2019 Tribeca Film Festival: The Apollo Provides a Soul-Stirring Tribute to the Iconic Sanctuary for Blackness

Along with premiering some of what are guaranteed to be the year’s most acclaimed on-camera projects, Tribeca Film Festival is also an industry who’s who and a great place for actors and creators to both learn and network. But, because the programming slate is so stacked, it can be hard to parse what’s absolutely essential. We’re here to help with this breakdown of a few of the absolute can’t-miss events to get to while the festival is on from April 24 to May 5.

Multi-hyphenate extraordinaire Rashida Jones will sit down for a lengthy and intimate discussion of her career as well as her life growing up in the home of Hollywood royalty. The talk will be held at the Stella Artois Theatre @ TPAC on May 1 at 6 p.m.

Head to the Stella Artois Theatre @ TPAC on April 26 at 6 p.m. for “The Good, the Bad, the Hungry,” a world premiere documentary directed by Nicole Lucas Haimes. This depiction of honor, tradition, and fortitude follows one of America’s most competitive traditions: the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. (Perhaps don’t arrive on an empty stomach.) 

Based on the 2013 Tribeca-winning documentary, “The Kill Team” takes on the true story of Private Andrew Briggman, the infantryman in Afghanistan who found himself in the throes of conspiracy of violence against civilians. Written and directed by Dan Krauss, the feature comes courtesy of A24 and stars Alexander Skarsgård, Adam Long, and others.

Head to the Virtual Arcade for “Where There’s Smoke,” a two-part immersive experience, blending documentary with theater and escape room to explore the notions of memory and loss. Participants, positioned within the aftermath of a blaze, must work together to determine the cause of a fire. This world premiere was created by Lance Weiler. 

The world premiere of “Wig” boasts some heavy-hitting producing talent including the likes of Neil Patrick Harris and Michael Mayer, and documents the once-dead drag festival Wigstock. Exploring the festival’s origin with rare archival footage as well as delving into contemporary drag, the piece—and HBO Documentary Film—will feature Lady Bunny, Naomi Smalls, Harris, and more. And after the premiere screening, stay put for a special drag performance by Lady Bunny herself.

A view of the signage at the “The Apollo” screening during the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival on April 24, 2019 in New York City.

The 18th Tribeca Film Festival invited its attendees to the beautiful blackness of Harlem for its opening night film, The Apollo. Naturally, the documentary screening was held at its namesake theater.

I had the honor of attending opening night, and by extension, I had the honor of stepping into The Apollo Theater for the very first time in my life. Following the natural chaos known as the red carpet, I made an intention to take a moment and breathe in the spirits of each black performer and of each black patron who had found a joyful safe space there.

Then it was time for the long-awaited documentary’s curtain rise.

Per The Apollo’s press release:

The film chronicles the 85-year history and legacy of the famed New York City landmark, The Apollo Theater. Directed by Academy and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams, the documentary showcases archival footage, music, comedy and dance performances plus behind-the-scenes moments with the theater’s staff as well as interviews with artists including Patti LaBelle, Pharrell Williams, Smokey Robinson, and Jamie Foxx. The stage production of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Meframes the film and the way in which The Apollo explores the current struggle of black lives in America and the role that art plays in that struggle.

Documentarian and helmer Williams not only gifts his audience with limited-access archival footage, but offers an impressive invitation to the core of the theater—the Harlem residents who surround it. Accompanied by a beautiful score composed by Grammy winner Robert Glasper, a symphony of slow-motion frames showcases the faces of hardened residents in a gorgeous and humanizing display. You’re so close, you can see their pores. Clearly intentional.

The Apollo Theater has proudly boasted that it is the home of where “stars are born and legends are made.” And rightfully so, as the theater—opened as The Apollo in 1934—served as the sanctuary against white-only establishments in New York City such as The Cotton Club. The Apolloprovides an inside-look into many original performances such as young Ella Fitzgerald’s incomparable scat, Billie Holiday’s sobering rendition of “Strange Fruit,” the lithe movements of a sexy Eartha Kitt, the hilarious comedic stylings of Red Foxx, and the amazing Motown revue featuring footage from Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, The Supremes, little Stevie Wonder, and The Temptations.

Plus, there are special treats such as the theater’s first manager, Frank Schiffman and his infamous theater cards, which (hilariously) assessed each performer who graced the stage. Or Mr. Apollo himself, the eccentric Billy Mitchell, as he takes curious fans—young and old alike—on a tour backstage, including the “Wall of Legends.”

“I hope [the audience] learns who and what The Apollo is,” Smokey Robinson told The Root. “Because it is tradition and should always be. It should always be standing. Let ‘em tear down everything else around it, [but] let this keep standing. Especially for black music.”

“The moment that me and CeCe [Winans] were standing on the side of the stage getting ready to be introduced, [we were] just looking at each other and said, ‘Can you believe this?’” BeBe Winans told The Root about his fondest memory performing on the iconic stage with his sister.

And of course, there was Amateur Night, where aspiring stars held their breaths before rubbing that Tree (Stump) of Hope and standing in the spotlight toward the 1,500-odd seats filled with leering audience members.

Co-founder, CEO, and executive chair of Tribeca Enterprises Jane Rosenthal, and Robert De Niro speak at the “The Apollo” screening during the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival on April 24, 2019 in New York City.

As noted in the documentary, people came to The Apollo Theater on Amateur Night to boo folks—a 13-year-old Lauryn Hill performing a cover of The Jackson’ 5's “Who’s Loving You” can attest to that—akin to a tough-love hazing on campus (an apt analogy as the theater was repeatedly referred to as “a campus” in the film). On the flip-side, there were jaw-dropping moments like Bianca Graham’s cover of Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing.” Williams grants the audience with a backstage pass to it all.

“We often talk about The Apollo’s legacy,” Jonelle Procope, president and CEO of The Apollo, told The Root. “It was a place of opportunity. It created opportunities for black artists who couldn’t perform anywhere else—people say to me ‘Oh my god, it launched the careers of all of these legends!’ When they were on The Apollo stage, they were just performers who wanted the opportunity. So, fast forward—that’s what The Apollo’s about, that’s what’s in our DNA. And today, we’re still pushing the envelope, creating opportunities for emerging talent and what we want to do now is to establish a 21st century canon for the performing arts that focuses on the African and African-American diaspora narrative.”

“It’s the beginning of it all,” Pharrell muses in the first few frames of the documentary.

And then there was the end. The doc chronicles the decline of the beloved theater, as well as the restoration by Percy E. Sutton through his firm Inner City Broadcasting and the subsequent purchase by the city of New York (which catapulted the birth of the non-profit Apollo Theater Foundation). From footage of the marquee displaying those dreading two words, “The End,” to the overjoyed faces of Harlem residents during the theater’s triumphant comeback, The Apollo takes the audience on the very emotional rollercoaster fans and founders alike were faced with riding.

“In these disturbing times, when the administration is promoting divisiveness and racism, we’re making a statement by being here tonight that we reject it,” he said. “No, you don’t! Not in this house, not on this stage!” Tribeca co-founder Robert De Niro exclaimed onstage during the opening remarks with his festival partner, Jane Rosenthal.

Not on this stage, indeed. In fact, what does happen on the stage is a reclaiming of power by black bodies who have faced—and still face—the struggles of oppression, through the unrelenting force of art. Along with providing a much-needed history lesson, The Apollo invites its audience along the journey of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me, adapted for the stage by Kamilah Forbes. Coates’ acclaimed book asks (himself andus) the question, “What do you tell your black son in the age of Trayvon Martin?” Whether it’s Morocco Omari (Empire) or Angela Bassett, Williams gives the audience a sneak peek into the visceral process of a black actor reciting the rage, pain and reckoning of their ancestors, their family, their friends, and themselves. 

Above all, The Apollo was black. “Black black black black black,” as expressed in a rehearsal of a passage from Coates’ book.

Following the screening, singer Alice Smith took the stage, providing the audience with a performance of two songs, including an intoxicating cover of “I Put a Spell On You.

The entire experience rendered me speechless. After Smith sauntered offstage, I sat in my chair digesting the magnificence I just experienced and thought, “Wow.”

“I don’t care if you’re black or white, you can’t watch the story of our struggle, hear the beauty of our music, and not feel something,” Williams told The Root.

With The Apollo, you will feel something. You will feel everything.

The Apollo will be released on HBO later this year.

Color film was built for white people. Here's what it did to dark skin.

The biased film was fixed in the 1990s, so why do so many photos still distort darker skin?

For decades, the color film available to consumers was built for white people. The chemicals coating the film simply weren't adequate to capture a diversity of darker skin tones. And the photo labs established in the 1940s and 50s even used an image of a white woman, called a Shirley card, to calibrate the colors for printing:

Concordia University professor Lorna Roth has researched the evolution of skin tone imaging. She explained in a 2009 paper how the older technology distorted the appearance of black subjects:

Problems for the African-American community, for example, have included reproduction of facial images without details, lighting challenges, and ashen-looking facial skin colours contrasted strikingly with the whites of eyes and teeth.

How this would affect non-white people seemingly didn't occur to those who designed and operated the photo systems. In an essay for Buzzfeed, writer and photographer Syreeta McFadden described growing up with film that couldn't record her actual appearance:

The inconsistencies were so glaring that for a while, I thought it was impossible to get a decent picture of me that captured my likeness. I began to retreat from situations involving group photos. And sure, many of us are fickle about what makes a good portrait. But it seemed the technology was stacked against me. I only knew, though I didn’t understand why, that the lighter you were, the more likely it was that the camera — the film — got your likeness right.

Many of the technological biases have since been corrected (though, not all of them, as explained in the video above). Still, we often see controversies about the misrepresentation of non-white subjects in magazines and advertisements. What are we to make of the fact that these images routinely lighten the skin of women of color?

Tools are only as good as the people who use them. The learned preference for lighter skin is ubiquitous in many parts of the world, and it starts early. That's an infinitely tougher problem than improving the color range of photo technology.

David Attenborough climate change TV show a 'call to arms'

Sir David Attenborough's new BBC documentary on climate change has been praised by TV critics.
Climate Change - The Facts, shown on BBC One on Thursday, was a "rousing call to arms", said the Guardian.

In a four-star review, the Times said the veteran presenter "took a sterner tone... as though his patience was nearly spent".

Sir David, 92, has called global warming "our greatest threat in thousands of years".

In its review, The Arts Desk said: "Devastating footage of last year's climactic upheavals makes surreal viewing.

"While Earth has survived radical climactic changes and regenerated following mass extinctions, it's not the destruction of Earth that we are facing, it's the destruction of our familiar, natural world and our uniquely rich human culture.

"In the 20 years since I first started talking about the impact of climate change on our world, conditions have changed far faster than I ever imagined," Sir David said in the film.

Image caption Climate change protesters have closed off central London since Monday 

"It may sound frightening, but the scientific evidence is that if we have not taken dramatic action within the next decade, we could face irreversible damage to the natural world and the collapse of our societies." 

In a glowing review, the Telegraph called the title of the documentary "robust" and praised the use of Sir David in the central role.

"At a time when public debate seems to be getting ever more hysterical," it said, "it's good to be presented with something you can trust. And we all trust Attenborough."

"Sir David Attenborough might as well be narrating a horror film," wrote the FT

"A panoply of profs line up to explain that the science on climate change is now unequivocal, never mind the brief clip of Donald Trump prating: 'It's a hoax, it's a hoax, OK'."

But it added: "Fortunately for our nerves the last 20 minutes focuses on what needs to be - and can be - done on an international and personal level."

Sir David's concern over the impacts of climate change has become a major focus for the naturalist in recent years and has been a theme of his Our Planet series on Netflix

The new BBC programme has a strong emphasis on hope with Sir David arguing that if dramatic action is taken over the next decade, then the world can keep temperatures from rising more than 1.5C this century, limiting the scale of the damage.

Lake Chad: Can the vanishing lake be saved?

Lake Chad - a source of water to millions of people in West Africa - has shrunk by nine-tenths due to climate change, population growth and irrigation. But can a scheme dating back to the 1980s save it?

"It's a ridiculous plan and it will never happen." That's the reaction many people have to the idea of trying to fill up Lake Chad and restore it to its former ocean-like glory by diverting water from the Congo river system 2,400km (1,500 miles) away. 

Sceptics in Nigeria, who have seen successive governments fail even to make the lights work, wonder if the region's politicians have nodded off and have been dreaming a little too hard. 

But the government ministers and engineers who were recently sipping mineral water in the capital, Abuja, at the International Conference on Lake Chad had good reason to be thinking outside the box.


Lake Chad has shrunk by 90% since the 1960s, due to climate change, an increase in the population and unplanned irrigation. Its basin covers parts of Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon, and has been a water source for between 20 million and 30 million people.

But with the desert encroaching further every year, it is getting increasingly difficult for families to make a living through agriculture, fishing and livestock farming. The UN says 10.7 million people in the Lake Chad basin need humanitarian relief to survive.

"We used to pass fields of maize on our way to the lake and there were vast numbers of boats bobbing up and down on the water back then, and huge fish markets," says Bale Bura, who grew up by the lake in the 1970s and now works for the Lake Chad Fishermen's Association.
Image caption Transaqua would cost tens of billions of dollars to build 

Now far fewer farmers are able to earn a living on the mineral-rich but bone-dry shores. 

This is one reason why the delegates in Abuja decided to dust off a scheme first mooted back in 1982 by the Italian engineering company Bonifica Spa. 

It came up with Transaqua - a plan to construct a 2,400km (1,500 mile) canal to transfer water from the upstream tributaries of the mighty Congo River all the way to the Chari River basin, which feeds Lake Chad. 
'Deafening silence'

It proposed the transfer of up to 100 billion cubic metres (3.5 trillion cubic feet) of water a year and featured a series of dams along the route to generate electricity.

"I sent one of our engineers to the USA, to purchase the only reliable maps of Africa, which were made by the US Air Force and were the only maps with contour lines," says Marcello Vichi, the Italian engineer who was asked to look into the idea during the early 1980s.

"After a couple of months of solitary study, I announced to the then chief executive that this thing could be done."

He says 500 copies of the plans were sent out in 1985 to government representatives of every African country, as well as international financial agencies.

"The response was a deafening silence," he adds. 

But more than three decades later, minds are finally focusing on the lake's shrinkage, prompted by its link to the deadly geopolitical crises of Islamist militancy and migration.

Image caption Boko Haram recently seized more than 100 schoolgirls, before releasing most of 
them a month later 

In 2014, I headed out of the north-east Nigerian city of Maiduguri towards Lake Chad in a new minibus. There were armoured vehicles in front as well as behind, and right next to me was a Nigerian soldier - fast asleep. Our destination was Kirenawa, the latest village that the marauding Boko Haram jihadists had terrorised. 

As the road became steadily sandier, we entered a long-neglected area, passing the faded signs of abandoned government projects in ever hotter and sleepier villages. 

Buildings had been torched and people had been left terrified, watching as others were killed in front of them.

In all the villages, people complained there was nothing for young people to do, nothing to dream of except getting out. 
'Ugly kinds of jobs'

It had become a perfect recruiting ground for the Islamist militants. The offer of a little cash and the promise of some training and a gun persuaded many to join. 

Of course, Lake Chad's decline is not the sole reason for the rise of violent extremism - a number of factors including poor governance have also played a role - but there is clearly a link. 

"I know many young people from my own village who got into these ugly kinds of jobs," Mr Bura says. 

As if the delegates gathering in Abuja last month needed reminding of how dire the security situation had become, more than 100 schoolgirls had just been seized from Dapchi, Nigeria.

At the meeting, it was agreed that Bonifica and PowerChina, the company that helped build the Three Gorges dam spanning the Yangtze River, would complete a feasibility study. They announced that the effort to raise $50bn (£35bn) for the Lake Chad Fund should begin immediately.


Bonifica says its plan will use less than 8% of the water the Congo River discharges into the Atlantic and would not be a threat to the Democratic Republic of Congo's continuing Grand Inga Dam project, which would create the world's largest hydropower generator if it is completed.

Further engineering work would be needed to enable the Chari River to handle the increased flow of water. The project can be done in a staggered way, with each completed stage immediately adding to the flow of water into the Lake Chad basin. 

Other options that have been considered include one which involves pumping the water uphill from Palambo, in the Central African Republic.

As well as the funding challenge for Transaqua, there will be resistance from environmental campaigners to overcome. And even carrying out the feasibility study properly requires peace.

Chinese media has reported the transfer canal would be 100m (328ft) wide and 10m (33ft) deep and would be flanked by a service road and eventually a rail line. 

"It is a project which responds to the never-tackled infrastructural needs of the African continent, which maybe will give birth to a real African renaissance," says Mr Vichi, who sees all along the route of the canal vast potential for agro-processing and transforming agricultural products for African and foreign markets.

Ministers know life is likely to get ever tougher for the people who live around Lake Chad. That's why they are paying attention to the plans to bring it back to life.

Will Ross

World Press Photo 2019: Image of crying toddler wins

The winners of the World Press Photo 2019 contest have been announced, selected from over 78,000 photos taken by 4,738 photographers.

Warning: contains images that some may find distressing.

The winning image is by John Moore showing Honduran toddler Yanela Sanchez crying as she and her mother, Sandra Sanchez, are taken into custody by US border officials in McAllen, Texas, USA.

The photo was taken in June 2018 and is entitled Crying Girl on the Border.

Moore, a senior staff photographer for Getty Images, said: "I think this image touched many people's hearts, as it did mine, because it humanises a larger story.

"When you see Yanela's face, and she is more than two years old now, you really see the humanity and the fear of making such a long journey and crossing a border in the dead of night."

After the photo was seen all around the world, US Customs and Border Protection confirmed that Yanela and her mother had not been among the thousands who had been separated by US officials.

But public outcry over the controversial practice resulted in President Donald Trump reversing the policy on 20 June.

Five other photos were nominated as finalists in the contest, seen below.
Victims of an Alleged Gas Attack Receive Treatment in Eastern Ghouta, by Mohammed Badra.

 Image copyright Mohammed Badra / European Pressphoto Agency

Mohammed Badra, of European Pressphoto Agency, took this photo in February 2018 after a suspected gas attack on al-Shifunieh, Eastern Ghouta, Syria.

The people of Eastern Ghouta had been under siege by government forces for five years. 

Akashinga - the Brave Ones, by Brent Stirton.

Image copyright Brent Stirton, Getty Images 

Brent Stirton's photo shows Petronella Chigumbura, 30, a member of an all-female anti-poaching unit called Akashinga, participating in stealth and concealment training in the Phundundu Wildlife Park, Zimbabwe.

Akashinga, meaning the brave ones, is a ranger force established as an alternative conservation model, which aims to work with, rather than against local populations, for the long-term benefits of their communities and the environment. 

The Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, by Chris McGrath.

Image copyright Chris McGrath, Getty Images 

A critic of the Saudi regime, journalist Jamal Khashoggi went missing after entering the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on 2 October, 2018.

After weeks of false information, Saudi Arabia announced that Mr Khashoggi had been killed accidentally during a fight. Turkish authorities and the CIA claimed he had been murdered by Saudi intelligence operatives.

Chris McGrath's photo shows an unidentified man trying to hold back the press as Saudi investigators arrive at the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul on 15 October. 

Being Pregnant After FARC Child-Bearing Ban, by Catalina Martin-Chico.

Image copyright Catalina Martin-Chico / Panos 

Catalina Martin-Chico photographed Yorladis, seen pregnant for the sixth time.

Yorladis' previous pregnancies were terminated during her years as a guerrilla for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Colombia's largest rebel group.

Pregnancy was thought to be incompatible with guerrilla life and women were obliged to leave babies with relatives or, some say, have forced abortions - a charge which FARC denies.

Since the signing of a peace agreement between the Colombian government and the FARC rebel movement in 2016, there has been a baby boom among former female guerrillas. 

Almajiri Boy, by Marco Gualazzini.

Image copyright Marco Gualazzini / Contrasto 

Marco Gualazzini captured a shot of an orphaned boy in Bol, Chad, walking past a wall with drawings depicting rocket-propelled grenade launchers.

The image is part of the documentation of the humanitarian crisis in the Chad Basin, caused by a combination of political conflict and environmental factors.

Lake Chad, once one of Africa's largest lakes and a lifeline to 40 million people, is experiencing massive desertification, shrinking by nine-tenths due to climate change, population growth and irrigation. 

In another category, Pieter Ten Hoopen won the World Press Photo Story of the Year award for his series entitled The Migrant Caravan. 

Image copyright Pieter Ten Hoopen, Agence Vu/Civilian Act 

Hoopen documented a group of migrants in October and November 2018 travelling to the US border from Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala.

The travellers were escaping political repression, violence and harsh economic conditions.

In this image, a father and son are sleeping in Juchitán after a long day of walking. 

Image copyright Pieter Ten Hoopen, Agence Vu/Civilian Act 

Hoopen photographed families bathing, washing clothes and relaxing beside the Rio Novillero, 
while the caravan took a day to rest near Tapanatepec, Mexico. 

Image copyright Pieter Ten Hoopen, Agence Vu/Civilian Act

A girl picks flowers during a walk from Tapanatepec to Niltepec, a distance of 50km (31 miles). 

Image copyright Pieter Ten Hoopen, Agence Vu/Civilian Act 

Here is a selection of other nominees and winners from this year's contest.
Contemporary Issues, third prize: Afghan Refugees Waiting to Cross the Iranian Border, by Asadi.


Image copyright Enayat Asadi Image caption An Afghan refugee comforts his companion while waiting for transport across the eastern border of Iran on 27 July 2018. 

Nature, second prize: Meet Bob, by Jasper Doest.

Image copyright Jasper Doest Image caption Bob, a rescued Caribbean flamingo, lives among humans on the Dutch island of Curaçao. During rehabilitation, it was discovered that he had become so used to humans that he would not survive if returned to the wild. 

Portraits, first prize: Dakar Fashion, by Finbarr O'Reilly.

Image copyright Finbarr O'Reilly Image caption Diarra Ndiaye, Ndeye Fatou Mbaye and Mariza Sakho model outfits by designer Adama Paris, in the Medina neighbourhood of the Senegalese capital Dakar, as residents look on. 

General News, second prize: Still Life Volcano, by Daniele Volpe.

Image copyright Daniele Volpe Image caption The living room of an abandoned home in San Miguel Los Lotes, Guatemala, lies covered in ash after the eruption of Volcán de Fuego on 3 June 2018. 

Environment, third prize:
Living Among What's Left Behind, by Mário Cruz from Portugal / United Photo Press.

  Image copyright Mario Cruz Image caption A child who collects recyclable material lies on a mattress surrounded by rubbish floating on the Pasig River in Manila, Philippines. 

The winners and finalists can be seen in a touring exhibition, which opened in Amsterdam on 13th April.

You can view the full set of prize-winning images at www.worldpressphoto.org.

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival 2019

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (commonly referred to as Coachella or the Coachella Festival) is an annual music and arts festival held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, located in the Inland Empire's Coachella Valley in the Colorado Desert. It was co-founded by Paul Tollett and Rick Van Santen in 1999, and is organized by Goldenvoice, a subsidiary of AEG Live.
The event features musical artists from many genres of music, including rock, pop, indie, hip hop, and electronic dance music, as well as art installations and sculptures. Across the grounds, several stages continuously host live music. The main stages are the: Coachella Stage, Outdoor Theatre, Gobi Tent, Mojave Tent, and Sahara Tent; a smaller Oasis Dome was used in 2006 and 2011, while a new Yuma stage was introduced in 2013 and a Sonora stage in 2017.

The festival's origins trace back to a 1993 concert that Pearl Jam performed at the Empire Polo Club while boycotting venues controlled by Ticketmaster. The show validated the site's viability for hosting large events, leading to the inaugural Coachella Festival being held over the course of two days in October 1999—just three months after Woodstock '99. After no event was held in 2000, Coachella returned on an annual basis beginning in April 2001, as a single-day event. In 2002, the festival reverted to a two-day format. Coachella was expanded to a third day in 2007 and eventually a second weekend in 2012; it is currently held on consecutive three-day weekends in April, with each weekend having identical lineups. Organizers began permitting spectators to camp on the grounds in 2003, one of several expansions and additions of amenities that have been made in the festival's history.

Coachella showcases popular and established musical artists, as well as emerging artists and reunited groups. Coachella is one of the largest, most famous, and most profitable music festivals in the United States and all over the world. Each Coachella staged from 2013 to 2015 set new records for festival attendance and gross revenues. The 2017 festival was attended by 250,000 people and grossed $114.6 million. The success of Coachella led to Goldenvoice establishing two additional music festivals at the site, the classic rock-oriented Desert Trip in 2016, and the annual Stagecoach country music festival in 2007.


Two art installations from Coachella 2014: Lightweaver and Escape Velocity. The latter piece was one of several giant moving art installations designed by Poetic Kinetics for past Coachella festivals.

In addition to hosting live music, Coachella is a showcase for visual arts, including installation art and sculpture. Many of the pieces are interactive, providing a visual treat for attendees. Throughout the years, the art has grown in scale and outrageousness. Paul Clemente, Coachella's art director since 2009, said, "I think the level of detail and finish and artistry and scale and complexity and technology, everything is constantly getting notched up, ratcheted up. We're obviously constantly trying to, for lack of a better word, (to) outdo ourselves and make it better for the fans."

In Coachella's early years, art was mostly recycled from the previous year's Burning Man festival, due to smaller budgets. Between 2010 and 2015, Goldenvoice shifted its focus from renting pieces to commissioning them specifically for the festival, increasing their budget. Artists are given access to the grounds just 10 days before the festival, giving them a tight timeframe in which to assemble their pieces. Due to the high cost of re-assembly, only about half of them appear again outside of Coachella. Describing the festival's importance to art, Cynthia Washburn of art collective Poetic Kinetics said, "With all the exposure here, I think Coachella is becoming as attractive for artists as it is for the musicians. In 2013, Clemente considered about 300 art proposals, the most in the festival's history for the time. Poetic Kinetics has designed several giant moving art installations for past Coachella festivals, including a snail in 2013, an astronaut in 2014, and a caterpillar that "metamorphosized" into a butterfly in 2015.

Some of the works have been featured at Art Basel, and involved participants from architecture schools, both local and international. A few of the visual artists, such as Hotshot the Robot, Robochrist Industries, the Tesla Coil (Cauac), Cyclecide, and The Do LaB, alongside avant-garde performance troupe Lucent Dossier Experience, have appeared for several consecutive years. Poster artist Emek has produced limited edition posters every year since 2007.