All types of music fans descended upon Indio, California over the weekend for round two of Coachella, and that included devout members of the Jewish faith. The trouble this year, however, was that Friday the 22nd marked the beginning of the Jewish high holiday of Passover. For those who wanted to witness LCD Soundsystem, Guns N’ Roses, and the rest of the festival bill but also remain mensches, there was thankfully some relief in the form of Matzachella.
Over the last 16 years, the Shabbat Tent has been set up at Bonnaroo, Langerado, High Sierra, Gathering of the Vibes, and every Phish festival (where the first-ever Shabbot Tent was erected). At this year’s Coachella, it served an extra purpose by hosting hourly Matzachella Seders. Rabbi Yonah Bookstein of the University of Southern California Hillel was joined by rapper Kosha Dillz (Rami Even-Esh) and singer Tesha, helping Jewish attendees celebrate Passover with bite-sized 10-minute Seders from sundown to sundown.
The Shabbat Tent, located in the parking lot behind the iconic ferris wheel, welcomed Jew and gentile alike to relax, charge up their phones, and “enjoy” matzah. (If you’ve ever had matzah, you’ll understand the quotes.) Those wishing to celebrate Passover were welcomed to enjoy a traditional Seder plate of charoset, maror, lamb shank bones, as well as the requisite Manischevitz. The youngest in attendance could even ask the traditional four questions. Why is this night different from every other night? Because LCD Soundsystem covered Prince, that’s why.
Though not an official part of the festival, Matzachella and the Shabbat Tent were certainly welcome additions to Coachella for the music and religious faithful. Finding the afikomen in the crowded parking lot of the Indio Desert must have been a real struggle, though.