Arcade Fire’s iconic 2011 Coachella performance was a spectacular, surreal experience. Here’s why.

The band headlined on Saturday night at Coachella 2011, and gave the audience what they’d hoped for and a lot more. Almost immediately after they burst onto the scene with ‘Wake Up’, the song became a massive hit and a festival anthem. During their encore performance of the already powerful song, the audience did not expect what was coming next.

arcadefire4(Image via:

The band released cascades of huge beach balls into the crowd. Controlling the LEDs and IR transmitters embedded in each ball, they light painted kaleidoscopic patterns all over the unsuspecting audience. The balloons that began as white changed to fluorescent colours, upping the ante and taking the experience of the song to a whole other level. The audience bounced the balls around, and many have described it as the best festival moment of their lives.

(Image via:

The project, entitled Summer Into Dust, was designed to “visually portray the collective emotional experience of the band’s encore”. Los Angeles Times also reported, “For a few minutes, the audience pummelled and tossed them back and forth. From the stage, frontman Win Butler grinned, looking as though he was watching kids open presents on Christmas Day.’’

arcadefire3(Image via: