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Home / Articles / Music / Music feature /  Five alternatives to Coachella
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Wednesday, Apr 09, 2014

Five alternatives to Coachella

A roundup of musical events happening during and around the festival weekends

By Jeff Terich
music Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

For the next two weekends, tens of thousands of festival-goers will descend upon the Coachella Valley for three days of live music, debauchery and the occasional nude wizard being Tasered by security. And if you’re hoping to join those revelers as they cultivate their sunburns in front of Tupac holograms, let me stop you right here—it’s way too late for that. Tickets sold out three hours after they went on sale, and though you could drop $450 on tickets from Stubhub, it’s worth asking yourself whether Skrillex is really worth that kind of scratch. (Spoiler alert: he’s not.)

But that’s OK—you don’t have to go to Coachella to take advantage of the spillover festivities taking place in Southern California. Much like enjoying SXSW doesn’t require a platinum badge, you don’t actually have to have Coachella tickets to party. Here’s a roundup of Coachella parties and related shows you can enjoy—for a lot less money:

1 Brokechella: One of Coachella’s biggest drawbacks is how costly it is. A weekend pass this year went for $375. But if you’re willing to make a comparable drive for the weekend, you can take in the much more affordable Brokechella on Saturday, April 19, in downtown Los Angeles. The event features a lineup of Southern California bands including L.A. Font, Greenhorse and Kera and the Lesbians. Additionally, there are food trucks, art and other attractions, and it’s so much more affordable than Coachella. Tickets are only $10 at

2 Party in Palm Springs: A lot of people make the trek out to Indio (and splurge on a three-day ticket) for Coachella weekend just for the sake of participating in the region’s biggest live-music party. But if it’s a great weekend party you’re looking for, head over to Palm Springs instead. On Friday, April 11, Saguaro Hotel kicks off two weekends of partying with a performance by the U.K.’s FKA Twigs, plus more to be announced at Meanwhile, The Ace Hotel is hosting Desert Gold, where Festival NRMAL is curating live sets during both Coachella weekends, and acts such as Kindness will be DJing. Almost all of the live goings-on will happen poolside. Go for a dip and soak in some hot beats on the weekends of April 11 through 13 and April 18 through 20. All events are free. Ages 21 and up. RSVP at

3 Desert Daze Festival: It turns out there’s another festival with some bigname acts happening in the desert just after Coachella’s stages are dismantled and the festival grounds go back to being polo fields. A West Coast equivalent to Austin Psych Fest, the Desert Daze Festival, on Saturday, April 26, offers a lineup of noisy and psychedelic bands at Sunset Ranch in Mecca, Calif. The lineup includes Liars, Blonde Redhead, The Raveonettes, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Autolux and Disappears. All ages are welcome; tickets start at $45.

4 Pappy and Harriet’s: Southern California desert-goers already know about Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, a restaurant and music venue situated in the campy ghost town of Pioneertown, just outside of Joshua Tree. There’s not a whole lot else there, but if you’ve got some comfort food, a beer and some great live music, why would you need anything else? On the dates surrounding Coachella, several great bands are playing the venue’s two stages, including Swedish psych-rockers Goat (April 10, indoor stage), alt-rock legends The Afghan Whigs (April 10, outdoor stage) and eclectic Tuareg troupe Tinariwen (April 20, outdoor stage).

5 Keep It Local: When all else fails, there’s always the idea of making the Herculean effort of seeing as many Coachella artists as possible when they come to San Diego. Now, a lot of them aren’t, so if you’re hoping to see, say, Outkast or The Replacements, Coachella is the closest they’re coming. But a few headliners aside, you’ll be able to curate your own local mini-Coachella experience without leaving town or spending as much money. A few artists, like Dum Dum Girls, have already passed through, but there are plenty more on the way. Some of the notable Coachella artists hitting San Diego include City and Colour (Humphreys, April 15), Mogwai (Belly Up, April 15), Temples Drowners (The Casbah, April 16), Bonobo (Belly Up, April 16), Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (The Casbah, April 17), Bombay Bicycle Club (Belly Up, April 17) and Bear Hands (The Casbah, April 18).

Write to jefft@sdcitybeat.comand

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