Inside Neon Carnival, The Ultra-Exclusive Coachella & Stagecoach After Party

Brent Bolthouse, the man behind the Santa Monica hot spot, The Bungalow, is also known for hosting the ultra-exclusive, invite-only Coachella after party, Neon Carnival. Drawing celebs like Leonardo DiCaprio and Kendall Jenner, the after party features an array of carnival-themed fun for the VIPs that attend Coachella. This year, to celebrate the carnival’s 10th anniversary, Neon Carnival returned on April 27 for Weekend 3 during Country music’s biggest desert weekend, Stagecoach.

Since relocating to its permanent home at the HITS Desert Park, the expansive equestrian center welcomed back festival goers with a newly redesigned all-grass layout, spanning 3 football fields, featuring new carnival style games and exhilarating amusement park thrills. The numerous carnival games give guests the opportunity to unwind and win some prizes as they dance under the stars until the wee hours of the morning.

Upon leaving Stagecoach on Saturday night, we drove about 20 minutes to the HITS Desert Park, which is seemingly in the middle of nowhere. The only sign that there was an electrifying party happening was the ferris wheel and search light we could see in the distance. As we drove up, we were greeted by sharply-dressed security guards directing us to the gates to check in and get our wrist bands. After doing so, we were granted entry through the neon pink "Neon Carnival" gateway and into the lavish party.

Every year, Neon Carnival sees continued involvement from the biggest names in entertainment and consumer culture. This year, that included Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures with the first-ever live-action Pokémon movie, POKÉMON Detective Pikachu, starring Ryan Reynolds, being released on May 10th. Warner Bros. and the film hosted a POKÉMON themed Ferris Wheel that allowed guests to get an aerial view of the beautifully-decorated grounds, which we did, of course. Kelly Osbourne was also spotted riding the ferris wheel to check out the incredible views.

Of course, as with any Neon Carnival, the celebrities were abundant and were invited to mingle and party at special tables near the DJ stage. Sam Hunt arrived with his crew following his headlining set on Saturday night, and DJ Ruckus even gave him a special shout-out with a rendition of “Body Like a Back Road.” Former Bachelor Colton Underwood and fiancé Cassie Randolph also attended, as well as Taylor Lautner and many others. Though these elevated, sleek celebrity-hang-out-spots were also guarded by sharply-dressed security guards, the rest of the guests could mingle with them on the dancefloor, carnival rides, and of course, at the various open bars. 

Neon Carnival did an excellent job at ensuring all guests felt welcome to enjoy all the fun things the party had to offer.

Prior to the event, Brent Bolthouse told The Hollywood Reporter that the nightlife experience for him was never about the money: “Something happened in nightlife where wealthy individuals became the Leonardo DiCaprios of the nightclub world, where celebrities became number two and the wealthy became number one—that, to me, is not ever how it should be.”

You can follow all of the excitement of Neon Carnival on Instagram. The party is set to return in 2020, though you’re going to need an invitation to get through the gates!