April 15th, 2012, 12:23 pm · · posted by GUEST
The wind kicked up mid-afternoon at the Coachella Valley Arts and Music Festival, sending cardboard garbage cans tumbling across the polo grounds as a few fat raindrops fell tentatively from the black clouds above. No worries for Brenda Argueta, Thalia De La Torre and Chryssa Adams, though. The three Orange County women stayed happy and dry inside the clear plastic ponchos they’d brought along just in case the weather forecast was right.
“We’d like to think we’re prepared,” said Argueta, 24, of Fullerton, laughing at the bizarreness of the usually scorching festival kicking off Friday with the first rains in its history.
She’d come from Fullerton for her second Coachella festival, bringing along De La Torre and Adams for their first.
“I’ve always wanted to come because my friends have come,” said De La Torre, 24, of Fountain Valley, sitting on the grass in front of the main stage as hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar performed. “The cost, the time off work. This time I just decided I had to be here.”
She wasn’t alone. Some 75,000 or so music lovers are expected each day this weekend – and again next weekend – at the festival that’s become perhaps the most prestigious such gathering in the United States, ranking highly when stacked against similar festivals around the world. (See more photos from Coachella 2012 by clicking the photo below).
Mathew Michaud, a 43-year-old chef from Fullerton, sat at the back of the Gobi tent, taking in a set by the band Other Lives. He’s been to Glastonbury and Reading, two English festivals that are among the biggest in the world, and says that over the eight or nine years he’s been coming to Coachella it seems to have evolved and grown to stand alongside those just fine.
“It’s always the music for me,” Michaud said. “It’s obviously grown to huge proportions, and added all the art and other stuff, too. I think that’s all a part of the evolution of the festival. There are a lot of great festivals and this is one of the best.”
Part of the growth in Coachella’s appeal is the diversity of its acts, Michaud reckons. He’s more of an alternative rock guy, but he’s seen how popular the Sahara tent has become for fans of electronic dance music. There’s room for everyone, and that makes it nice, he adds.
We ran into Dallas King on his way to that very tent, rushing to catch a set by R3hab. Actually, we ran after him because his costume – green sequins and feathers from head to toe – was impossible to ignore.
“I just wanted to be lucky today,” said the filmmaker from Los Angeles who only said he was around the age of 27. “So I thought, ‘Why not come as a warrior leprechaun?’”
That explains the sequined and glittery shoulder pads, shin- and wrist guards. Though how the green feather boa attached as his tail fits that profile we’re still not sure.
Fraser Young of Calgary in Canada opted to dress in the opposite extreme: low-hanging shorts, no shirt, “Love Each Other” painted on his stomach and his chest hair shaved into the shape of a heart. He was having a very good time as the Sheepdogs, a Canadian act, got the afternoon started on the Outdoor Stage.
“I was here last year for the first time,” he said. “I’ve been planning this for 364 days.”
As for the manscaping he’d done, well, it came off better than last year, he admitted.
“Last year I tried to do a maple leaf and represent Canada, but I butchered it so I had to go bare-assed,” Young said, referring to his chest, not his rear end we hope. “So this year I just decided to do something to send out a message of love.”
By Peter Larsen for The Orange County Register
For more Coachella coverage all weekend (and next!) go toocregister.com/coachella.