided to stay and watch, and I’m so glad that we did.
Daniel Caesar was performing right before the headliner and though I haven’t heard a lot of his songs, his set made me want to listen to him more. He was telling the crowd how excited he was to be there and to be back on stage after a rough few years.
Toward the end of his performance, Caesar brought out Justin Bieber for his song “Peaches,” which Caesar is featured on. The crowd got even louder when he appeared and I can’t even lie, the 11-year-old Camryn was really excited to see him perform.
Once Harry Styles came on stage, the crowd got even tighter, and it was really hard to move. I can’t say that it wasn’t worth it because the performance was one of the best I’ve seen.
I was one of those annoying One Direction fangirls, so I was on the verge of tears when I realized I would be seeing Harry Styles perform again since the One Direction concert I went to back in 2015.
He started out his set with his newest song “As it Was” and later in the performance he played two new songs from his upcoming album, and it made me even more eager for him to release it. To everyone’s surprise, he brought out Shania Twain and together they sang two of her songs, “Man! I Feel Like A Woman!” and “You’re Still the One.”
That was our last performance for the night before we would see more of our favorite artists the following day.
On Saturday, we decided to go to the festival in the evening since we were mainly interested in the acts that would be performed later in the day.
First we saw Flume, which I enjoyed more than I thought I would considering I didn’t listen to him all that much.
After Flume, we pushed our way through the crowd for what would be my favorite act and performance of the night, Megan Thee Stallion. She was one of the artists I was most excited to see after I first saw the lineup, and there was no way I was going to miss her.
Just as I predicted, her performance exceeded my expectations. The minute she stepped foot on stage, I knew I had to go to another concert of hers in the future.
She sang an unreleased song as well as a variety of songs she’s released since she started her career, including “Big Ole Freak,” “Hot Girl Summer” and “Cry Baby.”
The next performance was Billie Eilish, the headliner of the night. I listen to some of her songs but I wouldn’t say I’m a fangirl when it comes to her.
I didn’t think I was going to enjoy her performance as much as I did because I didn’t know all of her songs, but it was really entertaining. She was kind and down to earth when she spoke to the crowd. Like Harry Styles, Eilish brought a guest, two actually, Khalid and Gorillaz.
With Khalid, she sang their song “Lovely” and with Gorillaz she sang their song “Feel Good Inc.”
Sunday was probably our shortest day because it was the hottest day of the weekend and there was really only one person we were most interested in seeing anyway, Doja Cat.
I wanted a good spot to see Doja Cat, so we decided to get as close as we could before she came on, even if we had to watch another performance.
The artist before her was Karol G. I’ve heard of her before, but I’ve never searched for her music or streamed it. I wasn’t excited at first because I had never really listened to her, but shockingly I enjoyed it. It was nice to hear songs that I wasn’t familiar with, it was a new experience.
Although I wanted to remain in that same spot for Doja Cat’s performance, the crowd seemed even tighter than it did for the other performances and my friend and I were both uncomfortable. Unfortunately, we decided to move and just watch her from the back of the crowd.
We didn’t stay for the whole performance because we wanted to buy merch and the line was long (we ended up waiting for over an hour). Luckily, I was able to hear a few of my favorite songs by her including “Rules” and “Shine.” She also brought out two guests, Rico Nasty and Tyga.
Once the night ended, I was sad that the weekend was over. It felt like it went by so quickly, though during the three days, each day felt like it went by slowly.
Despite the annoying weather and the amount of dust, dirt and smoke people inhaled, I would say overall I had a really good experience and I was glad I could finally go back after three years.