Day 1: My Coachella Story... for the books!

Sorry for such a delay, the last month's travels and playing catch up has been crazy!

This year was my 3rd year attending Coachella (2004, 2007, and 2010) and each year was quite an experience. I entered into the Coachella Recycling Bin Design competition and made it in the second group of winners...this is originally how I was going to receive my tickets to the festival but long story short they fell through. Although this year was a mess in numerous ways, not having any tickets and just getting in on pure luck was the everyday battle with the first day being the most emotional. Regardless in the end, it ended up being a great trip.

The previous two times I attended you could still purchase tickets outside of the festival. I thought this year was going to be the same despite reading certain blogs that said they were sold out and some blogs were arguing that every year they have a 10,000 person cap of extra tickets they keep to sell the days of the festival. So me being a positive person, I chose to believe the latter. Arriving at the festival on Friday around 2:30 p.m., we passed one scalper that was selling tickets but I was still banking on buying tickets at the box office on site. I jumped out of the car as the rest of my crew had tickets and they were going to drive to another entrance, didn't know at that point that I wouldn't see them until 12:30 a.m. (it ended up taking them 2.5 hours just to get in). I walked up to the box office with anticipation, excitement and nervousness hoping to purchase a ticket but I was quickly disappointed as the lady said, "It's sold out, no more tickets will be sold."

I spent the next 6. 5 hours trying to get in any way possible, there was no way I was leaving the site. I had to get in. I exhausted all of my resources through friends and nothing was working for one reason or another. It was the strictest year yet with lists and comps. I told my friends I was reaching out to, I have no problem paying, I just need to get in. The time I spent outside of the entrance was filled with hearing numerous kids stories about purchasing fake tickets from scalpers, girls with signs saying they will do anything to get in, getting interviewed to tell my story and my opinion on this year's problems, and sitting in front of a car in the shade while doodling. Being pretty bummed out the whole day and stressing, I was more worried about not being able to get in on Saturday and Sunday too.

I then met a kid from Colombia whom lived in San Fransisco and his phone was dead so he spent two hours with my phone trying to get in touch with his friends and girlfriend whom were all inside. Problem after using your phone so much, obviously the battery gets low and I had a long way to go and needed to save some battery to be able to meet with my friends. The other problem was the reception out there was terrible and you would get texts hours later and calls wouldn't go through. Oh how much we depend on technology!

At one point my new friend was going to be able to get two tickets for both of us but I left with a higher hope for my next attempt to get in.So what did I do? Sun was now down and time was ticking. I heard from a friend (only friend I would see till 11:00 pm) that there was a girl that paid $50 to a Mexican worker to drive her on the golf cart passed the first entrance (didn't know yet there was two). So I paid him $20 once I passed the first entrance and the camping ground. It was like I was crossing the border! ha. So I get to what is the next check point for wristbands and I have no idea how I am going to get past this one. I spoke with some people that were in the same situation and two guys had told me they sneak underneath the fence every year. I thought to myself I am too old for this; however, seemed to be the only way to get in and my determination was very high as it always is once I want something.

Two guys went under and held it up for me, I started to slide under and they get caught. I run. I run to the other side and am shaking a bit from the adrenaline and looking through my purse for my phone. Can't find it. Think to myself this is the last thing I need right now. I go back to the scene of the crime ha and can't find it anywhere, had some guys call it and no dice. Look to my left a bit and a girl was like, "Is this yours?" It was, it was! Fewf! As cliche as it sounds, good karma was on my side!

It was now somewhere past 9 pm and I had missed Hockey, Yeasayer, Passion Pit, Aeroplane, Ra Ra Riot, and She & Him. Having one girl tell me her group was going to climb another fence, I said to her, "Nope, not going for a second time, once was enough."I had one option left. I could just ask one of the workers (that were volunteers) that were checking wristbands to just let me in. I walked up to one of the volunteers whom I thought could be cool and when he asked to see my wristband, I just looked up at him with hope and a soft voice, "Could you please just let me in?" He looked at me, waved, and said, "Go ahead." I ran through the festival in the darkness with the biggest smile on my face! I was finally in after all that time! Of course I couldn't get a hold of any of my friends, so my solo adventure continued. I didn't want to use my phone to check set times (because of low battery) and I couldn't find a lil booklet so I went from stage to stage to see who was playing.

I saw Them Crooked Vultures for a hot second which sounded pretty good but was too impatient to stay. I ran to La Roux for a couple of minutes standing way in the back but wasn't able to enjoy it and was still impatient to see who else was playing. I then jump to Grizzly Bear in the next tent for 10 minutes. They sounded great and I was able to get a pretty good spot. I then found a booklet to check to see when LCD Soundsystem was playing because that was my major goal because of the time I got in.I had 15 minutes to quench my overdue thirst and have two ice cold beers and go to the main stage and see my first full concert of the day.Within the first couple minutes of complete LCD bliss, I realized that everything I went through today and my ambition to be able to get into this festival was all completely worth it. That is the third time I've seen them and it has always been an amazing set with James Murphy at the forefront pouring his heart into his lyrics and letting the band member's instruments mash up to be a big rocking dance party. That it was! I think the only disappointment was the number of glowsticks around me...enough already with the glowsticks! They played a couple of songs from the new album and of course classics; such as, "All my friends" (my favorite) and "Losing my edge". Of course during, "All my friends", the part where he sings, "Where are your friends tonight?", I threw up my hands with pure emotion because I couldn't find any of them and at that point I really wanted to see my friends! Nonetheless I had a great solo LCD experience and so glad that I was able to make it in!

When the show was over I went to see Fever Ray (Karin Dreijer Andersson - she is one half of the Knife) on the other side of the festival which had already begun. The Mojave tent was beaming with a serious light show that was mysteriously dark as is her music, it really put you in her world. I wasn't really close enough to see too much, particularly the costumes which for me was probably good because as much as I like the Fever Ray project, the visuals are too dark for me. I am easily scared and often have nightmares even from just watching the news! ha The music was beautiful and was quite an experience just from far away. My crew was up close and said it was amazing.

I left Fever Ray to jump over to Whitest Boy Alive in the Gobi tent. I was in the middle of the crowd by the outside which was nice and cool. It was a great change of pace from F.R. and especially for being my last show to close out my roller coaster day! They were playful and their easy listening tunes put the crowd in a very cheerful and dancy mood. Ten minutes in and I looked over to my right and poof! I finally got to see a familiar face, that was a great feeling! It was an old friend who randomly was on my flight from MIA to LAX. His friend came to pick him up at the airport and was so nice to give me a ride to my friend's place which would have been a $50-70 cab ride! So at last I got to share my story you just read with someone I knew, it had been bubbling inside of me all day!

During the show, I finally got a hold of my crew and we were scheduled to meet at the ferris wheel at 12:30. If you've never been to Coachella, for future reference you must have a meeting place with your friends, it is essential well because with 85,000 it's not so easy to find your friends! Upon waiting for them at the ferris wheel, I was nervous not to find them especially considering my phone had just died and the day that I had. Luckily 10 minutes later, I saw the lucky green tshirt my friend was wearing and ran to them! Oh it was a great feeling. When we finally go to the car, it took us 2.5 hours to get out of parking lot, it was a disaster! Well more a disaster for my friend whom was driving. I was planning on going somewhere after although it was just too late after that. After the day I had when we got home, it was time to just get some rest and hope that the next day wouldn't be nearly as difficult. However, I am sure if it came down to it I would do it all over again.

LCD - All My Friends

Fever Ray - I'm Not Done

Whitest Boy Alive - Island


Ashley said...

It's amazing that you got in that way! I was hearing the exact same story from friends of friends who went without tickets hoping to find a way in- and did. The first day was indeed emotional and stressful, but once you got in, the feeling was like no other. Overwhelming relief and happiness all at once. We finally got in as passion pit was starting, then headed over to grizzley bear. I agree, they sounded amazing. The whole coachella experience was very unforgetable despite the issues on the first day. The good definitely outweighed the bad.

Unknown said...

Hey Glad to see I made the story. Definately one for the books

Caroline Geys said...

yes, it was a crazy day for lots of people and exactly that it was an overwhelming feeling finally getting in! i wish i had gotten to see passion pit butttt can't see them all ;)
ha carlos, u made the story, u were one of my good luck charms!