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Surviving Coachella 2009

May 25, 2009|By Roland E. Bye

Well, I survived another Coachella Music Festival.  My son, Jeff, got me started at Coachella five years ago, and I have been hooked ever since.  The average age of the kids at Coachella is probably in the mid-20s.  At my present age of 62, I have gotten used to the idea of being the oldest guy at the festival, and I take pride in that distinction.

The kids at Coachella already know most of the groups that are playing, and most of their music.  They go to hear their favorites.  My interest is different.  I am familiar with only a few bands and a little of their music, so I am mostly in search of the new and the interesting.  With a hundred bands to sample, and three days to do the sampling, I am never disappointed.  I am also interested in seeing what the kids are up to, and eavesdropping on their conversations.  It is all too easy, because I can stand right next to them, and they don't even know I am there.

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I have another goal the kids do not:  I try to survive the three days of hundred degree heat and the chaos that is Coachella.  The kids, by contrast, attack the three day festival with joyful abandon.  If they pass out and spend two hours face down in the polo grounds grass, so be it.  For them, it's just part of the fun.  On the other hand, if I take a nap under a shade tent, there's a fair chance I will be awakened by a medic asking me if I'm o.k.

I went to Coachella with Jeff and two of his college friends.  Friday, in the early afternoon, we parked in our usual spot, in the farthest corner of the fields surrounding the polo grounds, and we hiked to the ticket area at the edge of the polo fields.  Once we were inside the festival grounds, I told Jeff I would see him at midnight at the usual meeting place, for the 30 minute walk back to the car in the dark.  Until then, I would be on my own in a crowd of about 50,000 people young enough to be my children or, in some cases, my grandchildren.

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