Apr 3, 200810:43 AMThe Life
Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival - Goldenvoice Coachella 2008 Indio California
The Sound Of Music - Fans of all stripes converge on the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
When you walk through the gates at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, you're transported into a different world. You first see thousands of people who converge on this three-day event. And the first thing you hear is music coming from all directions, filling your body with anticipation. For some, this festival is an annual trip. But before long, even newcomers feel the vibe of what returning fans simply call Coachella.
This is where you can see and hear your favorite bands and DJs perform, regardless of whether you dig R&B, pop, indie, alternative, techno, electronic, industrial, Latin, or folk music. Pick up a schedule at the festival store or at the KROQ tent. It will help you plan your three days of entertainment.
Music takes place on two stages (the Coachella stage and Outdoor Theater), in three tents (Sahara, Mojave, and Gobi), and at the Oasis Dome. In past years, the Coachella stage - which accommodates bigger crowds - has featured The Pixies; Rage Against the Machine; Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs; Bjork; and Arcade Fire. The energy here is unbelievable; everyone wants to see that one band they thought would never perform (or even reunite) at Coachella.
This year, expect The Verve, which reunited last June, to perform 'Bitter Sweet Symphony' and perhaps a few songs from a new album due out this year.
Who would want to miss the soulful vocals of Beth Gibbons of Portishead? Expect to hear 'Glory Box,' 'Sour Times,' and songs from their new album expected to be released late this month.
On Friday, one of the best shows will be The Raconteurs, who earned Grammy nominations last year for Best Rock Album and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group for Broken Boy Soldiers.
And brace yourself for the trip that is Roger Waters' performance of 'Dark Side of the Moon.'
Other bands scheduled to perform on the main stage include Kraftwerk, Death Cab for Cutie, and Love and Rockets.
A much smaller stage, the Outdoor Theater offers a great view from anywhere you stand. If you can work your way up to the front, it's even better. In the past, bands such as Bloc Party, Nikki Costa, Scissors Sisters, Kinky, Spearhead, and Zero 7 have performed on that stage. Who knows? Maybe Cafe Tacuba, Animal Collective, Cold War Kids, or Metric will take the Outdoor stage this year.
The energy of the crowds is electric in the more intimate Sahara, Mojave, and Gobi tents. Wherever you stand, you can feel the music and can't help but move with it. Amy Winehouse, The Killers, and Gnarls Barkley, as well as DJs such as Daft Punk and Fat Boy Slim, have given the tents tough acts to follow.
In the Oasis Dome - with its huge, geodesic steel frame - you can see some of the up-and-coming DJs.
The heat can be oppressive during the day, but it doesn't stop the vibe. Be sure to drink plenty of water and rest in the shade when you have a chance. Last year, the KROQ tent had fans with misters to cool the crowd. You can also chill out in one of the many tents situated throughout the polo grounds until your next must-see act comes on. As the sun sets over the majestic Santa Rosa Mountains, a cool breeze gives you a second wind. You're ready for the evening!
In addition to music, the festival features compelling installation art and sculptures. Interactive pieces provide another dimension of entertainment.
Can't wait to get a CD by the band or DJ you've just heard? Check out the Virgin Megastore Tent. And be sure to watch the personal appearance schedule; your favorite bands might be signing autographs. Meet your favorite artists and DJs and have them sign your T-shirt, poster, or CD. This is bound to be an experience you won't soon forget!
Advice From Experience
_ Drink plenty of water. Vendors throughout the festival sell drinks. When the sun starts to set over the beautiful San Jacinto Mountains, you can enjoy the beer gardens.
_ Wear sunscreen. You'll be spending three days in the sun. You don't want to get sunburned on your first day.
_ Wear a hat. If you forget to bring one, vendors sell them.
_ Wear sunglasses. Great protection from the UV rays - and you'll look hot.
_ Take lip balm. You'll need it with the day's dry heat and the night's breeze.
_ Eat! Keep your energy up with offerings from the vendors. Whether you're in the mood for vegetarian, Italian, Mexican, Indian, or American cuisine, there's something for everyone
_ Grab a schedule. This tells you if and when you'll have to leave during a set to get to another. Pick one up at the Coachella store, KROQ tent, or online at www.coachella.com.
_ Take a large beach towel or small sheet. If it fits in your backpack, it should be fine for plopping down and taking in the vibe.
_ Carry a camera. You'll want to shoot pictures of your favorite band, friends, and the atmosphere of Coachella.
Out and About
While you're in the Coachella Valley, check out some local hot spots and watering holes for cocktails, food, and entertainment.
Blue Coyote Bar & Grill, 44100 Jefferson St., 772-2600. This Southwest-Mexican cuisine restaurant also has a Palm Springs location, 445 N. Palm Canyon, and is home of the Wild Coyote Margarita. Patio dining is available.
COACHELLA (four miles from festival)
Happy Keg, 51706 Harrison St., 760-398-2837. One of the oldest bars in the area. Stop by for beer, wine, or a game of pool.
LA QUINTA (six miles from festival)
Beer Hunter Sports Pub, 78483 Highway 111, 760-564-7442. With 11 satellite dishes and more than 46 TVs, the pub is a prime location to watch a game or catch up on scores and highlights. Other amenities: arcade games, pool tables, darts, and trivia.
PALM DESERT (10 miles from festival)
South Beach Restaurant and Nightclub, 72191 Highway 111, 760-773-1711. Open for dinner and dancing Thurs.-Sun., the club features live music and DJs. A 'tastefully casual' dress code is enforced.
RANCHO MIRAGE (15 miles from festival)
Caramba's Musicantina, 70050 Highway 111, 760-328-8844. After dinner, Las Casuelas Nuevas restaurant turns into a Latin club open 10 p.m-2 a.m. Fri-Sun. The locale features two dance floors, live music, DJs, and drink specials. There is a modest cover charge, and a dress code is enforced.
The Yard House, 71800 Highway 111, at The River at Rancho Mirage, 760-328-8844. The upscale-casual eatery boasts 160 beers on tap and late-night dining until 1:30 a.m.
PALM SPRINGS (30 miles from festival)
Hair of the Dog, 238 N. Palm Canyon Drive, 323-9890. Open at 7 a.m., the English pub is a local favorite. The Hair offers British beer on tap, a jukebox, and video games.
Village Pub, 266 S. Palm Canyon Dr., 760-323-3265. Open nightly for dancing and live entertainment. Three bars, patio dining, happy hour until 10 p.m., and no cover.
NEED TO REFUEL?
Get toiletries, grocery items, and spirits at nearby stores:
Brown Jug Liquor Store, 83041 Indio Blvd., 760-347-3722
Sherman's Liquor & Food Stores, 45891 Monroe St., 760-347-1916
Walgreens Drug Store, 44100 Jefferson St., 760-772-9122
Wal-Mart Supercenter (also offers one-hour photo service), 79295 Highway 111, 760-564-3313
Still need a room at a hotel?
Desert Hotel Reservations
1276 N Palm Canyon Drive Suite 201, Palm Springs, CA 92262,
Toll-Free: (800) 896-7334, Phone: (760) 325-3434 still has several hotels and resorts rooms reserved for this event. http://www.deserthotelreservations.com
Olga Reyes & Kelly O'Connor