Dancing In The Desert, Pt. 1

13 Jan

[With the Coachella lineup being announced this week, excitement is running high again for this year’s installment of the Southern California music extravaganza.  Here at Dan Swanky’s, we wanted to push past the breathless hype and get the gritty details about what the Coachella experience is all about.  Lucky for us, our resident Steed made his first trip to the festival last year, and offered to give us a rundown of his time there.]

“So last year, on the Monday before Coachella, I got a call from my buddy [name redacted] out of the blue, and he offered me a free 3-day pass to the festival.  I had heard word of this thing over the past few years, but until that point my only festivus experience had been a 4-day stint at Burning Man 2009, which ended with a cloud of body glitter and a false paternity test.  But everything I had heard about Coachella pointed to a weekend full of sun, music, intoxicants, and beautiful women, so it was pretty much a no-brainer to take that pass.  After locking that down, I put my ear to the pavement and found a ride and a place to stay – my co-worker [name redacted] is an up-and-coming DJ/producer/poet and he had rented a big house situated on one of those golf courses out by the festival grounds.  I spent the next couple days working on my base tan and filling out my tank-and-jorts wardrobe, and I was primed to go by Friday.

Day One

My co-worker picked me up in his Element bright and early Friday morning so that we could get out there before the good music got started.  On the way out to the desert, I cracked some road sodas and got to know the other carpool passengers, who were all part of a DJ collective that specialized in Brazilian house music.  It was tough keeping up with their muso-speak, but luckily they all liked to party, so we got on fine.  A few hours and three cases of Bud Heavy later, we arrived at the rental house and had some time to suit up and warm up before taking the plunge into the festival, which was a few miles down the road.

As I was rubbing some dirt on my “too-clean” shoes, one of my new Collective friends asked what I had in stock for the concerts.  I asked what he meant, and the rest of the crew emptied their fanny packs to show me.  Feeling like a veritable canoe without a paddle, I confessed that I had nothing, and they generously pooled together some resources and gave me a grab-bag to keep things going, at least for the first day.  With that settled, I put the party ‘Bans on and we headed out.  I had a heart full of hope, a pocket full of mystery, and was ready to get Festive.

After getting dropped off, we made our way through the haze and dust to the white tents marking the entrance.  I could hear some thumping coming from behind the festival fences, and the combination of the Bud and the ‘grab bag’ had me feeling like I was Braveheart standing in line, with the war drums beating ominously before battle.  The pocket full of mystery became the sock full of mystery as we safely made it through the high school Security Squad, and walked past the ferris wheel [Ed.’s note: Don’t worry, this will come up later] into what could only be described as an electric meadow of debauchery.  There was plenty going on, but our first real show up was Skrill It [Skrillex], some strange-looking fellow that I wasn’t familiar with, but I was just going with the flow at that point.

Skrill was playing in what they called the Sahara Tent, which in reality was a small airplane hangar, but in Coachellareality was a hotbed incubator of dance that over the next three days would be a source of bliss, confusion, aggression, seduction, fulfillment, and fear.  Sometimes all at once, if you were lucky.

My first step in to the belly of Sahara was with Skrill at the helm, and at first I didn’t know what to do with myself.  I knew I was in the right place, with all the shirtless bros in party ‘Bans and neon hats, so I waited for my next cue, which came as the bass dropped and the bros and babes lost their minds to the wiggle.  I wiggled along with them and was lost in the womping for a bit, but was brought sharply back to reality when I looked up and realized that a bunch of aggro dudes [Korn] were yelling something about something, and the rest of my group were slowly backing away to the safety of the open meadow.

After Skrill had broken the music ice, the next few hours were a slight blur of ‘grab bag’ experiments and Sahara tent light shows with Afrojohn and Ajax [Afrojack and A-Trak].  I remember a ton of smiles and jumping, but not many details until I realized I was straddling the fence at the Main Stage Beer Garden and yelling for Kings of Lee [Leon]  to Play Fucking Freebird.  I’m pretty sure I was getting my request across, but at that point I was shaken down by a few security guards and took a tumble to the Main Stage side of the fence.  My instincts kicked in when I hit the ground and I took off running into the huge crowd assembled around the Kings doing their thing.

I came to a stop in the middle of the Stage field, and as I collected myself I realized that my tank was gone, and I had yellow highlighter all over my chest and an American flag bandana ’round my neck instead.  Which was pretty alright with me.  I sat down to take a rest and found myself on a blanket of cool babes in flannels who were Checking Out Those Fucking Stars and Just Resting For A Sec, so I just rested along with them and before you knew it, we had a tight little massage train going on, and my ‘grab bag’ was up for grabs.  This is about where the lights went off for me, as I wasn’t fully acclimated to Chella Time yet, but I know at some point I went with the Flannel Ladies to their campsite, because that’s where I woke up – Day Two staring me straight in the face and asking What Else Do You Got.

To Be Continued….Day Two….


3 Responses to “Dancing In The Desert, Pt. 1”


  1. Dancing In The Desert, Pt. 2 « Dan Swanky's - January 19, 2012

    […] Catch up on Day One here. […]

  2. Dancing In The Desert, Pt. 3 « Dan Swanky's - January 25, 2012

    […] Day One […]

  3. Personal Soundtrack « Dan Swanky's - March 19, 2012

    […] while Dancing in the Desert on Sunday, April […]

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