It was the night before the beginning of the Coachella Music & Arts Festival, and as fans from around the world descended on Palm Springs and the surrounding area it became clear that they had come to party. Before a note was even played onstage or in the tents at the Empire Polo Club, the place to do it was the Ace Hotel.
The sweat in the Amigo Room at the stylish hotel was so thick on Thursday night that revelers literally slipped off one another in passing. Experimental laptop musician Flying Lotus entranced the tiny bar, which was so packed that it wasn’t clear where one body started and another ended. There was only the beat and the promise of music, so much more music.
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A groggy Friday morning arrived for many as they slunk out of their hotel rooms dressed in tiny bikinis, board shorts, band T-shirts, sandals and ball caps. They dipped themselves in cool swimming pools, ate greasy diner breakfasts and headed for their cars and the festival’s famous pre-show traffic snarls. (One Times reporter, en route to the Empire Polo Club to cover the festival, spent the early afternoon stuck in bumper-to-bumper gridlock for more than an hour outside of Palm Springs.)
Things would not heat up on the desert festival until mid-afternoon, and by nightfall more than 80,000 bodies would cram the field, vying for small patches of grass and an unobstructed view of one of many stages.
At noon, Friday, the day was still quiet and the sun not yet fierce. A dry 79 degrees had settled in and temperatures were forecast to crank all the way up to a sweltering 91 degrees. Soon, skin would get burned and bodies massively dehydrated.
None of that bothered Richard Flores from Los Angeles. Wearing shorts and a black Nine Inch Nails T-shirt, he climbed into a VW bug outside the Caliente Tropics Resort, looking fresh and ready to start the day.
“I always find a lot of acts that I never would have seen outside the festival,” he said, adding that he was particularly excited to see Johnny Marr and How To Destroy Angels, the band led by Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor. “There’s just so much variety here.”
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