The second iteration of Coachella 2012 just wrapped up, and while I didn’t attend Round II, I do feel like I’m still getting out of a state of recuperation with the rest of them.
Here, some thoughts on how to survive three days in the desert with the first Festival rain since 1999:
Not to be confused with the well-intentioned group transit campaign officially organized by Coachella and Golden Voice. I stayed in a house with about fifteen other people (You’ll notice I don’t know the exact number because I was a hanger-on, happy to be largely uninvolved in formal acts of responsibility like keeping a headcount.), so getting to the grounds wasn’t as simple as hopping in one car, or even calling same seats for the trips back and forth.
No, for the weekend of Coachella (as with Stagecoach and golf-y things, I’m sure), the entire vicinity of Palm Springs turns out in keenly resourceful ways. To make a buck. We took our first few rides with “Jane,” ten of us squeezing into the back of her van at a time.
I know the answer to “How many clowns can you fit in a car?” because we paid (cash) to be those clowns. Strewn across what would be the back seats if there were back seats. And seat belts.
We’d hear “Duck, please!” whenever Jane drove by a cop car. It seems the police in the area know their locals, what with their get-rich-quick schemes of charging upwards of $10 a head for a one-way trip to the show and back.
Alternatively, you could take a cab from IHOP back to your weekend lodging at two in the morning, but you might get the driver with a voice box from decades of chain smoking like Navi and I did but were too tired to be frightened by.
Aside from the economic stimulus that these weekends of entertainment bring to the town, in addition I’ve been observing how much a two-weekend sandwich of the same lineup completely saturates California music venues with derivative concerts and shows. It’s like Coachella is Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Miike Snow check-ins popping up in your home feed are the spinoffs of Angel. (I actively dislike Joss Whedon so it took me a while to write that.)
Charge your phone.
Y’know how I’m OCD and can’t leave the house for more than four hours without just my phone, but also my mobile USB charger? This is why I can’t fathom being without 100% battery. Go to a convention and you get familiar with the harried state of meeting up and texting urgently and catching time-sensitive messages thwarted by impacted signals. Coachella is like that, except 75% of the convention goers are also on drugs.
So I went to Coachella with a Herschel backpack in which the most important things were the basics plus my ultra ugly, larger-than-it-should-be New Trent USB charger.
The moral of this story isn’t actually that I had nary a care about being able to meet up at X sculpture at Y time, nor that I was never particularly concerned that such a message would be devoured by the Dead Battery Monster.
It’s more like: So I was hanging out in the recharge station with my friends who were charging their phones (to walls, not ultra ugly New Trents) when this (decent looking!) guy innocently asked “What is that?” and was clearly trying to get to know me some. Lucky for him he kind of looked like Bill and I kind of just came from a set where couples were swaying and being adorable and I missed Bill so I talked to him for an exchange of maybe eight sentences.
Point is: You bring the right equipment, you get hit on.
This must be the MO people use at the gym, too, what with their Lululemon and Nike WikiWear. I wouldn’t know. I don’t go to those places.
Wear a scarf.
The lesser glorified moment immediately following the Carpoolchella we experienced was the dustiness from Remote Corner with No Cops to the festival entrance. If I were into that stuff, I’d work in a joke about Darude’s “Sandstorm,” but mostly I just felt like we were walking the set of Star Wars and someone forgot to give me goggles.
My solution? To throw the gauze-y side of my Conrad scarf (Check it out here, but Symmetry Goods, I’m sorry to say, has closed up shop. ‘Shoulda swooped on that when I told you to!) completely over my head so that I looked like I couldn’t decide if I wanted to disguise my face with a bandana or ladies’ pantyhose, so I just did both.
Thankfully, once we got past security the dust largely settled, so I flipped the Conrad for stripes that did a better job picking up on my red Herschel backpack. (Yes, it was also strategically red. Do you not realize how imperative it is to stand out at Coachella? [If you’re gonna ditch the buddy system like I did, then at least stick to:] Safety first!)
Just to be clear, I gotta ask all you fashion caption writers: Can a starlet be dubbed “Queen of Festival Style” when right there, in the cutline, it also states “Styled by XYZ?” Shouldn’t the stylist be the Queen of Festival Style, as it seems the starlet is incapable of dressing herself for a three-day trip? I just wanna know.