Sunday, May 16, 2010

Coachella: Music and Madness

The grounds were huge. The camping grounds an odd assortment of people packed in different places and with different things. There are a number of colors and all of them bleed into the desert and the harsh light of the morning that wakes me up. The sun is hot and fierce and pierces me in my sleeping bag.

We are packed in tight, not the last comers, certainly but close to the ends of the lot, so our plan to be early had not really succeeded in a reasonable way. I learned later that people had started showing up as early as Thursday morning at 8am to get into the camp grounds.

There are people everywhere. On our own lot we are camping with a group of six people. The space is mall and has four tents. The tents fill all the space so you have to tiptoe around in the grass to find a small enough space to do anything else into the desert.

There are people everywhere. It's a surprise to me, the shocking number of people on the campgrounds. I knew there would be a number of people, but knowing and seeing are two entirely different things. People using drugs and people playing games, and people breathing, and speaking and talking, a few fucking and all of it happening into he morning light and the desert. It's hot.

It's going to get hotter.

I feel filthy after being in the car so long but I know there is no help for that. I anticipate three days of filth. Later when people are up, I eat some bread and cheese and go off to explore. I'm not good at being with people sometimes, I think to myself. Too much crowding, too much planning.

I want to get to the showgrounds earlier, I want fro find good places to watch music from. The group wants to stick together but the individual in me wants to branch off and explore. I find tents with food, and tents for electronics. I decide to charge my cell phone.

This is oddness. I wonder if anyone who had attended Woodstock would not be amused to see the rush of you trying desperately to get energy into their different technological gear. There is so much gear. I watch the shelves looking for an opening in the outlet. The blackberries and the Samsungs, MP3 players and camera batteries, and notebooks, and laptops, all of it crowded in and fighting over an open outlet to get a charge.

And here I am just as much a digital nomad as the rest trying to find my own space for plugging in and recharging.

It amuses me that I left my computer at home because I was worried about having to carry it around with me the whole time in the desert. I smile at the thought and look at the toys that are stacked upon each other to get power.

Later I go for the music. There is something so lovely about being surrounded by crowds and music. I have a tendency to want to be at the front or as close to the front as I can get for a show. This is funny to me because I also tend towards cluster phobia, but somehow I have myself convinced if they are all behind me and there is nothing but open gate and stage in front then it is all okay and I can be okay, and be free, and be happy to enjoy the music and the self expression and the freedom of me and just sound.

I saw a dozen acts this way, pressed towards the front of the stage with the crowd pressed in behind me. I find the press of the crowd alarming at times. Or maybe it is just the smell of the crowd. There is an omnipresent haze in all the tents at all the shows. The casual use of drugs is surprising to me at this point. I think it must be call that time I've spent in Asia that I find all the casual drug use alarming.

You see everywhere there are people smoking and drinking and popping pills. I watch a late show in the tent that can best be described as the 24 hour rave room and people next to me listen to the music while having sex, press up against the backs of the idle dancing and throbbing couples in front of them. It's such an odd effect to watch a man penetrate his girlfriend in such an insane press of people, not being able to control it or only being able to control so much. Maybe it was just the night.

I fought out of the press of the crowd, the insanity, and moved into the cool night desert air, happy I brought me jacket with me. I feel like spinning, like watching the moon. I feel like more dancing. I take in the Brazilian singer who sways in the breeze and Fever Ray putting on a beautiful show. I drift on tendrils of smoke and late night until finally I drift back to the campsite and sleep.

1 comment:

linda said...

ahhh, so great...Coachella...I'm amused by the tech-charging tents.