THE BLOG

Coachella 2011: Through My Lens

04/21/2011 01:25 pm ET | Updated Jun 21, 2011

Another year has come and gone and the highly anticipated Coachella has left a major footprint. As one of the most popular music festivals in the nation, along with Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza, the 12th annual Coachella Valley Music and Art Festival never seems to disappoint. Between the highly selective and obscure art installments to the intricately designed stage sets, Coachella's layout instantly puts people out of reality. Set in the scorching desert of Indio, California, 90,000 music lovers battled lines and a new security system just to attend the festival and get a glimpse of the wonderland that is Coachella. With a reputation for shooting unknown artists into the spotlight but for also having some of the most famous artists in the world, Coachella's musical selections gave attendees the opportunity to listen to all types of music at six different stages throughout the three days. But the place to be each night was the main stage, hosting artist such as The Black Keys, Kanye West, Animal Collective, Arcade Fire, Mumford and Sons, and The Strokes. As this year's tickets sold out in the first seven days, the fastest of all 12 years, I knew I was in for an amazing weekend. So what draws in the other 90,000 people? It's much more than just a music festival.

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As last year's Coachella was oversold and thousands of people got in without a ticket, the new security scan wristbands and guards at every gate stopped any trespassers and gave this year's Coachella much more space than previous years. As extra space allowed for the new Oasis stage, the line-up for this year was one of their largest and most diverse. When entering the Sahara tent, you knew you could find the sweatiest kids all crammed together dancing to the sounds of a DJ mixing beats, whereas if you walked past the Main Stage, you knew you could find people enjoying the sun and listening to music on the grass. Every year, Coachella plays as the field for hundreds of bands to display their music for thousands of people. No genre is excluded; rock bands such as The Sleigh Bells and Best Coast shared the arena with DJs such Steve Angello, Duck Sauce, and Afrojack. The recent Grammy winners for Best Album of the Year, Arcade Fire, also took the stage and performed some of their most famous songs such as "Wake Up" and "We Used to Wait."

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But the most memorable performance of the weekend goes to Kanye West as he shed his old reckless perception and gave one of his most amazing shows to date. Between his flawless mixed set of classics and songs from his new album "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy," the modern dance group that filled the stage, and colorful synced fireworks to end the show, West proved himself as a true, passionate, artist. West touched his audience with his emotional speech about the struggles in his life, and that Coachella has been the most important show to him since his mother passed in 2007. Unlike Kanye, Cee Lo Green did everything but impress his audience. Green arrived 30 minutes late to his show, forcing Coachella to shut him down just as he was warming up in his set and getting the audience going. But despite Cee Lo Green's meltdown, the performances of Coachella were impeccably planned out to create a weekend music lovers could greatly respect.

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But if you aren't one of those people that count down the days to Coachella to listen to a particularly loved band, there are plenty of other satisfying options to indulge in. The newly renovated "DoLab" appeared for its 7th year at Coachella, providing festival-goers with a smaller stage to cool down that sprayed up to 24,000 gallons of water. As the owners change the design of the lab every year, the "DoLab" is one of the most artistically interesting aspects of Coachella each year. Along with the other five art installments including the "Untitled Structure" and an array of large, glowing spiders, the installments continue to get better and more complex every year. Overall, Coachella has become excellent at doing what they do best, creating one of the most highly anticipated and visually appealing weekends of the year.

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As the weekend came to a close and I endured the 1:30 a.m. car ride before school, Coachella once again proved itself as a weekend that we would never forget. Now all we have left are the newly purchased songs on our iTunes, ringing ears, and the photographs that help us relive the moments that only Coachella could give.