Catching up on Coachella: A British invasion and an impromptu dance party

Catching up on Coachella: A British invasion and an impromptu dance party
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POSTED: Sunday, April 14, 2013 - 2:50pm

UPDATED: Sunday, April 14, 2013 - 10:40pm

The first day of this weekend's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival was a British invasion -- with Blur and the Stone Roses headlining the main stage, former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr receiving a hero's welcome and newcomers Jake Bugg and Palma Violets living up to their hipster hype.

"There are so many festivals and there are similar bands playing at all these places, but Coachella manages to make it like an event.," Marr told CNN just after his set on Friday.

While many make the yearly pilgrimage to Indio, in the deserts of Southern California, for the music, others come for the scene. Because it's an easy drive from Los Angeles, young Hollywood comes out in force.

There was a sister act theme of sorts, with Hilary and Haylie Duff, Paris and Nicky Hilton, Vanessa and Stella Hudgens and Rumer and Tallulah Willis spotted in the crowd. In keeping with the theme, sibling singer-songwriters Tegan and Sara of Canada closed out the night with a well-received third appearance at the festival.

"We've also visited twice as patrons. There's something kind of magical, and there's no other festival like it on the planet," they said.

Set against a backdrop of desert skies and swaying palms at the Empire Polo Club, this year's three-day line-up has included 192 acts spread out over six stages. In 2012, the festival expanded to two weekends. That means next week's bill will be identical to this week's.

Memorable moments included an impromptu happy hour dance party led by Passion Pit and Of Monsters and Men, and an electrifying set by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Appearing in a gold cape and crown, frontwoman Karen O prowled the stage as though she owned it, backed by a gospel choir on the trio's new single, "Sacrilege." By the second song, she had ripped off her cape to reveal a pair of black wings. Then she shoved the microphone down in her pants in an audience-pleasing show of sexual bravado.

In many ways, her performance summed up Coachella: it's about the music, the show and the debauchery.

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