After photographing Coachella for over eight years...and being on the frontlines of more exclusive after parties than I care to remember, let me just say that this year’s Fauxchella has proven to be a monster of an outside #clusterlovefuck of amazingness for those never stepping foot inside Coachella proper.
It was another year of shots, shots, shots and more shots (in both of the libation and photographic kind) and trunk loads of actual swag that you wanna keep. This year out did and out performed last year's craziness. Bigger talent. Better everything. Gotta give props to all of the vendors for doing their part at creating a Fauxchella microcosm of frolic and festivities. Makes me look forward to what's to come. And a big tip of the hat to team Fauxchella for surviving it all. Anywho...here's us going inside the outside of Coachella. Words: Nicole Spiegel, Kimberly Hall, Rich Kim | Photos: Rich Kim (Photos: Neon Carnival by Seth Browarnik)
FAUXCHELLA: DAY 1
It wanted to rain so hard during our first visit to the Hard Rock Music Mansion. At least it was sure trying to. But not harder than the people that were waiting in line trying to get in. Everyone was cueing up for good reason too. This was the first of the Coachella day parties and everyone was ready to rage. The bridge entrance to the mansion overlapped a split pool and a Jacuzzi surrounded by two open bars as well as a separate wine bar by Red Diamond Wine. Lamb and Flag gave guests the opportunity to create their own spray-painted tees, while Skintimanets handed out “shaved” ice treats to keep partygoers cool. Even the ladies were pampered with hair stylists, offering braids and feather extensions to keep the crowd looking good. Fernando Garibay amped up the party dancefloor with some intense remixes from the likes of Foster and other pop artists. Nothing Shazam could ever recognize. This party had officially raised the bar from last year’s party circuit. Guaranteed to be one of the weekend’s best venues, the Hard Rick Music Mansion quickly became a favorite.
Belve Music Lounge posed great potential—if the cops hadn’t busted it before 3 pm. As we pulled up to the estate we were stink-eyed by angry looking neighbors, so we turned around faster than we had gotten there and by time we left, we counted not 1, not 2 but 7! cop cars either heading to or already at the house. The curtains officially closed for this party. Bummer for them.
We kept the party moving and headed back over to Vestal Village. The weather was still pretty crappy forcing most people to retreat to their on-site camping tents. However, the Sailor Jerry outdoor bar space still had a life in it. Probably because the alcohol was keeping them warm. It was either that, or the allure of free Pop Chips and condoms. The open lawn in front of the main stage could have easily been a smaller stage at the Coachella Festival itself but this venue’s true potential would have to wait until the weather was nicer to truly shine.
The torrential downpour over to the Kanon Vodka & Kitsuné party gave new meaning to the words “the scenic route.” When we finally realized we weren’t driving in a scene from The Hills Have Eyes and started seeing signs of civilization instead of vast desert hills, we opened the car doors and were hit frozen with the a mighty wind chill accompanied by freezing temperatures. And by freezing, I mean unbearable to this Southern Californian. The weather forced the party to move to the indoor Jacuzzi where Kanon Vodka was shared and inflatable Swans were ridden. The jets in the hot tub pumped out the desert’s hot springs water and made it all worth the trek.
Later that evening we headed out to the swanky Hennessy x Details party. The party kicked off with a shuttle ride over to the estate where we were greeted with a generous shot of Hennessy. A mini golf course surrounded by a luxurious pool accented by running waterfalls and fire pits. Open bars, heaters and food trucks gave a chilly crowd comfort topped off by a captivating performance from Philly native, Asher Roth. Working the dancefloor and pouring shots of Hennessy into the mouths of partygoers, Asher commanded the crowd. Just ask Katy Perry. She was there.
friday hennessy 1
friday hennessy 2
FAUXCHELLA: DAY 2
Warning: Don’t ever drive past Dillion Rd, East on the 10 FWY, if you are partying at Coachella. Halfway to Phoenix and a slew of cuss words later, we back tracked 17 miles to return to civilization. F-U Google maps. Nonetheless, the sun was shining, the weather was warm and the headache was completely worth the wait for our first day party.
The HTC/Lacoste Live pool party was alive and jamming. This party was incredibly hard to leave. Held on well-groomed, scenic acres of land, which include a crystal clear swimming pool and sparkling lagoon, the resort-like atmosphere of this estate can easily become a beautiful distraction. There’s always a solid crowd turnout and this year was no exception. Word from last year must have gotten out about this gem of a party. Elijah Wood’s eclectic DJ set kept the crowd moving as beautiful people walked from their white cabanas across the lawn towards, taco trucks, manicure/pedicure and hair tents. LaCoste provided complimentary t-shirts as well as towels, flip-flops and there were Frisbees sprinkled throughout the estate. As the crowd grew larger so did the lines for food and drinks. The open bar was well worth the wait for their delicious Patron tequila libations. Elbowroom was getting tight. After shaking two members hands of the one-man-named band, Miike Snow (Chris Karlsson & Pontus Winnberg), we decided to head over to the next spot. It’s a good thing we did. The line to get in was at serious capacity. 1 in, 1 out and you can be sure no one was leaving anytime soon.
A change of pace brought us back over to Vestal Village. The weather was far better than the torrential downpour we experienced here the day before. This hippie-like community was grooving with good vibes and non-pretentious assholes. Party people were either throwing footballs on the lawn or relaxing in the hot tub. Girls were getting their faces painted next to the sound stage. A move they would likely regret when they realized they forgot to put on sunscreen. It was the perfect atmosphere to relax and take in the desert scene.
As the afternoon moved on without us we realized we only had an hour left to day-party. We needed to haul-ass across town if we wanted to hit up another soirée. We decided to cap off the afternoon with a trip back to the Hard Rock Music Mansion. The Belve Lounge had combined forces with Hard Rock on Saturday due to their estate party being shut down by the police and angry neighbors the day before. The place was packed with people finishing up the party rounds. Not surprisingly most of them still had energy to dance.
Night fell over Coachella Valley and the desert sky lit up. But it wasn’t coming from the lights of the Music Festival. These lights were coming from one of Coachella’s most coveted star-studded events, Neon Carnival. Bolthouse Productions and SBE team up with Armani Exchange and T-Mobile for the biggest “see and be seen” party of the weekend. Emma Roberts, Glee Cast members Chord Overstreet and Cory Montieth, Penn Badgley, Zoe Kravitz, Kellan Lutz, Gerard Butler, Dylan McDermott and Usher were among the celebrity guests in attendance. Belvedere supplied the vodka and I supplied a lighter to one of the bartenders so that they could open the bottle (good save). After a quick stop to say hello to LA Riots friend, Daniel Linton, we past Alexander Wang heading over to the game section. We ended up playing next to Glee star, Harry Shum Jr. and high-fiving each other with compliments of our throwing skills. Skills that won us an obscene amount of collectible Skelanimals and Ugly Dolls plush prizes. Not to be out-shined by the $100 Armani Exchange Pop Watches we won later that night. If that wasn’t enough, the Party Lab truck handed out flashing accessories, which, as a side effect, evoked some crazy dance moves from partygoers. From top of the Ferris wheel we spotted Paris Hilton and Cookie Monster on stage dancing to Aftojack (also in attendance) and Aoki’s club hit “No Beef.” Yes, even Cookie Monster made an appearance. The dancefloor was electric; the party was wild and its neon pulse shined brightly into the early hours of the morning. Once we had all the Buccaneer, Zipper, Slide and Bumper Car rides our hearts could handle we headed back to home base. Brent Bolthouse has since stated it was the best Neon Carnival he’s ever done. We can be sure next year’s party will only be better. Until then, well have to bask in the afterglow.
FAUXCHELLA: DAY 3
The finale day. HTC/Lacoste Live was going to be our 1st stop...upon entering we secured our special time-tested spot near the 98.7 interview room/acoustic stage and surveyed the poolside lands...
Niles Hendrix made sure that the music was continuously at a soothingly mellow groove, which was definitely welcomed after last night's neon carnival madness... “The Laws Of Fauxchella” always ease into the home-run stretch on the last day of Fauxchella.
“The Laws Of Fauxchella”
Step one: alcohol
Step two: food
Step three: alcohol
Step four: more alcohol
Even though this day produced the best outfits yet, we still had outdone ourselves and many others; wearing our A|X Armani Exchange color pop watches (thanks Neon Carnival) along with our trophy arm strapped with 8 multi-shaded entry wristbands, the proverbial badges of valor in partying.
The photo booth was by far the craziest we had seen yet, anywhere. A collage of shots combined onto one 8.5 x 11'' sheet, produced a poster of glamour/goofy/sexy (via a wind machine!) images. It was the perfect “we were there” souvenir.
We then digested the scene as we digested our food; this party was to put it in one word...amazing! Water gun fights amid dancing and smiling faces all under the long awaited hot sun.
Lastly, the lovely girls of #TeamFauxhella posed for pics and after all was said and done, we felt we had done this party justice. Farwell and thank you Lacoste, HTC & Spin Magazine... until #fauxchella2013...
Now it was time for us to return to the Hard Rock Hotel Music Mansion.
Hard Rock was the perfect place to end up. With about the same number of people as Lacoste and HTC, but in a more intimate venue, the energy ramped up. The pools and the tubs were crammed with patrons, wearing both proper swim attire and whatever they wore when they walked in, water friendly or not. Hats off to you dude in the rolled up jeans, soaked to the bone. We immediately adhered to the #LawsOfFauxchella and exercised our more alcohol rule....
Then, the party turned up to notch 11 with the A-Trak taking over the decks...only to surprisingly be joined at the hallowed decks by none other than Nick Catchdubs!!! It was definitely a glorious time in music at our (w)holy #fauxchella Sunday service!
Time was definitely our bandit this year...and we found ourselves not being able to steal away from the lock tight embraces of the Coachella Valley's many parties, enough to make it in time to the palm springs festivities...we left the party at 6 pm (closing time) while it continued to rage at max volume with new faces pouring in. And after tipping our newest best friend, the golf cart driver who shuttled us to our waiting car...(always take care of those that take care of you)...we drove off into the Coachella sunset on our short journey back home...
'till next time...next weekend? Or not, but definitely... see you all at #Fauxchella 2013.