Coachella fans react to the expanded and changed festival grounds

Holly Alvarado, The Orange County Register on

Published in Entertainment News

INDIO, Calif. — At the 2024 Coachella Valley Music Festival, attendees were met with a wave of excitement as they entered the Empire Polo Club grounds in Indio.

However, one immediate change caught the eye of seasoned festival-goers: the Sahara Tent, a longstanding home of electronic dance music and rap acts, had shifted its location. Positioned south of its previous spot, the tent now found itself adjacent to the newly unveiled Quasar stage, a mark in Coachella’s evolving musical landscape.

This relocation, prompted by the festival’s commitment to accommodating the burgeoning demand for house and EDM acts, set the stage for a lengthy roster that included Ice Spice, Skepta, Dom Dolla, Bizarrap, Purple Disco Machine, Grimes, Le Sserafim, Spinall, and John Summit, among others.

The Sahara Tent underwent renovations back in December, now boasting a sturdy steel structure stretching up to 320 feet long. Enhanced with underground footings, the revamped tent offers increased stability and accommodates more fans. The upgraded layout also facilitates better stage production so that artists can bring whatever they need to the roomy stage.

Yet, the new layout posed challenges for attendees like Elizabeth Row and friend Sasha Lu, who traveled from New York City to attend their fifth consecutive Coachella. They found that navigating from the Sahara Tent to the Main Stage was more strenuous than in previous years, making it harder on their feet — strapped in stylish cowgirl boots — as it was a 15-minute trek between the two venues.

“We saw on Instagram awhile back that the Sahara Tent would be moving, and it’s actually one of our favorite tents and spots to go to as we usually prefer to see EDM acts, but this year it just feels a bit more challenging since its actually taking us longer to get to the Main Stage area. We’ve even had to miss a few acts this year because it just didn’t make sense for us to keep walking back and forth, and we didn’t have this problem before,” Row shared while sprawled out on the grass hill area, waiting for Ice Spice to play.

Row and Lu share the same sentiment, feeling that the long walk holds back their ability to catch every festival act they planned to see. On the other hand, Lu notes that the new setup is nice since there’s room to actually squeeze into the tent, unlike years past when fans were packed like sardines into the tight space. Not to mention a new grass hill area for folks to relax, lay and catch sets from afar.

The expansion also holds a new walking path dubbed Sahara Express Walkway that provides a safe route for fans to move between the tent, the grass hill area and the Sahara Food section. It also offers a convenient vantage point for catching glimpses of performances at the new Quasar stage while grabbing a bite to eat or simply taking a break from the festival’s hustle and bustle.


On the other hand, Billy Larga, an attendee from San Francisco, found the layout to be perfectly fine. He noted that the extended walk wasn’t a significant issue for him and expressed his pleasure at how well the new setup functioned.

“At first, I was a little skeptical of how the new grounds and Sahara Tent would play out this year since I knew everything was moving, but I think it’s great. It works,” Larga said. “I mean, it’s bigger, so I don’t feel like I’m fighting my way in the tent just to catch an artist, which was always the case for me the past few years, and at times, I had just to walk away because it wasn’t worth it. I haven’t found myself doing that once this time.”

Other fans didn’t even seem to notice the change whatsoever.

“I’m not the hugest EDM or rap fan, so I rarely go to the Sahara Tent, and I’ve been coming for the past decade,” Billy Henderson, a Los Angeles native and avid Coachella fan who’s been attending since 20120, shared while sipping on a lemonade by the food market area.

“I think it works for a lot of fans who are EDM or rap heads. For others who just want to catch a set or two at that stage, it just doesn’t,” continued Henderson. “The walk is pretty far this year, so for me, it’s a no-go. I think they really wanted to do this for the people who love that side of the grounds, so it’s a win for them. At this point, Coachella is just growing every year, I would expect something else to move again next year, too.”


©2024 MediaNews Group, Inc. Visit ocregister.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


blog comments powered by Disqus