As music festival culture has gotten bigger, more brand-sponsored, and more talked about, events like Coachella become the main topic on people's tongues (and Twitter feeds) for weeks before and after they happen. Your friends' Instagrams aside, there are photo pits full of professional photographers at these major events who document music festivals for publications and the bands to have for years to come.

While it may seem like a glamorous job—being in such close proximity to bands and their performances—it's hard work. As anyone on our list of How To Make It: 10 Rules for Success From Freelance Photographers list would tell you, it's a constant grind, especially at a live event.

Coachella has been going on since 1999 (it used to be held in October), and back then, artists like Beck, Tool, and The Chemical Brothers were the headliners people came to see. As the photographers we spoke to note, the festival (now three days x two weekends long instead of two days x one weekend long; it was actually only one day in 2001), has become way more focused on hip-hop and EDM acts. 

To get a sense for how the festival has changed from the perspective of those documenting it, we interviewed 5 Photographers About Shooting the First Five Years of Coachella. They also let us know the favorite photo they've shot and the positives and negatives of covering such a high profile event.

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