An Open Letter to Coachella, 2011 Edition

Dear Coachella,

Remember me? I wrote you a letter about this time last year to voice my concerns about you. I was worried that you'd gone off the rails, blatantly ignoring the ones who loved you the most in favor of a new group of peers who were ultimately leading you down the wrong path. Granted, this new group offered quick fame and notoriety, but to achieve as much you had to ignore those longtime fans and friends who made you who you were in the first place.

Well, Coachella, it took you a year to get back to me, but you finally did. Let me just tell you this -- I have never been as proud of you in the six years I've now known you than I was this entire weekend.

What I saw in you this weekend made me yet again believe in you. I've never seen you better than you were, in my humble opinion, in 2008, but this year's performance will probably go down as your most memorable. You listened to what everyone had been saying about you and your many problems and nasty habits you had developed from last year -- that you were unorganized, that you didn't care about your longtime fans and friends, that you had bottomed out to a place from where there was no return. Your fans and friends all had their doubts about you after last year, and you emerged this weekend in a triumphant return. You made us all very, very happy to be in your presence, Coachella, and for that we are all thankful.

The extra security you employed this year made everyone feel like a step was being taken in a right direction. Very few delays at your entrance points made for a smooth, almost carefree experience before your friends and fans all got to step foot inside your festival grounds. You realized that the point before which everyone enters the actual festival grounds -- whether it be from the parking or camping lots -- is the most anxious, nerve-wracking part of their days. You made that experience as easy as possible which in turn lead to a positive, peaceful aura that encompassed your entire festival grounds.

As always, your music was fantastic this year, Coachella. Your main stage had a few bumps on Friday -- some your fault, some not (I'm looking at you, Cee-Lo). Whatever the case may be, Coachella, you soldiered on like a festival that was in its 12th year. The improvements to your tents, both the new video screens and the added space, made for a less cluttered feeling when that mid-afternoon set just so happened to be one of the more well-attended of the day. The added space to your festival grounds, as well, helped alleviate some of the choke-points that arise when too many people need to get to a particular area of your grounds. Your camping area was a happy, peaceful area that had many added improvements over years past, making some people who weren't even camping want to arrive early just so they could check out the general store or play a few rounds on a vintage 1979 Star Trek pinball machine.

The best thing about you this weekend, Coachella, was that it felt like you actually cared. You cared enough to want your fans and friends to get the fun-filled weekend they so rightfully wanted and deserved. You understood that this weekend is as much about the music as it is for the experience. Last year had the music -- no one is doubting that. The experience, on the other hand, was sorely lacking. It just didn't feel like it was you out there last year, Coachella. I never thought I would come to resent you while in your presence, yet that's what I was left feeling at times last year. Part of that is my fault, sure, but a lot of that was attributed to you. 

What you did this year, Coachella, made me forget that last year even happened. You restored my faith -- and the faith of about 75,000 of your friends and fans -- in you. Thank you so very much, Coachella, for restoring my faith in you and for giving me one of the best weekends of my life. It feels good to have my friend back.


Michael Lopez

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