Nestled deep within the polo fields of Indio, CA lies a beacon, a wet and wild oasis filled with funky beats and endless good times – otherwise known as the Do LaB stage at Coachella. Founded in 2000, the festival culture masterminds otherwise known as Do LaB have succeeded in becoming one of the leaders of festival culture in North America. Aside from the fact that Do LaB brings forth good vibes, cutting edge lineups (on top of Coachella’s already stellar lineup), and breathtaking art installations, most people know Do LaB as the curators of festivals like Lightning in a Bottle, Woogie Weekend, and Dirtybird Campout. The partnership between Coachella and Do LaB started 13 years ago, and since then the Do LaB stage has evolved into a true festival within a festival.
The Do LaB has undergone a metamorphosis while at Coachella, originally starting as a renegade stage right in the middle of the venue. Due to some complaints of sound bleed between stages, the Do LaB was moved to a farther corner of the venue, truly making it feel like you’re entering a whole different world. The stage itself has transformed as well – from the Treepees and The Cloud set up of Coachella 2013 to the combination of Eeperts and The Towers for Coachella 2014 to the Big Fish of Coachella 2015 and 2016, and now the Beacon of Coachella 2017. Every year, one of the best surprises and highlights of the festival is seeing what the Do LaB’s design is, because it is constantly changing. Though the face of the Do LaB may change, their ethos is always the same – human connection, art as transformative experience, and environmental sustainability.
When I call the Do LaB an oasis, it’s not just because it’s a mini metaphorical musical paradise in the desert. It’s also because the Do LaB is *the* spot to cool off – their structures always offer plenty of shade and the friendly Do LaB-ers are always ready to soak you with their flowery water guns. It acts as an escape from the Coachella chaos, somewhere to go where you can cool off while getting your groove on. Since its inception onto the polo fields of Coachella, the Do LaB has always been a symbol of the underground stamped onto the face of the now mainstream festival. Back before the explosion of the festival craze, when Coachella was less “trendy” and more “indy”, the Do LaB was introduced as another outlet for the kind of underground expression that was pumping through the veins of the festival. Now that Coachella has taken on more of a mainstream identity, the Do LaB still serves as a symbol for the underground that still thrives.
The Do LaB prides itself on individuality and diversity. Although the Coachella lineup stays unchanged for both weekends, the Do LaB mixes it up by offering a different lineup each weekend. Through the years, many of the underground’s best have graced the Do Lab Stage – Lucent Dossier Experience, Gorgon City, The Gaslamp Killer, Thugfucker, BLOND:ISH, J.Phlip, Odesza, Atish, Sacha Robotti, Worthy, Bedouin – the list goes on and on. Many of the selecters that go through the Do LaB are legends in their own right, either already born or waiting to bloom. Some acts, like Gorgon City and Odesza, have gone on to headline Coachella and play at the larger stages like Gobi and Mojave. This kind of lineup curation serves to introduce people to an entire realm of music they may not have heard before. I remember Coachella 2015 being the first time I spent some serious time at the Do LaB. The two years prior I would always stop by, but this was the year I was stuck there because of the mind blowing music I was hearing. At the time, I remember thinking to myself, “Where have I been – how have I been missing this!” That signaled me to delve deeper into who I was seeing at the Do LaB, and put me on the path that lead me to love the genres of music I do now.
Another reason for the Do LaB’s continued success, which also plays into the theme for its structure this year – it acts as a beacon. With its art, lineup, and reputation widely known, it is no surprise that the Do LaB is popping off at all hours of the day. From the DJs playing to the dancers on stage to the acrobats they have flying overhead, the Do LaB is a constant source of feel good vibes and love. “Meet me at the Do LaB,” has become a common expression for people to use whenever friends want to meet up with them. It’s somewhat isolated location and unique structure makes it easy to find, and the more underground electronic inclined sound it boasts makes it less crowded than other parts of the festival. Many of my friends who know me well don’t even have to ask anymore – I’ve made it known that the Do LaB is my home and that if they’re ever looking for me, they know where to find me.
This atmosphere draws a select group of people to the beacon – the people who are searching for more of the underground, who share a very unique kind of music taste, and who have experienced or want to experience something a little more transformational. The people you meet at the Do LaB are some of the best people out there. Every experience I’ve had there has been positive – I’ve met and made new friends, reunited with old friends, shared hugs and laughs, received some very cool gifts, the list of memories goes on and on.
The spirit of the Do LaB is alive and well, and it’s all thanks to the creators at Do LaB and the many, many people who continue to bring the Do LaB to life every year.
FEATURED PHOTOS BY DO LAB