GV does, apparently, read your feedback and try to work to make things better year after year...so here's my annual list.
1) The Terrace expansion was really really great. Not sure how many of you noticed, but on Sunday, PERMANENT BATHROOMS opened their doors behind the porta potty area, right across from the Yuma. Regular flushing toilets, real sinks, etc. It was so great because no one really seemed to know it was there yet so it was sort of empty.
-----Putting the Do Lab in the back of the terrace area right across from the area is a stroke of genius. Corrals that horrible bumping to one area--which means the only sound bleed from the Do Lab now is into the Sahara.
-----Expanded Yuma. Well done. Even when it looked like a line, it wasn't a line. It was just a long walk in around stanchions.
-----The Craft Beer barn. Best thing Coachella has done maybe ever. Seriously, thank you.
-----Artisan food vendors. If Beer Belly was near my house, I'd be there every day eating that grilled cheese with bacon and maple syrup.
2) I heard there was a parking lot nightmare on Friday night. We didn't experience this because we left a bit early, but we stayed till the bitter end on Saturday and Sunday, and on both nights from the time we left our locker till the time we got through the front door, only 30 minutes elapsed. That was pretty great.
3) I think they are trying out the idea of air conditioning the Gobi? The Gobi now has side flaps around the perimeter of the tent like they used to back in the day. But the tent was draped with black curtains and chandeliers. Then I noticed on Sunday that even though it was super hot out, it was kind of cool and breezy in there. Then as I was walking back into it on Sunday night, I saw what looked like a generator or air conditioning unit outside of the tent, fenced off and being guarded by security. If they aren't trying to experiment with air conditioning, this new feature goes on the not awesome list...because on Friday, it was hot as shit in there because there was no breeze getting in.
4) Lines to get in were super easy. Never waited to get in. Security checks were relatively painless.
5) More water stations for free water fillups.
6) Portapotties were almost always clean.
1) The radio-friendly lineup. My initial reaction to the lineup was underwhelming, but I chalked it up to the fact that I knew about some of those surprises ahead of time so it wasn't a big "wow". I saw some great sets, but my schedule was far from packed. I mostly wanted to spend a lot of my day in the beer garden...a first for me. The fact of the matter is this: yes, it's a festival and it should be expected that there will be things on the lineup that are unsavory, but when you tip the scales in favor of large ticket sales, you're tipping the scales for the unsavories to attend. Bitches with flowers in their hair pushing their way through NMH to get a spot for Lana Del Rey. Assholes in native headwear. Tucker Gumber. Drunk locals only there because they have easy access to tickets and they live in an unbearable shithole, so why not go? The crowd difference between this year and last year was drastically different. And I didn't watch any of these acts (except maybe for Lorde, but we were off on the side and didn't really have a bad experience). But you still have to deal with them while walking around. Or when they're waiting for whatever terrible bullshit that is coming up next. Coachella is almost close to turning into like the I Heart Radio festival. Any year that you have fucking Lana Del Rey and JUSTIN BEIBER hit a stage at Coachella...well, maybe you need to look at what your festival has become. I've defended them for years, but the Sleigh Bells/Skrillex/Calvin Harris/Lana/etc. terribleness has just gone too far. Just book Katy Perry next year and surrender; put us out of our misery.
2) Speaking of celebrities, fuck this "celebrities getting paid to be there" shit. I know it's not the festival doing this, but it's just more evidence of what it's become. Celebrities. Rich people. The 1%. $30k millionaires. Being seen versus being there for the music. Disgusting. Win Butler nailed it right on the head.
3) Lou the locker guy needs to get new lockers. The ones he has are beat to shit. Had to have him crowbar it open at least twice.
4) It was a stroke of genius to put the Do Lab back with the Sahara. All they need is their own entrance and they'll never leave the back of the festival, right? Wellllll...yes. That would work as long as you leave the shit back there. But when you SCHEDULE GIRL TALK AND CALVIN SHIT HARRIS ON THE MAIN STAGE, you totally kill that strategy.
5) Speaking of scheduling...the Replacements and Bryan Ferry conflict was hands down the dumbest conflict ever.
For the first time ever, my attendance next year will depend solely on the lineup. Or maybe I'm just burned out and need a break. Last year at this time, I was looking for W2 tickets because I had so much fun and I wanted to go right back out there. This year, I can't be paid to leave my couch during W2. For the most part, the only fun I had was while visiting with people. I was watching one of my favorite bands and couldn't escape the talking to even enjoy it.
This festival costs us a fortune (not that we can't afford it, and not that we can't do it cheaper than we do it, but we do it the way we want it) and it's just not worth it if I'm going to want to be in the beer garden most of the time.