Friday, April 27, 2007

Why I'm afraid of Coachella

Every spring since I moved to LA, I get a certain uneasy feeling. Why? What is it?
Surely no ill fate awaits me, no foul play lurks around the corner.

Coachella is coming.

Every year, dozens of bands that I'd really like to see gather to play the Coachella Valley Music Festival in Indio, California. This is a music event I had always heard amazing things about when I lived way-out-Midwest but, alas, could never attend. Then I moved. And I made a startling realization.

I'm afraid of Coachella.

But why? Why should this be? Artists I enjoy (Lily Allen! Amy Winehouse! Gogol Bordello!!) all gathering together in the same location to play 3 days of amazing music! How am I not flocking out there with the rest??

Here's the thing.
I don't "flock" so well.
I'm really not wild about "seas of humanity" and "crowds as far as the eye can see". Because with that many people around... you're gonna have a high incedence of douchebags. And let's face it, in southern California we have more than our fair share. I would love to go see all of these bands. I just wish all the douchebags didn't feel the same way.

Alright, I just found this Coachella DVD promo on their MySpace page.
Click here and check it out.

Go ahead, I can wait.


See! It looks really groovy and pleasant! How bad could the crowds be?
Well... it's not just the crowds.

How do I say this?
It takes place in a damn desert.

Sure, I live in the Valley. It gets hot here. That's NOTHING compared to the desert. It was 80-some degrees in Sherman Oaks today. Do you know what it was in Indio? 101! Tomorrow it's going to be 102 and on Sunday, 103. Oh, hell no.

COME ON! It's not even May yet! I can't handle that kind of heat until at least mid-July. I will completely own up and say, YES, I am too big a wuss to go to Coachella because it's really hot. Do you know what Wikipedia says on the matter?

"The Coachella Music Festival has a desert setting (the city of Indio is a part of the Colorado Desert), with daytime temperatures frequently rising to over 100°F (38°C). The festival enjoys little cloud cover or shade. The temperature drops drastically after sunset."

Please. Sure, that part about the temperature dropping is nice. But then again, think about this:
Do you like to bring a lot of stuff with you when you go to a concert?
No! Of course not! You want to be free and unfettered and to just enjoy the music without worrying whether you have all your stuff. If it's that hot during the day, you're definitely going to want to bring something to throw on later. Frickin desert.

And a lot of people camp there!
I, for one, really like my stuff and don't feel like hauling it out only to worry whether someone has gotten into it or not. I don't have that much stuff. I need all of it.

However, maybe all of this is stemming from one larger fear.
I'm not cool enough for Coachella.
I'm not particularly hard-core. I'm not a 100% free-wheeling hippie. I enjoy the music of the majority of the artists but on a fairly casual basis. I feel that the patrons of this music festival would see right through me to the nerd I am.

And that is why, Angelinos, on this first night of Coachella, I'm listening to the Arctic Monkeys on my computer instead of in person.

No, I'll bet you look good on the dance floor.

(Photos courtesy of