Coachella Parties: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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Wed, Apr 17, 2013 at 8:57 AM
click to enlarge SPIN House at the Ace Hotel - CREDIT: KATIE BAIN
  • Credit: Katie Bain
  • SPIN House at the Ace Hotel

The lineup of events thrown in conjunction with Coachella is almost as extensive as event itself. Many folks come just to attend the pool parties, the dance parties and the swag giveaways thrown at local hotels and mansions by various brands and media outlets.

See also: *A road map to the best festival parties, and how to get in (or not)!

*10 Types of People You See at Coachella Parties

Tricked out with free booze, secret performers and, you know, celebs, these parties inspire attendees to spend weeks perfecting their outfits, physiques, hair, nails, tans, etc. So we too threw on a bathing suit and went to a few.

The Party: Spin House

The Venue: Ace Hotel & Swim Club, Palm Springs

Time of Day: Saturday afternoon/early evening

Difficulty Getting In: Easy with an RSVP. Even those who hadn't pre-registered were granted access by the particularly welcoming ladies minding the guest list.

The Crowd: Rock hipsters, babes in bikinis and friendly (read: drunk) bros floating around the bathwater pool in captain hats and neon swim trunks.

The Swag: As much free beer and wine as one could tolerate.

The Music: Performances by Nite Jewel, King Tuff, ANTWON, and DJ sets by Chrome Sparks.

Overall Vibe: Held in the smaller of the two pool areas at hipster desert oasis the Ace Hotel, the Spin House was a chill midafternoon hangout sesh that maintained an ultra mellow vibe -- possibly exacerbated by all the white wine. While things never got rowdy, there was a lot of beach ball swatting, so to speak. (Well, literally.)

click to enlarge Neon Carnival
  • Neon Carnival

The Party: Neon Carnival

The Venue: The tarmac of a tiny airport in Thermal, CA

Time of Day: Late Saturday night/early Sunday morning

Difficulty Getting In: So, so hard. The guest list was ultra-tight and attendees weren't even allowed near the front gate without a wristband. ("Take one more step towards the exit with your wristband on and you cannot come back in!" a security guard yelled at us.) Hopeful partygoers waited outside scrounging for extra wristbands while dejected looking dudes in the dusty parking lot made last ditch phone calls to those on the inside.

The Crowd: Several thousand of the trendy and the trendier, including Paris and Nicki Hilton, half the cast of Glee, lots of model types, and, awesomely, this OG baller dude named Clint Eastwood.

The Swag: Free booze, free food, free carnival rides (ferris wheel, giant drop, big slide), and the softest Armani t-shirts. Plus as much people watching as your eyes could eat.

The Music: Hyphy mashup DJ sets by Jesse Marco, JUS SKE and Kayper

Overall Vibe: Put on by the L.A. nightlife luminaries at Bolthouse Productions, Neon Carnival is the Hollywood in the desert holy grail of Coachella parties. Now in its third year, this event is a full on carnival with free everything. As one partygoer put it, "I don't care how it sounds, I just prefer hanging with the beautiful people." As another partygoer put it, "I don't care if Daft Punk is playing with Phoenix right now, I'd rather be here." And as another partygoer put it, "This is one of the best nights of my life." The dance floor was still writhing (hard) when we left at 3:30am.

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