Arts & Design

Coachella’s coolest place is HP’s Antarctic Dome

The vast, uber-comfortable theater takes viewers on a St. Vincent- and ODESZA-scored visual journey they’re unlikely to forget.

By Garage Staff — April 19, 2018

Amid the blazing desert heat and endless dust of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio, Calif., rises a massive, 11,000-square-foot steel-and-vinyl dome that looks like something out of Star Wars.

Stepping into the chilled, pitch-black relief of HP’s Antarctic Dome — the largest geodesic projection dome in the world — festivalgoers immediately feel as though they’ve embarked on a welcome journey with 499 friends. With its 108 speakers, 15 projectors and 500 air-mattress reclining chairs that let viewers take in as much of the 360-degree visuals as possible, the Antarctic Dome is both a movie theater and a roller-coaster ride.

For its debut last year, a show called Chrysalis immersed viewers deeply into the metamorphosis of a caterpillar.

This year’s first visual is a reimagining of Edwin A. Abbott's 19th century novella Flatland: A Romance in Many Dimensions. St. Vincent’s musical score, by turns delicate and discordant, builds to a crescendo before the bass drops out over a swirling, stacking and crumbling landscape art-directed by artists Dev HarlanSougwen and VolvoxLabs and directed by META’s Justin Bolognino. As the second visual, Abstraction, soundtracked by ODESZA’s bright and hopeful “A Moment Apart,” cues up, the entire audience seems to hold its breath, wondering what could possibly top the first piece.

“HP’s Antarctic Dome is a must-see for anyone at the festival,” says ODESZA.

Pop-up community

Veteran attendees cite the way Coachella forges people from all over, of all kinds — college students, parents with kids and music fans of all ages — into a community as one of the festival's biggest draws. The fun, freedom and challenges of camping in the desert burnish that community glow. 

That feeling of shared adventure also coursed through the crowd at the iconic electronic-music venue the Sahara Tent, from Beyoncé’s foot-stomping, jaw-dropping, HBCU-honoring spectacle — now that is what you call “using the stage” — to sets whose bass vibrated the hair on your arms and accelerated your need for a hearing aid by several years.

Lighting up the sky

There was a spectacular show outside, too. During ODESZA’s Sunday performance, 420 synchronized HP- and Intel-powered Shooting Star drones, all operated by a single pilot, soared high into the night sky to form the duo’s geometric logo, thrilling the crowd and eliciting an excited chorus of  “ooos.”

“It was amazing to be able to surprise Coachella fans during our set with an Intel drone show powered by HP Workstations,” said ODESZA, the GRAMMY-nominated electronic music team of Clayton Knight and Harrison Mills. “When we heard about the opportunity to work with this HP/Intel technology, which can create more than 4 billion color combinations, we jumped at the chance,” the duo added. “This was the first time these drones have flown over a live music performance, and we were honored to be a part of it.”

If you missed the Antarctic Dome and ODESZA’s drone-enhanced performance last weekend, you can still catch them this weekend, April 21-22.


Going to Coachella? Check out @hp on Instagram and follow the action with the #HPCoachella hashtag.