When Land Rover announced a new music festival concept incorporating adventure in the heart of the picturesque Coachella Valley not everyone knew exactly what to expect, but that’s because nobody had ever done it before. Over the course of the two-day event this past weekend, 4xFAR Festival delivered a lineup on par with other events in the region stocked with contemporary hip-hop and R&B titans like Anderson .Paak and The Free Nationals, Kaytranada, Mark Ronson and Q-Tip alongside buzzy pop acts like Sofi Tukker and LP Giobbi, but one major distinction made 4xFAR unlike any other music festival of late. Where other events might invest in murals, sculpture or other art, 4xFAR drove the art of adventure with a bevy of activities like rock climbing, mountain biking, ax throwing, rock climbing, fly fishing and a 15-acre off-road course as the icing on the cake.
Of the activities, co-producer of 4xFAR Festival and the founder of Corso Agency David Corso said: “It was a really unique challenge but it came across really nicely. Like, if you want to know anything about adventure — it’s there!” (Adventure workshops covered topics like “how to make cocktails at your camp” or “what plants are edible.”) “I was wondering is that really gonna be popular? But there’s a line out there!” Corso smiled.
Corso is known among event organizers as the mastermind that brought in Coachella’s first and longest running sponsor — the celebrated Heineken House, which he says is the only thing at Coachella that books talent other than Coachella. In curating the lineup especially for 4xFAR, he said it was important that it, “not be just a country show or just a rock show or bring in only big DJs. It needed to be eclectic, but the challenge was ‘how do you make everyone happy here?’”
“If you like Anderson .Paak, or if you like Sofi Tukker, or if you like Mark Ronson there are lots of things to keep you busy until you’re ready to see the artist you came to see. In other words, it was more important for us to do one stage with an eclectic mix of music rather than two or three stages that kept you just in music. We wanted people to get the whole experience out of it.”
As the event progressed, crowds continued to mix and mingle. In fact, more and more acts from the lineup ventured out from behind the luminescence created onstage to peruse the activities in the festival too.
“I thought it was really special to be at a festival where I could do outdoor activities I’ve never had a chance to do before, such as off-roading and ax throwing,” said the LA-based energetic and synthy virtuoso LP Giobbi after her set. “And then sitting among the palm trees watching Anderson .Paak was a nice way to end the evening!”
Watercolor sunsets and cotton candy clouds adorned the sky most of the weekend, but the action on and off stage was just as colorful. Pro-grade stuntmen cemented 4xFAR’s place in the hearts of adventurers by careening and soaring with smoke streamers by day and with fireworks at night. They jumped intermittently all weekend to land softly on targets placed throughout the venue. Onstage, Sophie from Sofi Tukker threw flowers and played guitar while Tucker dazzled gaggles of adoring young people with his stylish pelvic thrusts. Later in the evening Q-Tip and Mark Ronson delivered a double dose of nostalgia with Top 40 hip-hop mash-up that sounded like time traveling through the ’90s.
In the end, the pairing of world class adventure elements and onstage spectacles defined the 4xFAR experience.