Back in January I made an uncharacteristically spontaneous and possibly irresponsible choice; I decided to go to Coachella. Me and three music-loving compatriots had 30 minutes before general tickets went on sale to decide if we were going to commit. We had consensus in 15 minutes and proceeded to hop into the eTicket queue. Waiting in those virtual lines always makes me sweat. There’s an inevitably some sort of error that threatens to dash your hopes against the rocks. Against all odds, we procured four of the highly sought after keys to modern-music mecca.
Coachella is such an interesting microcosm of human behavior. I’d love to go back just to people watch. The diversity of culture and style is staggering. On top of this, you’re navigating this huge, tightly packed cluster of humanity in 110+ degree heat. At some point I gave up on trying to have dignity and accepted that I was just going to be sweating through all my clothes for 3 days. I soon realized that no one was paying attention to how much I was sweating. Everyone was sweating. And sweating wasn’t even close to the weirdest or abnormal thing happening around me.
The festival was a really great blend of familiar and unfamiliar acts. Radiohead were the main incentive for Quinn and I to attend, but there were plenty of other happy discoveries. Seeing Grouplove live turned me into an instant fan. Lorde was an incredible performer and put on a thoroughly enjoyable show. Another one of those happy discoveries was Porter Robinson + Madeon; two electronic music producers who have been working together since their early teens.
Their only official collaboration is a single called Shelter, which features trippy, chopped up vocals, a wall of bass synth that feels like it could knock you down, and a sincerely beautiful theme. Their statement about this song is that they wanted to create something together that reflected their friendship.
I’ll never forget seeing this song performed live. The wall of bass that I had previously heard through ear buds and car speakers become more literal than ever as it was pumped through the multitude of speaker towers at the Coachella Main Stage. Right before they ended their set with this song, the guys announced that this would be the last time they ever shared a stage; the last time they would perform together. There was something really meaningful about getting to see these two guys pay tribute to their 10+ year friendship by making music together one final time.
As Quinn and I wandered the pulsating, waving 50,000+ person crowd, I thought about how rare friendships like that are and how worthy they are of investment. Here I was wandering around one of the most exciting places in America with one of my closest friends. Ours is a friendship that has defied the odds and challenges of distance. I definitely cried in my car when I left campus for the last time wondering who I’d remain friends with, but here we are 4 years later. Cedarville has this saying about the people you meet at college; “friends for life”. I’ve flown to Raleigh to visit Quinn. He’s visited Grand Rapids. We’ve met up in Ohio. We talk every day. It’s been pretty costly in both time and money, but I much prefer what we have to the alternative. I’m happy that our friendship reflects people who have chosen to prioritize relationships.