Seven Years and Still Going Strong: The Do LaB Continues to Create, Build and Grow at Coachella 2011

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Original Post below…

By: Duke DuRock

As we shift toward our upcoming build for Lightning in a Bottle (LIB), we wanted to take a look back at our experience at the 2011 Coachella festival, which marked the seventh year in our longest tenured partnership and was also our largest on-site presence yet.

Video by Smash LeFunK.

It was certainly another memorable weekend for us out in Indio, California, where we all came together as a family to share our creative passions with you.  The some 75,000 in attendance experienced not only our newest stage structure, but the popular Oasis Dome, featuring our infamous tree where the DJs played, Pagoda (this year’s quintessential shading structure), and information kiosks.


Photos by Aaron Gautschi

“The tree is something we built as one of our first installations at Coachella,” recalled Josh Flemming, who along with Heather Shaw, serves as a principal designer of our structures. “We built a new version for the Sea of Dreams festival two years ago, and Coachella asked for it again. So we were honored to bring it back.”

“The biggest genesis in our relationship with Coachella is that we’ve gone from creating small art sculptures and little projects to really getting into much larger, architectural structures,” added his brother, Jesse Flemming, who booked and programmed the music for our stage and serves as one of our executive producers. “That’s really where we want to go and what we’re interested in now.

“We’re definitely starting a new chapter in The Do LaB. We moved out of the warehouse we’d been at for six years, and a lot of big changes have been happening. So it’s felt very fresh. We put everything we have into doing the biggest things we can on this field. There are 75,000 people here. A showcase doesn’t get any better than this.”

Photo by Aaron Gautschi

This year’s stage was a definite standout as festival goers that passed by were quickly enraptured in an experience unlike any other at Coachella.

“It feels awesome,” Shaw said of seeing her and Josh’s latest designs brought to life by their family at The Do LaB. “Coachella is always one of the pinnacles for us. It kind of sets off our year in design and construction. We get to do big projects here and get to take them around the world after that. There have been so many different variations and forms…it’s been really representative of all of our elements and facets.”

“You’re not just coming to hear an artist that you’ve already heard of or has been on the bill before, you’re entering into our world,” added Monica Fernandez, one of our core members and passionate producers. “This is why there are so many of us here – so people will fall into our area, get absorbed and then come out of it a little bit changed or feeling more free.”

Photo by Phil Holland

 

The Do LaB team and our dedicated volunteers poured endless amounts of time and passion into our latest creations. And all that hard work and positive energy was directly transferred onto the festival-goers, who were overjoyed to interact with us, our artists and even get cooled down from the giant mist guns we brought to our stage this year (expect their refreshing resurgence at LIB!).

“Our crew stands behind us 150 percent,” praised Jesse Flemming. “We start before most crews come out onto this field. And when they all leave to go home to bed, we stay out here and work until the sun comes up, get a few hours of sleep and then do it all again. We do it because everyone really believes in the end product.

Photos by Aaron Gautschi

“I hope when people stroll in here that they dig the music, the vibe and the energy that we have going on,” he added. “We’re trying to do something different than just a big stage with a lot of really expensive, high-tech equipment on it, which looks amazing – and we all love and respect that – but we want to do something a little more arty. I hope after people leave our stage that they’ll walk away feeling inspired.”

Video by Matthew Smith.

Creative inspiration was on the menu all weekend as the musical artists that Jesse assembled over the three days at our stage formed a particularly stellar lineup with fresh faces from The Headtron Collective, like Sugarpill, Gladkill, Stephan Jacobs and NitGrit, alongside long-time Do LaB favorites like Kraddy, Freq Nasty and our own Jupit3r, who teamed up to close down the first night in thrilling fashion.

“I feel like we bring something to the table that allows people to forget about their weekly hours at work and things they’re dealing with at home. They come to our area and just open up,” explained Jupit3r, a memorable performer and longtime member of The Do Lab who helps to build our massive structures, set up lighting rigs and even teaches our volunteers. “When people leave the festival it’s a magical memory that they’re grasping and taking home.”

“I can’t stress enough how happy I am to be a part of this,” he added. “I feel like I have a unique role within The Do LaB: building and then playing and then tearing it all down.”

All of the artists obviously enjoyed playing our stage and spent the weekend laughing and enjoying themselves with members of The Do LaB long after their sets had finished. “I’m a big fan of The Do LaB and everything they do,” said Emancipator, who entranced the crowd on Saturday night with his gorgeous and layered downtempo grooves. “They’re just really cool people. I hope that people catch onto something fresh at this festival, just like what I’ve been experiencing here…let the music guide you and free your mind.”


Photos by Aaron Gautschi and Phil Holland

“I feel there’s a lot of support there and they’ve always been looking out for me,” added Kraddy regarding The Do LaB. Kraddy has not only has been a firm fixture at our events over the years but delivered one of the best sets at this year’s Coachella with his live drummer in tow. “It’s fun to do events like this. They put me on bill but we also get to hang out the whole time, too. Our relationship is a unique thing, unlike anything else I’ve experienced. It’s been exciting to grow together.”

Paper Diamond, who closed down the festival from our stage on Sunday night, wholeheartedly agreed. “With The Do LaB, you can expect to find new things and new types of music. It’s a great outlet for new artists like myself to put out music to a crowd who may not have heard of them before.”

Photo by Aimee West

Building a lasting relationship with Coachella has not only pushed the creativity of The Do LaB into exciting new directions but allowed us to also gain new fans over the years. “I stumbled upon The Do LaB the first time I came here and they were just in a dome,” recalled longtime supporter Vanessa Rodriguez, who also manages the Eco-Friendly, Green Food Truck. “They’re supported by Coachella and that says a lot. They’re doing things all over the globe now and coming back to share that worldly experience with us. They’ve brought back the best with clear, positive intentions and that comes through.

“You can count on them,” Rodriguez added. “There are so many shows at Coachella that it’s hard to see everything. But every time you come to The Do LaB area, you get a nice mist, smiles and they’ll even pull you up on stage if you want to dance and have a moment like that. The Do LaB area is a cool meeting spot and guaranteed good times.”

 

Photos by Aaron Gautschi

Photo by Phil Holland

As The Do LaB crew now gears up for LIB, they know the work will be hard. But it’s sharing their ultimate creativity that provides the richest reward possible. “The greatest thing is that even we never know what’s gonna happen,” said Laylo, one of our staple team members who helps to build our stage structures and art installations. “That’s the amazing thing…we’re just as surprised as everyone else. We may build it, but it’s the people’s energy and the excitement that makes it so special.”

Photo by Aaron Gautschi

Another Coachella may have come and gone, but it once again served to bring The Do LaB family closer together while continuing to reinforce what we do and believe in. “Coachella is a bonding experience for our core group of friends and workers,” explained Jesse Flemming.

“It’s always quite magical in the end when everything’s finished and we’re all under the tent and enjoying music from the amazing artists we’ve brought in,” added Shaw. “It’s huge heart that really pulls it all off because there’s so much work to do – and difficult work at that. Everyone on the team really puts a lot into it. This wouldn’t be possible if they didn’t have such heart and strength.”

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