Holding a rock concert for 60,000 people in the middle of the desert takes a lot of equipment.
The Coachella Music and Arts Festival is held on the Empire Polo Grounds near Palm Springs and this year featured artists such as Coldplay and Nine Inch Nails. The hot and dusty environment is a test of endurance for both the people creating this temporary city in the desert and the equipment used to make the festival possible.
Genie Industries’ stick and articulating boom lifts were used by the producers of the festival for everything from tent building to transporting materials.
The Coachella Festival features five stages. Two huge outdoor stages are used for some of the most well known artists, while the other three stages are housed in large tent structures. The Gobi tent is a quiet intimate space for solo and acoustic artists, the Mojave tent features more conventional small venues and the enormous Sahara tent is a large dance music space.
Genie boom lifts are used in the construction of the three tents –– first to assemble the tent framework and then to help with the covering. The tents are constructed by assembling arch-shaped support beams on the ground. These beams are then erected one at a time and attached to each other to form the tents’ super structure.
The Coachella production staff that use Genie lifts go through a training program and are then given additional practice time operating each lift. The lifts are used during the festival in public areas, so each operator has to feel comfortable using the equipment.
The lifts travel along the perimeter road at Coachella both during the building periods and during the festival. This road is also used by pedestrians, a tram, vendor’s vehicles and a significant number of golf carts; therefore, safety is a prime concern.
Once all the stages are erected, the lifts play a major role in allowing lighting, sound and projection crews to access equipment overhead.
At the two largest stages, articulating boom lifts allow technicians to access lights that are directly over the stage from a lift positioned in the front row. The articulation of the boom is such that the technicians can reach the entire area above the stage without disturbing the stage set below.
Inside the tents, Genie lifts provide the only access to the trussing from which lights and speakers are hung. The large all-terrain tires on each lift easily navigate the turf of the polo field.
The Genie lifts that are used at the Coachella Festival allow access where otherwise there would be none. An entire infrastructure is created for the Coachella Festival, but Genie Industries’ stick and articulating boom lifts are used in place of the normal access infrastructure that would be found in a concert venue. The flexible nature of each lift, and its ease of use, means that they have a permanent home in the middle of the desert.