It’s Another Year Without Coachella
If you know, you know.
First Time: That Festival in the Desert
I don’t know my way the first time. I don’t realize that the wind farm will become my guidepost. The ribbon of highway will lead me past it; I’ll stare at the white metal blades slicing the pale blue sky. So many of them, as far as the eyes can see. Later I’ll look it up and learn; these giant windmills power most of Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley. Hundreds of them are standing guard at the edge of the desert.
I’m a stranger here, one of many thousands at a weekend of revelry — — we’re powered by money, alcohol and drugs, and the love of music.
It’s an entertainment industry crowd; we all have backstage passes, but my name is still “plus one,” no one cares about the wives. My husband is already in action, chatting with music biz types — “how ya’ doing, who you got on stage, let me talk to this guy for a minute, that band is already popping.” I stand at the edges of the crowd, watching and wondering what the babysitter is doing with the kids. The music ripples over me, but I’m not caught in its wave. Someone gives us a golf cart ride back to our car. I can’t even remember who played, but the date shakes on the way home were really good.
2017: It’s Coachella and Stagecoach
I slow down to take my annual photo of the windmills, careful not to swerve. My timing has become perfect; the sunset bathes the white blades in a warm glow. Pulling into the parking lot, I swing by the production offices to hug people and grab my gear — golf carts, radio, credentials — and then I head over to check in with the crew. Maybe it's year ten for me, who knows, but the site is already three times larger. I park in my favorite spot and walk the grounds. Tents are still going up. Giant art is being installed. The soft grass is untouched by bare feet — still a deep green.
I breathe in the silence and sweet desert air. Soon there will be thousands of people, including…