INDIO, CALIF.— As usual, the buzzy Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, which wrapped up its second weekend on Sunday, grabbed plenty of headlines—and sparked plenty of Instagram posts. From Kanye West’s Easter service and the festival’s first AR-equipped stage to Childish Gambino and Ariana Grande’s headlining sets (the latter complete with a surprise ‘NSync reunion), the festival’s roughly 250,000 attendees had plenty to keep them entertained at the Empire Polo Fields this year.
But Coachella has grown well beyond its musical acts, of course. The weekends—which this year took place April 12 to 14 and April 19 to 21—consistently draw a who’s-who of celebrities and influencers to the desert each year, and big-name brands have certainly taken notice. More and more fashion, beauty, tech, and luxury brands continue to host colorful, attention-grabbing parties, lounges, activations, and hotel takeovers both on and off festival grounds.
From a beauty-theme gas station to jetpack acrobatics to a hotel pool deck decorated with 1,000 watermelons, scroll down to see 31 creative ways brands generated buzz, pampered guests, and helped craft that perfect Instagram shot. (And keep an eye on bizbash.com for even
more design inspiration from the festival later this week.)
YSL Beauty Station
The activation had branded hot pink gas pumps and gasoline cans.
Photo: Matt Lara for AKJOHNSTON Group Absolut Planet
HP’s Antartica Dome
Manifold created a series of colorful lounge seating areas, including a photo-friendly neon palm garden. Other highlights included a scent shop, where attendees could blend oils to make their own fragrances, plus DJ sets from Simi & Haze and Siobhan Bell. As a giveaway, guests were given a festival kit that included sunscreen, a portable phone charger, COVL bandanas, and more.
Photo: Courtesy of Manifold American Express Card Member Lounge
American Express hosted its Card Member Lounge on festival grounds during both weekends. The bright, blue-and-white space offered drinks, charging stations, sneaker cleaning from Jason Markk, and nail art by Britney Tokyo. Card members who visited the lounge could also get a free ride on the Ferris wheel, plus complimentary monogram embroidery.
Photo: Zack Whitford/BFA.com American Express Platinum House
Marriott Bonvoy Lounge
YouTube’s Artist Lounge
Adidas Sport Club
On April 12, Adidas held a welcome barbecue hosted by ex-pro football player Von Miller and chef Eddie Huang; the day included a three-point shootout on a branded basketball court.
Photo: Courtesy of Adidas Calvin Klein’s #MyCalvins House
To celebrate the brand’s spring 2019 line, Calvin Klein’s festival activation was a multi-sensory experience inspired by a 1970s-style house. Attendees could go through various rooms, including a branded bathroom, a walk-in closet with Calvin Klein clothing, and a bedroom with a mirrored ceiling for a unique photo op.
Photo: Zack Whitford/BFA.com
The “house” also allowed guests to climb through a window onto a mock rooftop, where large LED screens created 360-degree views of virtual landscapes.
Photo: Zack Whitford/BFA.com Republic Records Class of 2019 Celebration
Republic Records hosted its annual Coachella event on April 14 at Zenyara Estate. Sponsored by CîROC, Lyft, Marriott Bonvoy, and Blade, the party had a step-and-repeat made from greenery, florals, and wood, and drew attendees such as Blueface, Jacquees, Liam Payne, and Max Martin.
Photo: Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Republic Records NYX Professional Makeup’s Glitter Trip Lounge
Create & Cultivate Desert Pop-Up
In addition to flower-filled photo stations, live music, and beauty treatments, the day also included mini pop-ups from brands such as Express, Supergoop!, LaCroix, and Chandon.
Photo: Angelica Marie Photography Ace Hotel’s Desert Gold
Also at the Ace Hotel was Desert Gold, now in its 11th year. Taking place both weekends, the event offered guided meditation, live performances, a comedy night, and more. A highlight was “Quartet,” a series of musical compositions generated by the electronic impulses produced by plants. Using a MIDI controller, the collaboration between Moog, Data Garden, and Dublab allowed listeners to monitor the plants’ subtle biorhythms.
Photo: Courtesy of Ace Hotel & Swim Club The Zoe Report’s ZOEasis
Aston Martin and Waldorf Astoria Activation
Amazon Prime Video’s Guava Island Premiere
Amazon Prime Video hosted the premiere of its film Guava Island on festival grounds on April 11. Drawing cast and crew members including Donald Glover and director Hiro Murai, the event aimed to transport guests to the movie’s tropical world.
Photo: Courtesy of Amazon Prime Video Bootsy Bellows Pool Party
On April 13, Bootsy Bellows hosted its seventh annual pool party with presenting sponsors McDonald’s and PacSun. The buzzy party, which drew the likes of Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Idris Elba, and Wiz Khalifa, included several photo-friendly sponsor activations.
Photo: Courtesy of Mike Nguyen TAO x Revolve’s Desert Nights
In addition to its ultra-exclusive daytime Revolve Festival, clothing retailer Revolve teamed up with TAO Group for an after-hours party on April 12 that drew the likes of Paris Hilton, Diddy, and Cuba Gooding Jr. The event included speciality cocktails from Casamigos, a cannabis bar from Al Harrington’s Viola, a luxury cognac room curated by Remy Martin, and more. Guests entered the event through a series of floral archways.
Photo: Al Powers/Powers Imagery for TAO Group CÎROC Summer House
Over 1,000 watermelons were placed throughout the property as decor.
Photo: Jennifer Johnson Deep Space’s Deep in the Desert Party
Held at a private estate in Indio on April 13, Deep Space Productions’ “Deep in the Desert” party had the feel of an Ibizan villa, with a private beach, a swimming pond, and oversize pool floats. It featured a performance by DJ Erick Morillo and liquor sponsorship from Dolce Vita and American Born. Deep Space Productions handled production in-house, with support from Next&Neat.
Photo: Sara Khalid Amazon Lockers
For the first time this year, festivalgoers could get same-day delivery to Coachella grounds through Amazon. Also new this year: Attendees could pre-order food and alcohol through Postmates, available on the official festival app.
Photo: Courtesy of Amazon Neon Carnival
One of the most high-profile Coachella-related events was the 10th edition of the Neon Carnival, an 8,000-attendee dance party created by nightlife maven Brent Bolthouse. The Levi’s-sponsored, carnival-theme event took over HITS Desert Horse Park on April 13, and had a Pokémon: Detective Pikachu-branded Ferris wheel.
Photo: Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for Neon Carnival