After a three-hour survey of Coachella 2013, the changes on the grounds are many, chief among them a new feeling of permanence.
The festival, now in its 14th year, is visibly changed and is showing signs of its new extended commitment to the Indio location: There's a new (sixth) stage, a more festive grand entryway and a better organized food and merchandising area. The dance tents have phenomenal surround sound and a massive light system that in the dark will surely trip out many of the ultra-excited dance kids already sweaty at 3 p.m.
Security has certainly changed, at least in my experience. When entering at 12:30 p.m., only two checkpoints searched attendees. The result: long waits. At the "yellow" entrance, the line was 15 people wide and nearly 100 yards long. There was no organization; no barriers to prevent losers from cutting, no security keeping fans in check. It took a half hour to get in, and I was lucky enough to go through the VIP line (which wasn't identified as such). Fans were barely moving -- and visibly angry -- in the other lines.
At one point an errant 2-year-old made an adorable mad dash for the front of the line -- as his father jogged behind him. Crowds in the line cheered for the tyke as he bum-rushed the gate -- only to be grabbed by his dad and returned to his place in the line.