Listen, Coachella. We love you. You know that. And when we criticize, it comes from a place of love. And OK, maybe a place of being pissed about not being able to see some of our favorite bands due to preventable logistical issues. And tall people. Seriously, tall people, get your own damn festival.
Anyway. These were Coachella 2016's six biggest bummers. We trust you to make most of them less of a bummer next year. But when it comes to “Coughchella,” we're probably all just screwed.
Missing Sheer Mag Because of Teen Instagram Celebrities
Some of us wanted to see Philly punk powerhouse Sheer Mag at noon on day one. But an as-yet-unidentified hang-up forced the festival to open the gates over an hour late on Friday, making it impossible to see any of the opening bands for longer than a few minutes, and that's only if you were so inclined to sprint through the desert heat to get there. We never got a reason for the late open, but we suspect it had to do with a bunch of teenage Instagram celebrity douchebags prancing about an empty festival grounds to service brand promotion. If true, that's just about the absolute lamest fucking thing that Coachella has ever done to its loyal fans. Not cool, Goldenvoice. Not cool. — Paul T. Bradley
Suffering Through Disclosure and Ice Cube While Waiting for Guns N' Roses
From 7:30 to 10:30 p.m., for three very long hours, Guns N' Roses fans camped out at the Coachella stage had to endure a dance music set by Disclosure and tons of annoying bass by Ice Cube (who kept telling us to put our hands up). Guest appearances by Lorde and Sam Smith at Disclosure and an anti-climactic N.W.A reunion with Cube gave GNR fans a reason to search for Axl Rose cosplay on Instagram. Unappealing openers for GNR fans, to say the least, who couldn't leave to see the Eagles' Joe Walsh shred with The Arcs in the Mojave Tent. Instead, they had to hear boom-cha-boom for two hours before the Gunners took the stage. — Art Tavana
The Yuma Tent Clusterfuck
On the one hand, it's great that just in the past 12 months, dance music has reached some kind of tipping point where the EDM kids are abandoning the Sahara Tent in droves for the cozier confines and more underground vibes of the Do Lab stage and the Yuma Tent. When Justin Martin can pull a massive crowd even when he's up against Zhu, Grimes and Guns N' fucking Roses, it bodes well for the future health of dance music culture. But while the Do Lab can accommodate overflow crowds (and drew them virtually the entire weekend), the enclosed Yuma Tent wasn't designed to handle a massive kandi kid crush and was frequently impossible to get into. I love air-conditioning in the desert as much as the next person, but maybe next year Coachella should think about either opening up the Yuma Tent to more easily accommodate crowds, or just booking more truly underground artists and trusting that EDM fans are now savvy enough to check them out. — Andy Hermann
Come on, why have you got to be so tall? Just, like, be shorter, fella. Look, Stretch, we're not suggesting we go all elementary school style on you and forcibly arrange the crowd by height, but jeez, maybe we should? Fine, we get it, you can reach things other people can't reach, you probably got to ride roller coasters earlier than most of us average-heighted folks, and you can probably dunk a basketball or whatever. Good for you. But you make a better door than a window, Bigfoot, so maybe have a little consideration and don't elbow your gangly ass all the way to the front of the crowd and park your big dumb half-squatch body in front of all us normies, OK? Got that, ya big galoot? — Paul T. Bradley
Props to Coachella for trying to make the art more epic this year by commissioning large-scale works from internationally renowned artists like Cuba's Alexandre Arrechea and Latvia's Katrina Neiburga and Andris Eglitis. But apart from a couple of nighttime standouts in Philip K. Smith's “Portals” and R&R Studios' “Besame Mucho,” overall this year's art underwhelmed. There was nothing that had the whimsy of last year's “Corporate Headquarters,” Vanessa Bonet and Derek Doublin's hippo-themed, live-action parody of office culture, or the grandeur of 2014's giant astronaut and last year's caterpillar that transformed into a butterfly, both by Poetic Kinetics. I'm not sure how many of this year's artists have ever actually been to Coachella, so maybe that's why there was a disconnect. But here's hoping next year's art can once again be as dazzling as the music. — Andy Hermann
The Desert Sun reports that 18 percent of Coachella Valley adults suffer from some kind of respiratory disease associated with dust clouds. They're also reporting potential “health risks” at Stagecoach this year. It's going to be windy, which results in dust storms and black phlegm, an annoying cough, flu-like symptoms, asthma attacks and dusty sinuses. Coachella is no different. “Coughchella” isn't some snarky title we came up with; it's a trending topic. If you attend Coachella on either weekend, you'll be coughing, a lot. Covering your face with a bandana is like wearing hand lotion as sunblock. It won't help. Coachella needs to invest in science to create a Coachellan dust mask to prevent festival black lung before “Coachella Lung” becomes a medical story. — Art Tavana