Entertainment & Arts

Coachella festival aims to redefine the live music show

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Media captionPeter Bowes has a look around the spectacular main stage at Coachella

Live music and three-dimensional electronic art will coincide at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in California this weekend.

The three-day festival, which started in 1999, is redefining the concert experience in collaboration with the New York-based global culture and technology initiative, The Creators Project.

The most striking contribution is the design of the main stage.

The imposing, 25-metre tall, skeletal structure looks like a giant Rubik's Cube.

It has been created by the British design team, United Visual Artists, and consists of a massive chain of controllable lights which constantly change their pattern and intensity according to which band is performing.

The headline bands, Arcade Fire, Interpol and Animal Collective have had a close involvement in developing the structure of the stage by incorporating their own lighting designs.

Image caption Arcade Fire have helped design their stage lighting

The big idea is to transform the festival's stages into performers in their own right and to create memorable moments that will take the crowd by surprise.

Arcade Fire is planning what is expected to be a jaw-dropping experience for the audience during their performance on Saturday.

The venture, which is itself a collaboration between the global media company VICE and the computer technology giant Intel, brings together artists from around the world.

It aims to push the boundaries of creative expression through the use of technology.

This year the group has become the first-ever creative partner of Coachella.

It says it aims to reinvent the festival by creating "groundbreaking visual experiences," says Shane Smith, VICE co-founder.

"The stage is a character. When the stage actually becomes part of the show, opening and closing behind bands, it's going to change how music festivals do it.

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Media captionPeter Bowes takes a tour of the dance tent with designer Muti Randolph

"I think this is going to be spectacular and people are going to start saying, 'wow that's the new gold standard'."

Intel's Chief Marketing officer, Deborah Conrad, adds: "It's visceral, it's really magical.

"It's not just what people do with their computers at work it's what you can do in an artistic impression fashion. For us it's very intriguing.

"Its about this convergence of art, music, science and technology in a totally new art form.

"We really wanted to bring a visual experience to an audio experience that you get at a music event. You get this great holistic, magical thing happening."

The artists have collaborated with performers, including the British band Spiritualized, to create the festival's new look.

The group's contribution, which has been masterminded by the film director Jonathan Glazer, takes the form of a Gothic cathedral-like space, filled with white noise with striking columns of lights.

Image caption Kings of Leon are also due to play at the festival, which takes place this weekend

As people walk through they trigger the sounds of the band's single, Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space.

It is intended to take the visitor on an emotional journey fuelled by light and music.

Another focal point will be the Sahara tent, or dance area, where the Brazilian designer Muti Randolph, has suspended panels of lights that are synchronized with the music.

Other bands performing at the festival include Kings of Leon, the Chemical Brothers, Mumford and Sons, and Duran Duran - as well as Robyn, Kanye West and Lauryn Hill.

"We're all about pioneering this weekend, it is new ground for everybody," says Ms Conrad.

Mr Smith adds: "Unless festivals embrace it they are going to be left behind."

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