Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

A member of the Theophilus London band lays down a bass beat.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

A member of Lee Scratch Perry's band takes the stage.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

A Ferris wheel twirls in the darkness as night falls on the first weekend of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Lord Huron performs on the Mojave Stage.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

A guitar stis on the Gobi Stage.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Dub music pioneer Lee "Scratch" Perry performs on the Mojave Stage during the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Biffy Clyro performs on the main stage.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

How To Destroy Angels performs.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

A hippopotamus character stands in the window of The Coachella Power Station, a performance art piece.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Tommy Gerot, 22, wears a feather boa at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Workers put together the Do Lab stage and surroundings in the center of the Empire Polo Grounds in Indio.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Winds kick up and create dusty conditions late in the afternoon.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

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Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival | A visual melody

Editors note: Times photojournalist Luis Sinco covered the first weekend of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio. The festival continues this weekend.

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is a visual melody for photographers. Hundreds of artists playing on a cluster of stages over two weekends for some 120,000-plus people letting their collective freak flag fly. Really, it’s as close as it gets to a can’t-miss.

Memory gets fuzzy amid the clouds of billowing pot smoke, but my mind drifts to 1976, when I was a rock-crazed teen watching Fleetwood Mac at the Seattle Coliseum. Pressed against the barricades and barely able to breathe, I made eye contact with Stevie Nicks and the landslide brought me down.

For me, that’s what performance and event photography is all about: catching a millisecond and connecting it to memory. Coachella is a window to fleeting images filled with youthful exuberance and joy — an event that, for several chaotic days in the spring, unfolds on a patch of green in the desert.

Standing in the middle of the Empire Polo Grounds, enveloped in walls of jumbled sound powered by thunderbolts of amplified electricity, it can be overwhelming.  Hordes of people walk by in an uninhibited parade of humanity, floating in the din from the music machine.

A performance art piece called “The Coachella Power Station” appeared to mock the festival itself, and the enormous amount of energy to produce it. Characters wearing industrial white jumpsuits and giant hippopotamus heads danced inside a small building beneath a pair of smoking stacks, pretending to work the station’s controls.

As usual, the weather was a challenge. We started with fair conditions and mild heat, but got hit with high winds and choking dust on the last day.  I shot countless frames. The days measured out in stage times and newspaper deadlines, and stretched into the wee hours after the music stopped as we moved images for the Web and worked the social media.

Coachella is excess in many forms, prompting some to wonder whether we are too self-aware and self-absorbed today. Yeah, maybe. But it was a lot like that for my generation — people trying to be in the moment and forever young.

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Highlights from Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival 2013.

Faces of Coachella 2013.

Full coverage throughout the weekend from our team of reporters and photographers can be found at Pop & Hiss, the Times’ pop music blog.

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