Fans withstand long lines at fest

first_imgPHOTOS AND BLOG: Get the latest photos and updates from Coachella at Vinyl Word, our music blog. PHOTO GALLERY: Coachella Music Festival in Indio INDIO – Tens of thousands of music-seeking nomads tramped along dusty paths, heads down and faces turned away from the blazing sun. The lines of cars to get into the parking lot of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival stretched miles down the road Friday and Saturday. And once parked, the lines started again – for food, for port-a-potties – and even just to get into the festival. But the crowd – which officials said was capped at 60,000 per day – seemed tireless as stage areas remained packed and bouncing with head-bobbing fans through the day and night. Horses, stables and the spotless green lawn that thousands of cars parked on were the only signs that the Empire Polo Field ever hosted anything but the three-day gathering of Coachella fans. “We managed to make it through without throwing up,” he said. “Now I think we’ll relax … in the air conditioning.” Throughout the day, a field of metallic sunflowers collected energy from the sun, and then lit up at night, powered by solar panels in the middle of each flower. As the hours passed, the heat didn’t diminish much. The sun lost some intensity, but the temperature remained between 80 and 100 degrees, even as the fiery ball dropped lower in the sky. Dancers in a 90-foot open structure called the Geodesic Dome seemed oblivious to the temperature even as sweat poured off them as they grooved to the beats being spun by DJs. A few tents away, Chris Bockenhauer, 39, threw a Frisbee with his 4-year-old son, Jackson. Only moments earlier, Jackson was rocking out to Tilly and the Wall in the Mojave Tent. The little dark-haired boy looked up from underneath his broad-brimmed cowboy hat. “This is fun,” he said succinctly. The young boy is not a Coachella rookie. His father brought him last year in the afternoon to see if it was children-friendly. They found that, in the daytime, it is, Bockenhauer said. Still, he keeps little Jackson close to his side. Adults get lost as well in the sea of flesh that constantly flows through the Empire Polo Field grounds. Taylor Martyr of Los Angeles and his friends used shortwave radios to keep tabs on each other. “Cell phones do not work here,” Martyr said. “We’ve got to keep in touch with each other so we use the radios. This way we don’t lose each other.” In the camping area, the tents are so close together they’re almost touching. Canadian roommates Judah Fleising, 23, and Calvin Locke, 25, drove down from Calgary to camp out here. They started at 5 a.m. Wednesday and drove 16 hours, stopping to pitch a tent at a KOA Kampground in Utah late that night. Their trip took two days. “It’s already been worth it,” Fleising said Friday evening. “There are so many amazing bands.” Their story is not unusual; they are camping next to fans who came from even farther – Londoners who spent $1,500 apiece to fly to the event. Both Canadians said they were most excited to see Rage Against the Machine – today’s headlining band. “They’re pretty much why I came here,” Locke said. Rage Against the Machine’s reunion today is one of the most highly anticipated performances, but other acts are drawing large crowds, too. Even with two stages, three tents and other points of interest around the grounds to divide the masses, the crowds fill the tents and spill out the sides. There are so many bands that some people literally run from one to another to catch snippets of each of their favorites. On Friday, the Arctic Monkeys ushered in the dusk with their blend of British rock that has made waves here and across the pond in England. The dark provided some relief to sun-weary revelers, and the energy picked up again for bands like Sonic Youth, Interpol and Bjork. On Saturday, the sun blazed again, lines were long and parking was far from expeditious, but the fans appeared ready for another long day. “Day Two, Day Two, Day Two,” yelled a slender girl with long flowing hair. Streamers flew behind her as she darted through the people walking up to the entry gate. Regina Spektor captivated a large audience early in the day on the Coachella stage, while others waited patiently for the electronica group MSTRKRFT, which came on later in the Sahara Tent. Fans can expect twice as many delays today as the much-hyped reunion of Rage Against the Machine prompts people to come early and stay late. “It’ll be at least double the fun, though,” said self-proclaimed “Rage-head” Keith Garrison of Minnesota. “Lines are nothing. Rage is everything.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The grounds resembled a little community composed of a tent city for the camping crowd and a series of fun little villages with art displays and live music soundtracks of their own. Several of the art installations threw shadows on the ground, doubling as shelter from the sun. Clusters of people moved to different spots as if in a game of musical chairs, keeping in the shade as it moved about elusively. Rock act The Fratellis, whose song “Flathead” is featured on iPod commercials, said after their show that the heat was almost unbearable while onstage at the Mojave Tent. “It’s almost like this was an experiment on us,” said Jon Fratelli. “You take a couple guys from Scotland who only see a couple days of sunshine a year and throw them into the desert and see how they do.” Barry Fratelli said he loved the festival, but the heat was a total shock. last_img read more