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USA | Wednesday, 23 May 2007 | Views [405]

Coachella campsite

Coachella campsite

Coachella is a 3-4 hour drive outside of LA so we hired a car and found 2 Canadian girls (these were nice Canadians) to share with. I don’t think they had quite realised what they had gotten themselves into as this was Rich’s first time driving on the right-hand side and driving an automatic as well. He did very well and didn’t crash or have to do any emergency stops, but Pam and Keddy did look rather scared in the back. American driving is crazy, for example you can turn right on a red light if there’s nothing coming. This goes against every rule that they teach you while learning to drive – Red means Stop! As we were driving all eyes were glued to the thermometer which gradually rose as we headed further into the desert until it topped 99F (about 37C) and this was at 6pm!! We were dreading what the midday temperature would be.

My advice to anyone who wants to start a music festival: DO NOT PUT IT IN THE DESERT!! Why on earth they chose Coachella as a place for a music festival I will never know. It’s a beautiful area – the site was surrounded by red hills that looked amazing against the pure blue sky – but it’s just far too hot. The temperature was about 40C everyday. I can’t imagine why people even live here, never mind putting a festival there and making us camp. From about 9am to 5pm it was impossible to do anything but cower in the shade. There were lots of shaded tents but after the first day they were just filled with flies and they didn’t get the benefit of the breeze so you just sweated really badly, you just couldn’t win. The only area that had lots of trees and so had a nice area of shade that received a breeze was in the VIP area – typical!! Luckily the only person that I wanted to see who was on the main stage when it was still hot was Regina Spektor, and as she was on at 3.30 it wasn’t too bad and she was well worth it. Anyone who can hold the main stage of a festival by themselves with just a piano and a guitar has my respect!

What was worse about the heat was that there were no water taps so you had to buy bottles of water everytime you needed a drink (which was often!). I tell a slight lie in that there was one tap in the arena, but you had to queue for an hour in the blaring sun to get to it so wasn’t worth it. There was definitely none in the campsite. Furthermore, you weren’t allowed to bring in any food or drink (including water) into the arena and you weren’t allowed to come in and out so you had to buy all your food and drink in the arena. It was basically geared towards squeezing as much money out of you as possible. While we were watching Arcade Fire this girl ran passed me retching and she was sick on my leg, totally gross!! Because of the heat and lack of water people were being sick everywhere and fainting all the time, it was awful. At first we had been really annoyed because you could only drink in the bar areas but you really didn’t want to drink in that heat. But at least they had showers, but again you had to queue in the sun and as soon as you came out you started sweating again anyway. But for those few glorious moments under the water it was heaven.

My favourite bands had to be Damien Rice (he only did 6 songs – we were robbed – but they were so amazing) and Arcade Fire who I have a new found love for. We also saw Artic Monkeys, the Kooks, the Klaxons (who were also really good), CSS, Soulwax, Faithless (amazing), the Rapture, David Gueta, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Rage Against the Machine (who were really good), the Fratellis, the Cribs, and probably some other people but I cant remember anymore.

Coachella was fun and I would go back again (though not sure if I could camp again) and would be a lot more prepared but we were so glad it was over. Staying in LA that night felt like luxury as it was a nice temperature in the mid teens so slept very well that night and managed to sleep past 7.30 without having to scramble out of my tent for air.

Tags: Adventures

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