Lauryn Hill in her Americana style. Photo by Rolling Stone, Tim Mosenfelder/WireImage.

An estimated 90,000 people packed the Empire Polo Fields in Indio, CA, April 15-17 for Coachella Arts and Music Festival in what’s become a hipster ritual for music lovers and scenesters across North America. 3-day passes sold out within days of them going on sale for this year’s festival, indicating a healthy market for live music so far.

However as we saw last year, with so many bands out on the road trying to make money on ticket and merch sales rather than relying primarily on traditional sales of music, the industry began to cannibalize itself and many tours were shortened and dates dropped due to lower ticket sales from fans. Costs of tickets including at-the-door discounts also played into a difficult music season in 2010. We’ll report more on this as the season progresses.

Denim cut-offs and gladiator sandals sets street style trends at Coachella. Photo by Kristen Burns, WWD.

Coachella also marks the unofficial kick-off of what to expect on the concert circuit for the year as many musicians continue on their way to perform at other festivals ranging from Bonnaroo to Glastonbury. This year, it appears to be a range from retro bands back out on tour, to even more, exciting new sounds from up-and-coming musicians. Coachella hosted live streams online which was new and forthcoming, and also marks a change for live events as more are moving to sharing the experience in online formats and broadening its audience beyond the 90,000 who actually made it.

Among the hottest performances this year at Coachella were Kanye, who poured out his heart and hosted an elaborate show with dancers, PJ Harvey dressed in white like a goddess with feathers in her hair, The Arcade Fire which seems to get bigger in size every time we see them, and retro comeback band Duran Duran which rocked the polo fields with lead singer Simon LeBon looking as glamorous as ever.

Boots and floppy tongues matched with short shorts. Black is still going strong, as well as all white among this year’s festival goers. Photos courtesy WWD, Kristin Burns.

Indie stars such as The Kills, Glasser, Robyn, and Mumford and Sons also had outstanding sets and surely created a round of followers with inspired performances. Rounding out the top acts of the festival included Chromeo, The Black Keys, The Strokes, Kings of Leon, Lauryn Hill, The National, Erykah Badu, Gogol Bordello, Bright Eyes, and Cage the Elephant. (There were more of course, but one can only run from stage to stage so fast, especially in the excruciating heat.)

What’s also quite notable about Coachella are the house parties hosted by various outside sponsors such as A/X Armani Exchange pool party, the Filter Party, Diesel brunch, LaCoste pool party, which along with the festival’s proximity to Los Angeles, tends to collect a who’s who of celebrities ranging from Kelly Osbourne to Leonardo Di Caprio. Some people, truth-be-told, don’t even make it into Coachella and use this time period as a vacation to the desert, spending all of their time at the various house pool parties.

Coachella is also a highlight location for discovering the latest in street styles as this is the first time that so many people gather for the upcoming festival and music tour season. It’s here that people watching takes on new levels of inspiration from fashion, footwear, and accessories. This year was no exception, with some very cool styles on display, some with retro mixes like 50’s style dresses, 70’s hippy fringe, and 90’s rock studded boots everywhere. Americana was still in high form, not just by singer Lauryn Hill and her red, white and blue, but even Kate Bosworth and her white short shorts and faded flag sleeveless T-shirt. Camo jackets and skirts were in high form, mixed also with old-school Levi’s denim in short cut-offs, vests, and ’80’s style jackets.

Cute Kate Bosworth in her Americana T-shirt among popular themes at Coachella. Picture by

Other hot trends were floral dresses paired with gladiator sandals, or Converse sneaks (quintessential music-loving fan footwear), polka dots, skinny denim on guys, and aviator and RayBan-style sunglasses. Headscarves, floppy hats, Alice bands, and feathers were also key accessories seen at this year’s Coachella.

All of this, combined with the amazing light shows, interactive art installations by Creator’s Project and eco-friendly Global Inheritance, topped with an extravagantly lit Ferris wheel, made Coachella the stunning success it continues to be, and an exciting escape that brings together music, art, fashion, and technology in a format that sets the bar for overall event experiences.

Here are some more images from some of our favorite coverage from a street style perspective, WWD, Refinery29, Bust.

Stripes are making a huge entrace in fashion this summer, along with polka dots.

Long-hair, multi-wristbands, feathers, among key accessories.

Refinery29 captures another excellent juxtaposition fashion shot with retro shirt dress, belt, and studded black boots with open tongue.

Fringe is so in. Fanny packs we can’t stand, but it works in her case. With the cowboy boots and short denim shorts, she could be at Country Throwdown or Stagecoach.

Polka dot high-waisted short shorts with graphic T-shirt, Converse sneaks, and 50’s style headscarf pulls together many looks into one.

More denim-on-denim trends with American flag headscarf keeps the Americana theme going for this year’s festival season.