The Coachella music festival is beefing up its VR programming with a new app and a custom Google Cardboard headset, one that's being shipped out to this year's attendees in the "welcome boxes" containing their tickets. The Coachella VR app will allow Cardboard and Gear VR owners to flip through 360-degree photos from festivals past, old interviews and performances from this year's artists, and a virtual tour of the festival grounds. (The app's website suggests Oculus and HTC Vive compatibility are "coming soon.") The app will be regularly updated with new content right up to the festival's first weekend in mid-April, but it's still unclear whether or not home viewers will be able to livestream the festival in VR or 360-degree video using the app.
While Coachella's custom Cardboard rigs may be limited to festival attendees for now, it's never been easier to obtain another promotional version or garden-variety unit. McDonald's, Star Wars, and The New York Times have all either partnered with Google or released similar headsets in recent months, and Google is also selling Cardboard units directly to consumers through its online store as of last month. Even if the technology doesn't make it to this year's festival, it's not hard to imagine a future in which Coachella viewers around the world are watching headliners stomp around the stage from whatever angle they choose. The existence of the festival's app and headset mean that future might be closer than you think. Coachella is taking place in Indio, CA from April 15th to 17th and April 22nd to 24th.