Coachella in my mind has always been a mythical place that I assumed I’d never see, just hear about every year because something huge happened that had every music-loving person in the world at half chub. When I realised it might fit into our US schedule I got a bit excited myself, but when Siz got me tix as a pressie, I was peaking. Little did I know…
We got going from LA early-ish Thursday morning thanks to Mary and Kosta weaselling another few days off, and it paid off. What can sometimes be a 5 hour trek was done in 2. I had noticed when packing the car that there was a severe lack of tent and sleeping gear, but I put that down to Coachella perhaps having a strict provided-tents-only policy. Things started to seem stranger when we pulled up to a country club in town instead of a paddock. ‘Should we tell Fish what’s happening?’ asked Siz. They decided not to. I thought I might be in for a late birthday lunch or something, but then we went inside and there was a Coachella check-in desk. We got handed a welcome pack and were instructed to follow a concierge in a car to the grounds. Now still at this point I just assumed this was standard operating procedure for Coachella goers and this was the most fucking mintly organised festival ever dreamed up by mankind.
Things started to click when we arrived at the festival proper. We pulled up in a car park marked ‘Safari’ and 8 people spread over 4 golf carts rushed over to meet us. ‘Hey Fish, see these golf carts?’ Kosta asked, ‘they drive us to the stages’. We weren’t at Falls anymore. The carts took our bags and ourselves and drove from the car park into an Adelaide oval quality patch of turf with immaculately constructed white tents arranged in a bicycle spoke pattern around a central larger tent. They dropped us at a tent 3 from the centre, where our concierge unzipped the front flaps to display two friggin’ queen size beds, a bar fridge, air conditioner, full length mirror and the cutest little outdoor setting you’ve seen in your whole darned life. Fair to say I was a touch taken aback. ‘And guys if you want to book in for your massages just wander over to the front desk there and they’ll take care of you’. What the hell.
So anyways on top of the most palatial tent on God’s green earth and daily rub-downs, we got;
- Full buffet breakfasts and midnight snacks daily, as well free non-alcoholic beverages
- Fancy pants shower and dunny blocks away from the plebs
- The aforementioned shuttle service to the back of any stage we choose
- An area at the front of each stage reserved for Safari campers and artists
- Entry into the VIP and artist areas of the festival
- A feeling of being better than everyone else
I was honestly a bit overawed by the whole thing, and it took a while to process the princely situation that we were going to be living. For a fella who hasn’t ever showered at a festival before and more often than not ends up with some sort of bodily fluid in his tent by the end, the thought that I could have the awesome times without the grimier times at Coachella was something else. Especially for the fact the average temperature for Coachella in April is around 40c.
So I decompressed in the car while we ducked out to Slab City from the movie Into The Wild. It’s a crazy hippie commune in the middle of the desert (an hour away from Coachella) that features a huge mound of dirt that a fella spent 28 years covering in papier mache and painting preachy religious slogans on. I can only assume his choice of ‘Jesus come upon my body’ didn’t quite have the connotations back in the 80s that it does today. Or maybe, as the info booth noted, he was just too hopped up on acid to notice.
Thursday night was enjoyed at our abode with a free feed put on for us high rollers with a DJ pumping out tunes in the central tent. I started to get the feeling the excesses were having an effect on me when I dropped a mountain of fried chicken on the floor and instead of being a normal dude and crying, I laughed and went and got more. Sorry starved African kiddies 😦
I’ll let Siz talk you through the festival proper but I will just say that the one band that I was drop dead keen on – Royal Blood – blew my face off and were by far and away my highlight of the festival. But there were so many hidden gems and stunning headliners that it would probably take the equivalent of a Bryce Courtenay novel to describe everyone/everything.
In summation, we done fun.