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A Few Tips to Keep the Weekend Festive (Hint: No Backpacks)

April 25, 2002|Geoff Boucher

The size and scope of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival make it a smorgasbord for music fans, but also a test of stamina. Below are some tips for surviving the Coachella weekend.

Step smartly: Needless to say, comfortable shoes are vital for navigating the 80 acres and five stages, but you also need a careful eye. After nightfall, the expanses between the stages become dim minefields of litter and fans sacked out on the grass. Organizers are stepping up the litter patrols this year to help save ankles, and they also ask fans to use the garbage cans and squish plastic bottles to maximize trash capacity.

Shed your backpack: Yes, that's right, backpacks are verboten at the event, a nod to an Indio ordinance and security issues. You can wear fanny packs, however, if they fit your fashion sensibility.

Other banned items that will have you turned back for a long walk to the parking lot include tents, flags, blankets, boda bags, stuffed animals and musical instruments (sorry, kid, no auditions this time). Drugs and weapons are most assuredly not allowed, and undercover police will work the crowd. As for photographs, each fan is allowed to bring one disposable camera.

Weather watch: Fans who attended the first Coachella festival in October 1999 still talk about the heat. It should be a milder affair this time around. Weather Central, which provides forecasts for The Times, predicts partly cloudy skies both days with highs in the upper 70s on Saturday and in the mid-70s on Sunday. At night, expect those temperatures to drop into the low 50s. Winds are expected, some to 30 mph.

Essentials: Interstate 10 will get you east to Indio and, once there, electronic signs on the freeway shoulder will mark the best exits to get you over to the Empire Polo Field. Tickets--$75 for one day, $125 for a two-day pass--are available through Ticketmaster or at the venue. Parking is free. There's no overnight camping at the venue so for lodging information or other details, check out www.goldenvoice.com.

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