Sometimes in life, difficult decisions must be made. For example, should you order your bagel toasted or not? Go to a work happy hour, or bail to watch Game of Thrones? Attend Coachella, or a Passover seder? Thanks to an extremely Jewish rapper, that last one is easy.
Kosha Dillz, LA-based rapper Rami Even-Esh’s stage name, is making sure no one’s Jewish mama disowns them for ditching the family seder in favor of Coachella. Walk through the festival grounds on April 19 and 4/20 towards the iconic Instagram famous ferris wheel and you’ll find yourself at the Matzahchella tent. This year will be the second time Kosha Dillz is throwing a seder at Coachella in partnership with Shabbat Tent, the “oasis of chill” — lol — “based on Shabbat hospitality, mindfulness, and nourishment for the body and soul.”
Naturally, we had to talk to the “Exercise” singer about it.
Over the phone between the festival’s two weekend sets, Dillz told us his goal for the Coachella-Passover mashup is simple: for Jewish millennials to take pictures for their mothers. Okay, that’s just part of the reason. The 10-minute seder organized in collaboration with Rabbi Yonah Bookstein of Pico Shul in Los Angeles isn’t for observant Jews, but rather people who might not typically celebrate Passover. “The whole goal isn’t really to have a big thing, but to do something for people that didn’t plan on doing anything,” Dillz said.
The pop-up seder tent, stocked with gefilte fish and other Passover nosh prepared by Shabbat Tent volunteers, can host around 20 people at a time. “This is a story people will tell forever,” Dillz said. “Like, I did a Passover seder at Coachella!”
So what’s the genesis of Matzahchella? Back in 2012, Dillz performed at the Paid Dues festival, which also happened to coincide with Passover. He turned his merchandise tent into an area for a traditional Passover seder, and even brought a bottle of Manischewitz for the festival’s headliner Mac Mille, the Jewish rapper who died of a drug overdose in 2018 at age 26. “He seemed to appreciate the gesture, and the importance of the holiday,” Dillz wrote for Variety.
Already at Paid Dues to run the Shabbat Tent (who knew festivals were so Jewish-friendly??), Rabbi Bookstein bumped into Dillz and whipped up a 10-minute haggadah for the rapper’s impromptu seder. Four years later, the duo organized the first official Matzachella in the Colorado Desert in 2016. From one desert to another, Matzahchella keeps Passover as authentic as possible.
So, will any musicians attend Dillz’s seder this year? His fingers are crossed for a Kanye West appearance.
Coachella goers can RSVP for the seder here. But if you intend on wandering through the desert to get to Matzahchella, try not to get lost for 40 years.