Josh Schwartz shares his favorite Coachella memories

josh-schwartzImage Credit: Albert L. Ortega/PR Photos Josh Schwartz (the guy behind Chuck, Gossip Girl, and The OC) is a huge fan of the Coachella music festival, which this year runs from April 16-18 and features headliners Jay-Z, Muse, and Gorillaz. Below, he shares some of his highlights.

I was never allowed to celebrate Christmas. This void in my childhood left me on a decades-long search for a holiday I could call my own. On a balmy weekend in October, 1999, as a college senior, I found what I had been looking for. And unlike Christmas, this one had good music (all apologies to Mannheim Steamroller). It was called Coachella.

In the years since, Coachella has become an exodus from reality, a celebration of music, an endurance test, a snapshot of the zeitgeist, and, as I anticipate my 11th trip to Indio, a college reunion of sorts. It is, at times, unbearably hot, incredibly crowded, and nearly impossible to navigate. At others, it is magical: a near spiritual adventure that brings together people of all ages, backgrounds, and body odors to hear the best bands in the world. Here is a look back on some Coachellas past.

YEAR ONE: The journey to the first Coachella was like landing on an exotic undiscovered island. Wide-open polo fields lit by glow sticks and a full moon, where one could run freely from one pre-millennial act to the next. To me and my friends, it was love at first sight. Not so much for the girl I had brought with me, hoping to use this weekend to act upon a summer-long crush. When I awoke Monday morning, she was gone, leaving me to make the long drive back to Los Angeles alone. Not even this temporary heartbreak could get in the way of my new long-term relationship.

ONE-TWO PUNCH: I doubt that the rest of my concert-going life will ever see a back-to-back performance like the 2004 pairing of the Pixies into Radiohead. It was epic and unforgettable, and remains the high-water mark of all Coachellas.

A STAR IS BORN: There are moments where the perfect band takes the stage at the perfect time and a harmony of music and destiny sweep over the crowd. In 2005, as the sun was setting, through a golden hued haze, Arcade Fire swept the second stage. Their performance was an incendiary proclamation to all witnesses — a major new band had arrived. No one could match their numbers, or their passion.

BEHIND THE SCENES: We wrapped the first season of The OC in April, 2004. To celebrate, I convinced some of the cast members to attend their first Coachella. They loved it, until after the concert, when we discovered we’d been abandoned by our taxi home. The gridlock exiting the parking lot meant it would be hours before a new ride could rescue us. We didn’t despair. Instead, an impromptu game of stickball was organized, one that made the time fly by. One of my favorite memories from the OC experience.

THE ONE: Bringing the woman who would one day be my wife to her first Coachella in 2006 was a high-pressure situation. What if she hated it? Could the relationship handle it? But as I watched her fight the crowds with me to get close to Bloc Party in the Gobi tent and witnessed her reverie during a transcendent Sigur Ros main-stage performance, I knew Coachella was telling me I had the right partner — for future Coachella weekends, and for the rest of my life.

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter @EWMusicMix.)

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Comments (31 total) Add your comment
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  • alex

    this is raelly adorable. love the part about his wife.

  • sparkle the gym bag

    this fest rocks..i too have been every year and take a celebratory and traditional poo at the same spot every year upon arriving…perhaps you have seen my pile i leave a little toothpick umbrella in it…

    • saintofE69th

      kinda gross dude or dudette but kinda kinky cool too

    • zod

      yo i saw your pile in 06 (I think, maybe07) by the floating plastic man, right?
      hope this year rocks as hard as 04

      • sparkle the gym bag

        yes, by the plastic floating man! I plan on eating four meals the day before with lots of carbs and fruit in order to create what I like to call a masterpiece in the Defecatroy Arts (red umbrella this year)

  • Plane toilet

    ewwww i love this festival wow there are some odd folks that go tho flaming music

  • crispy

    I will be on the lookout for Mr. Schwartz. He seems like someone you could get really high with and have a mindblowing conversation about music.

    • Adam’s apple

      yes about Blake Lively’s boobs! it would take an hour or two to disuss each one, whichone do you lik ebest i say left

      • Marcus

        Dude you’re stupid. The right one is totally better!

  • Sumner78

    I can’t wait to see Bernard Sumner’s new band Bad Lieutenat, they are very good.Very New Orderish.

    • crispy

      I forgot they were on the bill. Thanks!

  • Jon

    I was at the Pixies/Radiohead double bill. Unbelievable. One of those moments where you’re in exactly the one place on Earth you’d most want to be.

  • josh

    aw. these were some of my favorite coachellas, too.

  • BiLLi0

    Schwartz is God. Let him work! This guy is awesome!

  • Melissa

    As I write this from my family’s home mere minutes from the venue, I salute you, Mr. Schwartz. This will be my 11th Coachella, too! Although, seriously, no love for the epic Paul McCartney set last year???? I’ve literally been to hundreds of concerts in my life, and that was my favorite gig of all time.

  • andreeahealth

    The holidays put on the market prodigality of opportunities for overindulgence: lavish dinners, tantalizing treats, etc. At times the allure can be obstructive to thwart – resulting in holiday burden gain. But around implementing a useful preponderance collapse scheme, losing those holiday pounds – and even lifetime clout control – can be okay within your reach.

  • freeiphone-w

    Never mind.. fixed now..




  • uggbootsd4

    METTLE,i from, it’s so congenial!!

  • Loummatub

    We sell top quailty memorials in Maryland. Our Monuments in Maryland will make your Loved One stand out and give them the tribute they deserve.

  • samsteele

    I just got done with the Book of Shadows. Very good book to read. I am going to have to see what else has.

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