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The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival

The 21st edition of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival was held this April in the Colorado Desert. Coachella is considered one of the most successful and influential music festivals in the world.

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The 2022 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival was held over the course of two weekends this April. It was the 21st edition of the festival. This year’s main performers were Harry Styles, Billie Eilish and The Swedish House Mafia & The Weeknd. Overall, there were 180 music acts from various musical genres such as rock, pop, rap, indie and house. The festival is always held in a remote location in California, outside the town of Indio, in the Coachella Valley of the Colorado Desert. One of the festival’s co-founders, Paul Tollett, said that this remote location was chosen on purpose. “We wanted it to be far,” he said. “So you surrender. So you can’t leave your house and see a couple bands and be back home that night.” The founders wanted the festival to be a full, non-stop immersion in the world of music.

From financial failure to success

Nowadays, the Coachella Festival is one of the most successful music festivals in the world, but it started out very differently. The first edition was held in 1999. It lasted two days, and approximately 40 artists and bands performed. It received good reviews and 37,000 tickets were sold, but it was a financial failure: the organizers lost $850,000. They did not give up: they held the festival again in 2001 and 2002. On both occasions, they lost money, but a little less each year. Finally, in 2003, the festival made a profit. In 2004 more than 100,000 tickets were sold, and the famous music magazine ‘Rolling Stone’ described Coachella as ‘America’s Best Music Festival’. The organizers increased the number of days of the festival to six, and they allowed the attendees to camp on the festival’s grounds. The list of world-famous artists who performed at Coachella is very long. Some notable names are Red Hot Chili Peppers, Radiohead, Coldplay, Madonna, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Eminem.

Not just music

The Coachella Festival has several stages; some are outdoor, while others are inside large tents. All stages host live music from midday until one o’clock at night. After that point there’s a strict noise curfew, but festivalgoers can still dance to music if they attend the festival’s silent disco where they receive headphones to listen live to various DJs. But Coachella is not only about music, it’s about art as well. Designers and visual artists decorate the festival’s grounds with huge installations and sculptures. Many of them are interactive. Probably the most famous one, showcased for the first time in 2014, was Escape Velocity, a 36-foot-tall animatronic astronaut. The giant astronaut wandered around the grounds of the festival, made hand gestures, and the festivalgoers could have their faces projected onto the astronaut’s visor.

From indie to commercial?

Despite its success, Coachella also received some criticism over the years. Critics point out that the festival was born to showcase indie acts, not mainstream musicians. The first years featured revolutionary artists such as Rage Against the Machine and Morrisey, while recent years mostly featured commercial bands and electronic dance music. Critics also point out that the festival is attracting more and more media personalities such as influencers and celebrities looking for publicity, and is promoting not just music, but also the brands that sponsor the festival. So, is Coachella a musical heaven or an empty, commercial event? Next year you can make up your own mind: even if you don’t attend in person, the festival will be live streamed on three YouTube channels. For sure, both supporters and critics consider Coachella the symbolic opening of the concert season. The success of this year’s edition seems promising. If the pandemic continues to decline, summer 2022 will be a season full of music.

USEFUL LINKS
1) Here’s the official Coachella Festival’s website:
https://www.coachella.com/

2) Here’s the complete list of the singers and bands who performed this year:
https://www.coachella.com/lineup

3) Here is the festival’s official YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/user/coachella

4) Do you want to know more about the festival? Read this article:
https://www.today.com/popculture/what-coachella-everything-you-need-know-about-massive-music-fest-t172929

5) Learn how the 36-foot-tall animatronic astronaut Escape Velocity was made:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoZ9oWJh6RE

6) Have a look at all the art installations present at Coachella 2022:
https://mymodernmet.com/coachella-art-installation-2022/
COMPREHENSION 1
1) Read the article and complete the sentences with the correct alternative.


1. At this year’s Coachella there were
a. 180 bands and performers.
b. singers from 180 different musical genres.
c. three music acts: Harry Styles, Billie Eilish and The Swedish House Mafia & The Weeknd.

2. Paul Tollett wanted the attendees of the Coachella Festival
a. to be able to return home every night.
b. to stay in the Coachella Valley for the whole duration of the festival.
c. to see a couple of bands perform.

3. The first edition of the festival
a. was praised by critics.
b. made a profit of $850,000.
c. lasted six days.

4. The Coachella Festival became financially successful in
a. 2002.
b. 2003.
c. 2004.

5. At the Coachella Festival
a. one can listen to the bands and the singers using headphones.
b. all stages are indoor.
c. one cannot play loud music late at night.

6. Escape Velocity is
a. a famous astronaut who was invited to the Festival in 2014.
b. the only art installation of the Festival.
c. an interactive installation.

7. Today the Coachella Festival
a. mainly hosts revolutionary artists.
b. is full of influencers and internet celebrities.
c. is less commercial than it once was.

8. According to critics, the Coachella Festival should not promote
a. brands and celebrities.
b. music and art.
c. the concert season.


COMPREHENSION 2
2) Watch the video “The Art of Coachella (Behind the Scenes 2019)” and complete the sentences with the correct alternative. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciEwB-yAxLc 

1. The art installations at Coachella
a. are designed to look cool on your Instagram feed.
b. are made by artists from around the world.
c. are made by local artists such as Sofia Enriquez.

2. Architect Francis Kere designed structures that are meant to
a. look like baobab trees.
b. look like teepees.
c. provide shade to the festivalgoers.

3. According to the reviewer, one of the most bizarre installation is
a. a giant floating astronaut.
b. one where astronaut-hippos try to fly a rocket.
c. the Colossal Cacti.

4. The Spectra
a. is 360 feet high.
b. is very warm inside.
c. offers a view of the entire Coachella Valley.


VOCABULARY 

3) Complete the sentences with the following words. Put the verbs and nouns in the right form, if necessary.
genre  *  to surrender  *  attendee  *  notable  *  curfew  *  to showcase  *  to wander *  indie  *  mainstream  *  decline

1. I went to the art exhibition that ………………………... work of England’s best contemporary artists.
2. There were 200 ………………………... at the conference.
3. Some of Billie Eilish’s most ………………………... songs are: ‘Bad Guy’, ‘My Future’ and ‘Therefore I Am’.
4. We like different movie ………………………...: she likes comedies and thrillers, and I like science fiction and historical dramas.
5. Punk rock became popular in the late 1970s, but it began to ………………………... in the mid-1980s.
6. Writer Jack Kerouac ………………………... around America for many years, going from place to place. He wrote about his travels in his novels.
7. I prefer ………………………... films to the ones made in Hollywood. They have smaller budgets and usually they don’t feature famous actors, but I find that they are more original and artistic.
8. My parents gave me a very strict ……………………….... I’m in trouble if I get home after midnight!
9. The soldiers ………………………... to the enemy. They are now prisoners.
10. Most people like this music: that’s why I call it ……………………….… .


GRAMMAR – Cardinal and ordinal numbers
4) Complete the sentences using the correct cardinal or ordinal numbers in word forms.

1. This year’s Coachella was the ………………………... (21) edition of the festival.
2. Originally, the festival lasted ………………………... (2) days.
3. Italian band Måneskin was the ………………………... (7) band to play on the Mojave stage.
4. Billie Eilish performed on the ………………………... (2) and ………………………... (5) day of the festival.
5. The Coachella Festival is held on consecutive ………………………... (3)-day weekends in April.
6. The ………………………... (4) edition of the Coachella Festival was the ………………………... (1) to make a profit.
7. There are ………………………... (3) YouTube channels that live stream the festival.
8. The first Coachella Festival was held in ………………………... (1999).
9. The ………………………... (6) day of the festival is also the last one.
10. The festival was cancelled in ………………………... (2020) and ………………………... (2021) because of the Covid 19 pandemic.


SHORT ESSAY
5) Who’s your favourite singer (or what’s your favourite band)? Write about him/her and why you like his/her music. (60-80 words)

6) Have you ever been to a concert? Write about your experience. (60-80 words)


DEBATE
7) Pair up with one of your classmates and look at the proposition below; one of you will argue in favour of it and one of you against it.

Proposition: Going to a concert is more fun than going to the cinema or to the theatre.

(Carlo Dellonte)
(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

1 Commenti
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Nives Torresi

16 maggio 2022 alle 12:44

Thank you for providing this resource, it's an excellent authentic English reading comprehension.

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Redazione

18 maggio 2022 alle 10:16 - in risposta a Nives Torresi

Thank you Nives for your feedback! Keep on following us! Our next long articles (in English, German, French and Spanish) will be uploaded in September. The editorial staff

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