No wristband required: Welcome to Coachella, the town most festivalgoers miss

A couple of weeks before the 25th Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival kicks off in the California desert, the grounds are filled with the sound of cranes droning and metal clanking as staff put the final parts of the main stage together. Five-star resorts, popular restaurant chains and prestigious country clubs surround it. This is Indio, a city in Greater Palm Springs and northwest of the festival’s namesake.

But a 10-minute drive and a world away is another Coachella— the town itself,

With a 98 percent Latino population, Coachella retains its small town charm from its beginnings as a farming community—despite the population now being five times what it was in the 1980s. Dubbed the ‘City of Eternal Sunshine’ not only for the weather, but for the deep-rooted family values the community upholds, Coachella now has a thriving Chicano (of Mexican descent but born in the USA) arts scene with edgy, often political street murals paying homage to its Mexican diaspora.

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