There is hot. Then there is hot. And then there was the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in 2001. It was 105 degrees in Indio, but, according to our instruments, it felt about 1,005. This year the desert festival looks mighty cool, with 90-plus acts -- veterans like Coldplay and Nine Inch Nails, newcomers like Bright Eyes and the Arcade Fire -- and temperatures in the 80s.
There are other winds of change: People looking for their cars may actually find them. In years past, the parking lot after each night was chaos (darkness, dust and the jumble of idling cars made for a midnight special of the worst kind), so promoter Paul Tollett and company have help from on high -- alphanumerically marked hot-air balloons to guide you.