I remember first learning about the Coachella Music Festival in the early-2000s, probably through a full-page ad in my coveted Spin magazine. Then there was the self-titled documentary film, which brought viewers impossibly close to Bjork, Radiohead, the Flaming Lips, and other music heroes performing in a gorgeous setting. When I decided to relocate to San Francisco, Coachella was definitely part of the draw and my first festival delivered on all expectations.
From the start 18 years ago, Coachella succeeded by taking the best elements of other music festivals—principally Lollapalooza and the U.K.’s Glastonbury Festival—and delivering a consistently awesome experience. The isolated desert location was selected so that people would surrender fully versus going back and forth from their homes.