Coachella

COACHELLA: DAY 1

April 14, 2012 / Mike Abu

Travel Journal: Day One

Since we will be in attendance at the massive Indio festival for both weekends, it made sense to play the first day fairly conservatively. There are all sorts of rules and stipulations that go along with these kinds of things, such as no alcohol and no sharpies, however we had no real idea of what kind of regulations we were up against, which makes for smuggling anything in a blind gamble. As far as we saw it, there is always tomorrow.

Turns out there are multiple checkpoints manned by anonymous security agents who may or may not care to let you in depending on who you are and what kind of mood they’re in. Figures. I’ll tell you this now, if you do have a binoculars flask, bring it next time, you’ll be golden. If you don’t think I was kicking myself in the ass after my last halfhearted pat down, you’re dead wrong.

We were all decked out in our matching track suits and our signature Milk headbands, which definitely gave us a certain gang presence at the festival. Individually, we looked like junior high gym teachers, but en masse we came across as an Olympic training team. The fact that we were all photographers and writers did little to expel the image. To be completely honest, it worked out better than any of us could have expected, with outfits that made it incredibly easier to differentiate ourselves from the wildly eclectic masses.

Birds of a feather flock together.

Once in, we all branched out to capture the various shows and look awesome. It sounds like an easy task to outsiders, but let’s face it, covering shows can be a bitch. The photographers all strapped in working mode started snapping shots of the visual smorgasbord parading in front of them, feasting away on the imagery and putting their talents to work. I followed suit and bounced from show to show, checking out badass acts like Gary Clark Jr., Girls, M83, and Pulp. I’m not kidding you, when Pulp played, I felt slight reminiscent tears in my eyes, but only because it reminded me of an ex-girlfriend who played Different Class for me and would have loved to have been there. Pulp, like nostalgia, hits hard when you have to face it.

The Beer Garden was clearly the place for us to hang out, even though the beers were $7 dollars for a small, $9 dollars for a large. I don’t really think they even brought small cups—it was just one of those things that was meant to reassure you’d get a better deal for spending $2 dollars more. Everybody but nobody seemed to care.

We’d roll into the Beer Garden and regroup between shows, talking about what we’d seen and making loose plans for what to watch together later. Of course, this was easier said than done, especially considering how easy it was to lose each other in a sea of people who were all dressed more ridiculously than the next. You could be holding hands with somebody and still lose them. Trust me, I know.

From what I heard, The Black Keys, Explosions in the Sky and Refused absolutely killed it, but like always in crazy awesome festivals, I somehow missed them. But, if it helps, I had a blast, and I guess that’s the only justification I can really give for missing them.

By the end of the night, we were all exhausted, weary from travel, being there, and the Beer Garden. We also learned valuable lessons, like how to smuggle in sharpies, where to meet up at the end of the night, and how crazy effective clipboards are for picking up girls.

Trust me, I know.

–Mike Abu

Photographs by Charlie Bucket, Chris Swainston, Erik Craig, Jessie Adler, Mike Bogart and Tyler Nevitt

#coachella #gary clark jr. #girls #pulp #m83 #different class #beer garden #refused #music #the black keys #charlie bucket #explosions in the sky