For those of us who have had the pleasure of frequenting a British music festival, it’s no real surprise that Coachella – the annual music event in the Californian desert – is a wee bit different. Start by replacing thick mud with sand. Then, swap pints by the main stage for $15 cocktails consumed in the assigned drinking areas. Add an immaculately-coiffed clientele, a food village that is less falafel wrap, more fois gras paté and you will land somewhere close.
It’s no surprise then that this year’s festival – its 20th year, no less – has upped the ante in the luxe “experience” stakes. Hidden within Indio Central Market, the festival’s tented food and drink area, is a secret sushi speakeasy that only the most elite of customers will gain access to.
The 300-square-foot restaurant caters for 12 diners at a time and will serve up a 17-course-dinner at assigned times throughout the weekend (3:30pm and 8:30pm), complete with sake pairings for a casual $375 a head. Tickets are available here.
The micro-eatery is the brainchild of Phillip Frankland Lee and Margarita Kallas-Lee, the pair behind the California Scratch restaurants, their Coachella offering being most akin to the couple’s existing sushi spot, Sushi by Scratch.
Lee told the LA Times: “We want to pull you out of your world and put you into this sort of truncated reality where you get to actually experience what we do.”
Now, while we are not doubting this will be some mighty fine sushi, is the point of a music festival not to transport you to some sort of truncated reality anyway? One where all your favourite artists play you songs all day, you can drink a pint at 9am and dance and hug your friends for three blissful days?
Besides, who wants to miss two hours of this year’s incredible lineup to do something that could be done at any point in normal life, should your wallet permit it?
There has increasingly been a sense that for many festival-goers, Coachella is not really about the music. That could be said of British festivals too – a wander around Glastonbury’s Green Fields is as enjoyable afternoon for me as being parked in front of the main stage for hours – but you don’t get the Worthy Farm collective forking out hundreds of quid for a boujee dinner, on top of their ticket fee.
For our own truncated reality, on Coachella weekend, we’ll be relying on Harry Styles’ gyrating hips, Phoebe Bridgers’ scream at the end of ‘I Know The End’ and the pure chaos of the crowd at Brockhampton’s last show ever.
Sushi is forever, but Coachella comes but once a year. Don’t spend it eating raw fish in the dark.
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