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Coachella survival guide
Music fans and performers alike will gather again on a green field in the middle of the Southern California desert for three days of music, art, community and other entertainment.
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival returns Friday (4/16) to its home in Indio, CA, for the 10th straight year and 11th overall (the event skipped a year in 2000), hosted, as always, at Indio's historic Empire Polo Field, a vast stretch of irrigated green lawn in the middle of the one of the hottest, driest areas in the United States.
Since beginning in 1999 with a lineup that boasted Beck, Rage Against the Machine, Morrissey and others, the festival has quadrupled in attendance and now features more than 100 acts performing on more than half a dozen stages. The festival has become a required stop over the years for artists on the comeback trail, and 2010 is no exception, as the event will see a reunited Pavement return on the festival's third and final day. Other notable comeback bids over the years have included The Stooges in 2003, The Pixies in 2004 and Rage Against the Machine in 2007.
Headliners for the 2010 edition include LCD Soundsystem, Them Crooked Vultures, Muse, Faith No More, Jay-Z, Atoms For Peace (featuring Radiohead's Thom Yorke), Gorillaz and the aforementioned Pavement. A complete list of performers, along with their time slots, can be found at the festival's website.
The festival continues its tradition of shying away from featuring performers who have appeared previously at Coachella. To date, only 21 performers have made more than two appearances at the event, led by Jane's Addiction frontman Perry Farrell, who has made the lineup every year, often in a DJ role.
Since 2003, the event's organizers have allowed tent camping at a site adjacent to the event, at an additional cost to attendees. The campground, which includes a general store, showers and karaoke lounge, has its own separate festival entrance. Tents, chairs, and outside food and beverages brought into the camping areas may not be brought into the festival itself. The camping area opens Thursday (4/15), a day ahead of the festival's official opening.
Pets are not allowed inside Coachella's main grounds, nor are audio recording devices and professional cameras (those with detachable lenses), according to the event's website, although small digital cameras are allowed, along with sun block, small beach towels and medium-sized backpacks. Bottled water will be sold at numerous vendor locations for $2 per bottle, and booths selling hats, sunscreen and sunglasses will also be available. Fans should also be aware that, although temperatures onsite can soar above 100 degrees during the day, the dry desert atmosphere means that temps can drop to near-freezing at night.
Although the 2010 event is already sold out, the festival generated some controversy among longtime attendees this year by opting not to sell single-day tickets for the first time, which meant that anyone who wished to attend the 2010 event would be forced to purchase a three-day pass.
"We’re really trying to make it great for the fan," festival promoter Paul Tollett told the Los Angeles Times in defense of the decision. "We understand it will affect some people who want to go for one day, but we have to protect the three-day people. It was a complex decision. We put some thought into it, and we’re trying our best to make it a good experience."
Tollett claimed in the article that more than 80% of concertgoers have bought multi-day passes since the festival was expanded to three days in 2007.