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Club Coachella parties on

The off-site revelries on the first weekend of Coachella are set to continue this weekend, with such events as Madewell's "Sun & Fun Party" at the Ace in Palm Springs.

April 20, 2012|By Lina Lecaro, Special to the Los Angeles Times
  • The party rolls on at club nights around the second weekend of the Coachella Music and Arts Festival.
The party rolls on at club nights around the second weekend of the Coachella…

Coachella off-site parties are now as important as the event itself to many L.A. attendees, especially as they shift away from heavy-handed corporate branding and zero in on club culture. Yes, this year we still saw Brent Bolthouse's Armani Exchange Neon Carnival, the crocodile-branded Lacoste party and fetes from Guess and Chevy motors, but other L.A.-area promoters and DJs are bringing a different kind of heat.

Coachella's first weekend saw more club-like parties at events by DJ Anthony Giancola (booker at club Harvard & Stone), the popular Sunday DJ jam The Do-Over held at the Ace Hotel, and the flamboyant grind-fest A Club Called Rhonda at the Saguaro Hotel, both in Palm Springs.

"When people in my world refer to going to Coachella, they are most likely referring to the party circuit that exists on the outskirts of the actual music festival, " says Giancola, who DJs a desert party this weekend called "Noise Pop Oasis," along with another L.A. night-life fixture, Sean Patrick (DJ and booker at the Three Clubs). (@Noisepop for Twitter updates).

"These parties have taken on a life of their own and turned into a competition between promoters to blow everyone's minds by offering more exclusivity and free stuff," Giancola adds.

This weekend, that competition includes the "Desert Daze/Moon Block Party" at Dillon's Roadhouse (; Rolling Stone and FAM NYC's "Electric Milk" event at the Riviera Resort (; Vice magazine, Jansport and MFG's "Bonfire Under the Sky" with Crystal Antlers, Bleached, Fidlar, Pangeo, Them Jeans and Friends ( on Saturday; Dishonored's "Dark Day Party" with Trust, Soft Metals and the Allah-las ( on Sunday; and Madewell's "Sun & Fun Party" at the Ace, hosted by Jenny Lewis with DJs Warpaint and IO Echo on Saturday (

Last weekend's Rhonda — a club known for its poly-sexual, raucous atmosphere — was an audacious example of the new Coachella vibe. Held at the new Day-Glo-hued Saguaro, DJ Harvey (Sarcastic Disco) spun while club host Gregory Alexander pranced around in skimpy get-ups engaging attendees as partiers played with water guns and shook their bodies until sunset. Dub Frequency, which does the popular L.A. club, "No Shirt/No Shoes," had a hand in programming everything at Saguaro.

"I've been going to Coachella parties for over 10 years, " says Rhonda's Alexis Rivera, who also books events as Echo Park Records in L.A. "So many of them were, and still are, about promoting brands, hitting you over the head with logos everywhere. Our sponsors at Scion are supportive of what we're trying to do so it's not about that."

The balance can be delicate. At Jeremy Scott's über-exclusive annual party at the Frank Sinatra estate, L.A. shutterbug Mark the Cobrasnake shot the outlandishly clothed crowd, including designer Franc Fernandez (Lady Gaga's meat dress), Kesha and Coachella headliner Snoop Dogg. Scott, known for outfitting artists including Robin and Rihanna, does a popular collaborative line with party hosts Adidas. His winged jackets and shoes were everywhere.

"Coachella parties have definitely gotten better over the years," says Matt Goldman of marketing and events company MFG, known for School Night at Bardot and Swimming With Sharks at the Standard Downtown. "The Anthem parties [from years previous] did a lot to change the landscape and, naturally, L.A.-based promoters end up being a big piece of the puzzle. [This weekend], we'll have slip 'n slides, water guns, hoses, ping pong in spades in addition to free drinks, food and plenty of bands and DJs."

Goldman also reveals a "secret day party" on Saturday with DJ sets by members of Miike Snow, Lykke Li, and Peter Bjorn and John, but that one has a very "limited list" for fest performers and VIPs. Of course, everyone will be clamoring to get in. L.A. in the desert, indeed.

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