usa | coachella

presse agent Danny Abichandani

Dear Sara,

As the throbbing subsides to a manageable frequency, the storage facilities tucked away in the what happened? Files of my cortex begin to unravel. This past weekend was earmarked for success from the moment my friends decided to usher in spring with the hipster’s version of a vernal equinox. Now, I’m not one to traditionally support any hipster-like activities – in fact, I can barely walk down Ossington Avenue in Toronto without being agitated – but, for this past week (and hopefully just this once) I decided to be a method festival attendee.  Note to self: Looking poor is expensive.
There were several highlights to a week filled with celebrations, adulations, titillations … I’m not even really sure what titillation means. However, I have recently developed an unhealthy infatuation with the word.

Refocus. On the road to recovery.

I arrived in Palm Springs a day earlier than the rest of my group to get a good night’s sleep, as well as spend a day with other veteran Coachella-ites who came for a relaxing vacation, and are now too cool to actually attend the festival.

I decided to stay at Le Parker – the iconic orange-door boutique hotel manned by valets sporting Nantucket reds.  The hotel is very much my aesthetic; a nod to the modern with a healthy dose of kitsch. I had my morning coffee by the lemonade stand plucked straight from a serene French turn-of-the century garden. When the gentleman on a period-bike came around offering freshly squeezed muddled lemonade, I joked that if only it was noon, perhaps a pastis was more apropos next to the carefully groomed Pétanque lanes.  My friends joined me for breakfast on the grounds at Norma’s and I ordered the seared rock lobster and asparagus omelet.  I suspect that someone confused rock with rubber. Everyone else around me seemed to be enjoying their breakfast, so I guess sometimes you just have to live with a bad decision.

After checking out, I headed to my friend’s house for a supposedly relaxing day by the pool before the Coachella shenanigans got going. It seemed harmless enough – three friends, sitting by the pool with good music and a beer or two.  I think it went south right about the time a delivery man rang the bell to deliver a rush Amazon order for crystal wine glasses.  The house we were at only had plastic glasses, and our friend insisted on trying a case of rosé he had brought in from Napa (Robert Sinskey – vin gris of pinot noir 2012 ) with the proper clink. It was an ideal selection for a pool day – dry with strawberry and melon notes and the right amount of acidity. Last summer’s drink was a Whiskey Smash, but I think this one’s going to be a Rosé Renaissance.  Four or five bottles later, the relaxing day at the pool turned into a bit of a hazy good time resulting in a base tan and a buzz.
I joined my best friends for Ted’s Stag-chella in La Quinta (40 minutes outside of Palm Springs). Note: I strongly recommend staying in La Quinta over Palm Springs, or you’ll end up spending more time commuting to the festival than you’d like. We rented a sprawling home on a PGA course complete with games rooms, fire pits, and pools – key elements to any bachelor party weekend.

We headed to the festival ground around 5 pm each day. Most of the big bands and/or DJs weren’t really on until late afternoon, which allowed for the 36 degree desert heat to be more manageable without a heavy dash of Gold Bond down your pants. I digress.

Although there are many less expensive options for transport, including many opportunistic Americans who decided to make a quick buck over the weekend by providing taxi services with their personal vehicles, I think it is best practice to get a dedicated car service. But then again I tend to value punctuality over cost-effectiveness.  Once on the grounds, well wait, it’s +/- 2 kms past camp sites and parking lots before you even get to the actual grounds. But once there, skip the line if you aren’t carrying a bag. (Most tend not to realize this.) Once inside, it’s quite a diverse demographic – nearly as diverse as the acts.

In between breaks from the beer tent, I managed to take in some great shows including Benny Benassi, Nicky Romero, Blur, Phoenix, Alex Clare, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and Wu-Tang Clan.  By far, the highlight was the interactive performance by the Diplo-fueled Major Lazer. It was, in the simplest terms, a shirts-off dance party infused with reggae, rap, british pop, and 90’s grunge, layered on heavy house tracks.  I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention the miraculous logistics of the event. Herding 80,000 hipsters is far more challenging than cats, but still, somehow, this event ran like a well-oiled machine. I didn’t see one celebrity.
So, today I head back east and shed the final morsel of slightly over-baked sun burn peel from the heat of the desert sun. Along with it, the musk of debauchery, the tint of the sun, and the persistent ringing in my ears . An exceptional time is guaranteed at Coachella on the rare occasion that a stellar team are assembled to vacation together at a rave in the desert. Until next time.

Danny is a super elite method traveler and Moleskine enthusiast. Carry-on or none at all. Feasts on everything from mystery meat to the Michelin ranked. Hates emoticons, but hash tags prolifically. Find him doing so @dabichandani.

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