Coachella 2015 Recap: The Music

Tamara Deike is a Global Brand Development Director at PlayNetwork. She consults with PlayNetwork clients, inspiring innovative and engaging campaigns to help shape their customer experiences. With a background as a DJ, 12 years working in dance music across record labels, tech startups and artist management, as well as a Brand Development Director, Tamara has a unique perspective on both the music and artistry of the event, as well as the brands with pop-up experiences.



Suffice it to say that I’m no stranger to music festivals. I’ve attended everything from Sonar to Lovebox to Melt! – but this, was my first-ever Coachella. Now in its 16th year, 2015 featured 200 acts across both weekends with crowds of 100k+ people braving the 100°+ temperatures at a blisterin’ $375+ per ticket.

You’d have to be completely off the grid to miss the fervor of product placement, festival-inspired editorial, social media buzz, and artist releases staking claim pre-Coachella. As I drove down the 10 Freeway from L.A. to Indio, I was reminded again by a slurry of billboards featuring everything from Kaskade’s upcoming Vegas gigs to H+M’s official Coachella clothing line to AC/DC’s upcoming tour dates.

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I joined my crew of friends 2 miles from the festival site at a lil’ house on a golf course, and we headed out VIP style with a golf-cart upgrade.

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The sun was fierce across all 3 days but I managed to see more than 20 artists (thanks to ample hydration from our dear friend, water). Hands down, my favorite was Royal Blood from the UK. I saw them perform PlayNetwork’s SXSW/Filter Mag party 2 years ago and their stage presence game is strong. Caribou, another favorite, absolutely smashed it as usual—and I’m stoked to see he’ll be performing at Summerstage in Central Park in NYC this season!

I caught performances for the first-time by Kiesza (yes, the girl can DANCE for reals) and Angus & Julia Stone—stunning performance, something so very “Buckingham-Nicks” about them. Jungle nailed the harmonies in full-force, I was absolutely mesmerized.

Jack White, in a word: professional. The man can sing, play, move a crowd, and is the embodiment of pure Americana southern rock. He brought his A+ game. And as a genre-bender supreme, he did not disappoint. Florence and the Machine sadly had to cut their performance to 30 minutes due to Florence’s broken foot from the Week 1 stage-jump that went awry, but her chair-bound sunset performance was beautifully heartfelt and the crowd forgave her.

Kaskade’s sunset performance broke Coachella. My pal Misha took an amazing aerial photo of the crowd for Kaskade. And of course, there was the soulful performance by The Weeknd. His stage set up was phenomenal. 6 foot Red LED wall, which he performed against, with his entire band on hydraulic lifts behind the wall, which slowly raised one by one throughout the show. And then, Mr. Kanye West stepped out on stage as a ‘surprise’ guest and the crowd went bananas.

And then of course, AC/DC – best crowd ‘swag’ at Coachella, ever. Who doesn’t love light up devil horns? Angus did his famous leg-lift-slide-across-the-stage thing in his trademark school-boy uniform and they gave us all the hits. Hard. Loud. Just like you’d expect. And then, there was Steely Dan. I had the fortune of covering their 2000 performance back in college for InPittsburgh Weekly. They’re pros, and their horns blow. Like, major brass-skills.

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Overall, it was a great weekend of music and fun experiences in the desert. Want more Coachella? Visit the LA Times or CNN.