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Written and Photographed by Anais Fuentes

Beaming down from the sky with blistering heat, sun rays cover the Empire Polo Fields in Indio, California. This isolated desert area, about a dozen miles away from Palm Springs, is normally a quiet and simple town. However, every year around the month of April, it transforms into a unique place where a crossbreed of individuals from all over the United States gather together to appreciate the beauty of music.

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is a three-day music and arts festival that draws more than eighty thousand people to Indio’s scorching desert every year for what many consider to be an unforgettable weekend of music, dancing, and partying.

It is not even mid-day on Friday, April 18th, and sweat has begun to accumulate on the crowd of people at weekend two of Coachella. The fiery desert weather is just another factor that makes this festival what it is.

This was my third year attending the festival, and as expected, it was as special as the first two. The magic of the festival is hard to put into words–it is like paradise in the desert and I will never forget the experiences I’ve had here.

IMG_9422 1This year, the festival grounds were covered with 5 massive outdoor stages and one indoor stage. Different visual arts and installation art also appeared throughout the festival, such as a giant nomadic astronaut, and a tall red robot that roamed the grounds throughout the three days.

About two hundred different musicians played at the festival, with surprise guests who were not on the line up such as Jay-Z and Usher. With so many musicians playing, and many of them playing at the same times, choosing who you want to see can be one of the more difficult and conflicting aspects of the festival.

Once the intense sun sets over the distant mountains and the desert haze begins to fill the valley, the five stages become illuminated with bright flashing lights that radiate on the passionate crowd.

Cody LaBoy,a SF State student is a Coachella veteran. Attending the festival for the fourth time this year, he talks about what Coachella means to him. “I have been to Coachella in ‘07, which was the first time they did all three days and it was a lot of fun. I also went in ’09 and ‘13. It is always nice to be out here in the desert, it’s very special.”

To the thousands of people that gather annually to celebrate in the festivities of Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Indio Valley goes from being a small,desolate town to becoming a paradise in the desert.