Watch a Paley Front Row Conversation with the Team Behind the YouTube Documentary ‘Coachella: 20 Years in the Desert’


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The Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival was scrapped for this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, after it proved impossible to stage an in-person event of that magnitude in 2020.

The festival had planned to unveil a new documentary chronicling its two-decade history in conjunction with a 2020 event, but in the absence of the actual festival, Goldenvoice decided to premiere the Coachella: 20 Years in the Desert documentary film on its own, as a way of keeping the spirit alive.

The Paley Center recently premiered a special program dedicated to the behind-the-scenes aspects of the Coachella doc, featuring a conversation with the creative team behind the doc:

Stars and creatives of YouTube’s Coachella: 20 Years in the Desert (Chris Perkel, Raymond Leon Roker, Nadeska Alexis, Margaret Burris, and Ali Rivera) gather with moderator Lyndsey Parker at Paley Front Row 2020 to celebrate their show. Topics include: the six-year process of going through endless archival footage; stand-out appearances like that of Beyonce that “had” to be in the film; the effect of electronic music’s emergence; the news-making performance by Tupac Shakur’s hologram in 2012; the musical evolutions and cultural shifts showcased; why Perkel emphasized music rather than fashion or celebrity appearances; the inclusion of “secret footage” of performances by Daft Punk and Madonna; and fears that the movie’s April 2020 premiere, just as COVID-19 upended the 2020 event, would be “like releasing it into a black hole.

Watch the Paley Center conversation below:

And here’s hoping Coachella 2021 — as well as live concerts in general — return in as close to “normal” fashion as possible in the future.


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