What to expect from the Coachella music festival in Indio

By Cathy Maestri
InstantRiverside.com

(Note: Some acts have been forced to cancel Coachella, or are having trouble reaching the event, because of a volcano in Europe.)
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It seems like only yesterday that I was were standing in the desert sun, listening to a twee Scottish act by the name of Bis and thinking how unbelievably great this Coachella festival was… and wondering how much money it was losing and which member of the scanty crowd would be the first to collapse from heatstroke.

That was 1999; 2010 marks the Indio festival’s eleventh edition. There was no festival in 2000 because the first incarnation did, indeed lose a lot of money. Also, the event was moved from just before the fall polo-field resodding to just before the spring resodding to try and avoid the blistering heat. The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival no longer operates at a deficit, is recognized internationally as one of the planet’s best music festivals and has spawned a sea of lesser copycats …. but it’s still bloody hot.

Like we said, it’s pretty much all you need. We’re going to add a few things learned the hard way.

•Don’t just cover the obvious areas with sunscreen — include ears, the back of the neck and any scalp that may be showing. Hats are good, as long as they aren’t blocking others’ view; recycling-container lids are handy in a pinch, but best left on the recycling containers.

•Whatever you do, make sure to find fixed landmarks to guide you back to your parking spot, and pay attention to the route you take in.

•Go earlier than you think you need to. And don’t just go for a single headliner — not only does that defeat the purpose of the festival, but you’ll miss something better. Guaranteed.

•Once you get inside, buy some water or a sports drink and hang onto the bottle — you can keep refilling it at the drinking fountains.

•If you spend the entire time texting or Tweeting, you’re going to miss a lot. Then again, that allows performers and celebrities to wander around the grounds unnoticed.

•Give yourself time to check out the art installations.

•Enjoy your Coachella Moment, a intense period of bliss that usually coincides with sundown as you realize how lucky you are to be exactly where you most want to be.

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Friday, April 16, 2010


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