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Long before it became synonymous with flower crowns and a dedicated taxonomic class of the fast fashion industry that subsists entirely on variations in distressed denim and crochet crop tops, Coachella was an arts and music festival nonpareil.

In its current iteration as a branding behemoth that lures in punters from around the world with the promise of highly photogenic memories and even higher spirits, Coachella has transcended its humble roots to become a king making experience at the locus of youth music culture.

But what of those roots? Long before the first flower crown was donned and the first bespoke Snapchat filter applied, what did Coachella look like?

As the dust begins to settle in the wake of Coachella’s 17th birthday, GRAZIA looked back at the formative years of the festival that would go on to become the highest grossing event of its kind (a casual $84.26 million was generated by 198,000 attendees in 2015). 

Prior to the first event in 1999 one of the owners of Coachella’s parent company Goldenvoice, Paul Tollett, predicted that the festival could be “The start of something really special [for Southern California]”.

There’s no denying now that he was definitely onto something.

thoughts?