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Coachella: 20 Years in the Desert (2020)

Fun look back at 20 years of Coachella!

This is the latest documentary about the history (to date) of one of the earliest and most influential major music festivals in the US Coachella. From writer-producer-director Chris Perkel, who earlier brought us “Clive Davis: The Soundtrack Of Our Lives”. Here , with the full cooperation of the team behind the Coachella festival, he dives into the history of Coachella.

“It wasn’t obvious that this could work”, comments Moby (who performed at the very first Coachella), and that would be the understatement of the year. Located 2 hours east of LA, in the desert (literally), but blessed with picture-perfect weather (unlike many European festivals after which Coachella was patterned). The movie is divided in 5 chapters (the other three being Chapter Three Rise of the Robots, Chapter Four The New Beats, and Chapter Five The Next Generation) and is more or less sequenced chronologically.

As the titles of the later chapters indicate, the festival gas evolved quite a bit over the year, from the heydays of indie rock and alternative rock to EDM to hip hip to even outright pop. Perkel does a good job to keep things moving forward, and we get treated to a smorgasbord of classic Coachella moments (including Madonna in the Sahara Tent in 2006 and, even better, Daft Punk‘s set that same year (“nothing was ever the same after that, and it truly marked the birth of EDM”, comments a DJ). Little or no attention is given what impact the ever-growing festival (from 25-30,000 attendants a day in the early years to 50,000 in the late 00s to nowadays about 100,000 EACH DAY) has had on the “fan experience”. But in the end, the movie is a good reflection of where Coachella has come from and what now has become. (Of course the 2020 Edition of Coachella has been moved to October as a result of the coronavirus.)

Stream Similar Film  Rave (2018)

Directors: Chris Perkel, Drew Thomas
Starring: Chali 2na, A-Trak, Steve Aoki, Rosanna Arquette, Idris Elba, Beck, Shepard Fairey, Billie Eilish, Diplo

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