As the melancholy strains of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ “From Her to Eternity” skittered across the Empire Polo Club in the final hours of Coachella’s opening weekend, many music fans felt as cold and forlorn as the music coming from the main stage.
A surprisingly fierce sandstorm buffeted the festival Sunday with temperatures plummeting from a high of 84 degrees earlier in the day to a low of 58 (with a “RealFeel” of 52 degrees, according to AccuWeather.com) and winds clocking in at 37 miles per hour, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
The unexpectedly chilly, windswept landscape resulted in a new nickname for this year’s festival: “Blowchella.”
As palm trees swayed dramatically in the wind, a dusty haze enveloped Coachella, partially obscuring the neon light of its signature visual element, the Ferris wheel. And with sand from across the Low Desert kicking up across festival grounds, attendees resorted to drastic measures to keep the elements at bay.
Suddenly, every fifth person you saw was wearing a bandanna face mask over his or her nose and mouth. Women in bikinis visibly shivered. Concertgoers tucked their arms into their T-shirts for warmth and refashioned beach towels as ponchos. A significant number of Coachellans headed for the exits long before Sunday’s headliner, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, had played their final notes.