I’m in New York. It’s raining. It’s freezing. And it’s with a wistful smile that I remember back to those three days of suffocating heat in Palm Springs. Even though when the trip first started, it was… Well I would say just ok.
Ah yes. Because the first day, I had no friends around.
No seriously, I’m not kidding, no friends. I was invited at the last minute so I didn’t send a single e-mail, no phone calls, nothing. I had no idea who was going to be around and Sivtone and Nathan, the friends who were joining me, wouldn’t arrive until the day after.
And if there’s something that should be done with friends or not at all, it’s for sure a festival. Can you imagine dancing alone to the Strokes? Having a glass of champagne at the bar, all alone, and toasting with yourself? How dumb is that?
But hey, an invitation like the one I got, you just don’t refuse. Well and then sometimes, being alone is the best way to make friends.
…And to make some wonderful strategic errors. And get some good life lessons. So yeah, I’m talking Coachella lessons.
There are quite a few Coachella lessons. Some of them don’t need much explanation, and others ended up being real chapters in my life there. Here are the lessons we’re talking about:
Coachella Lesson #1: Without a car, you’re nothing.
Coachella Lesson #2: Without sunscreen, you’re nothing. (No further explanation needed)
Coachella Lesson #3: Without a Multi VIP pass, you’re nothing.
Coachella Lesson #4: Without denim cut-offs, you’re nothing. (No further explanation needed)
Coachella Lesson #5: Without friends, you’re nothing.
Coachella Lesson #6: The thing about Coachella is that it’s not so much about the music (We’ll see if this requires further explanation.)
And we’ll start at the beginning.
Coachella Lesson #1: If you don’t have a car, you’re nothing…
I didn’t have a car.
The first day, I was on it like a champ. And what exactly does being on it like a champ mean for our little Garance, listless and lost in the middle of the desert? (Okay, so I’m exaggerating a little bit, yeah yeah, I was in one of the coolest hotels in Palm Springs where Freja was swimming in the pool right off my balcony. Well, I can say the hotel was right smack dab in the middle of the desert!)(Okay, in the middle of Palm Springs which is an oasis in the middle of a dessert, yeah yeah yeah, okay already.)
FYI : Palm Springs is 40 minutes away by car from Coachella. It’s the closest city to sleep in if you’re not pitching a tent.
So what’s being on it like a champ entail?
It’s sneaking on over to the first person who looks nice enough, asking them right away, You have a car? Are you going to Coachella this afternoon? And then before they have the time to think about it, taking his silence for a yes. Then actually stick to them until the person is ready to go.
So this one first person ended up being… well… 10 or so people in actuality all smiling and joking around, and are all more well known under the Ed Banger label.
And that’s how I set off, with the Ed Banger crew, who were there to go play at the Villa Lacoste, three cars all with VIP parking spots. Not bad for my first time passing through the Coachella gate.
As they were all hilarious and adorable, I was pretty much to the point where I was sure they were going to be my bestest friends and that life would be as lovely as a VIP parking spot, and that we’d make a record together setting off the new wave of French Touch, when bam, right at the entrance to the festival, I hear :
“You Don’t Have Access”
[To see the next part of this story, skip ahead to chapter two, Coachella Lesson #3 : Without a Super Mega VIP pass, you're nothing, and see how just as I made my new besties for life, I lost them, and how it's not at all their fault.]
Getting back was a little more complicated. And of course, I knew tons of people at the actual Festival, seeing as Coachella is pretty much mini New York. After seeing a few too many concerts and dancing on the Eurodanse without realizing I was missing the concert of my life three stages over [and this is when I first came to see Coachella Lesson #6, The thing about Coachella is that it's not so much about the music.], I found some friends to head back with.
These new friends were far less smiling and joking around than the Ed Banger crew, oh but of course : They didn’t have VIP parking.
And with no VIP parking, that means you’re sharing spots with 100,000 other people. So it took us 3 hours to get out of there. We left the concert at midnight and got back to the hotel around 4 a.m.
So totally zonked awake and tired out of my mind ready to go, I woke up at 6 a.m., jetlag in full effect, with one single idea in mind :
Uhhhh, actually I can’t think of anything at all. I’m as brainless as a koala (?). I think this is what I did :
I had some coffee (I think this took an hour and a half. Maybe I fell asleep into my cup)
Attempted to give myself a pedicure (Three hours of my life on 10 little toes, AND I messed it up anyway)
Decided to do some yoga (About 3 minutes before I decided it was too hot)
And then finally, took a shower (Which turned out to be a bath. I know. I should’ve just gone straight to the pool. But you understand… Freja was down there)
And then suddenly it was 2PM, and it was time for the Mulberry pool party at the Parker Hotel. I decided to take a cab.
Wait, I’ll say it again:
There’s not a cab to be found during Coachella. They’re all reserved. That or you can wait three hours and even then who knows if they’ll actually come.
So after crying for a while (on the inside, of course. Every drop of water is precious in these desert conditions), I decided that I was entirely too alone and desperate to try hitchiking and that I just needed to just let luck have its way and went out to the front of the hotel.
And luck answered the call, in the form of Vi, who’s in the picture above, jumping in the sky. She had the face of an angel, had left from LA in a taxi and stopped to ask directions to the Ace Hotel. I told her, “Okay, we’ll make a deal. I’ll tell you how to get there if you leave me off at the Parker.” She started cracking up and opened the door. Ha, and she told me that she was on her way to go meet Ed Banger’s crew and there I say : leave the door open to luck and destiny want to step inside. Right?
Yes. After that, my friends Sivtone and Nathan just HAD to arrive in their Ford Mustang, and not only would I finally have my friends nearby, real ones I could do a toast with, but on top of that, we could go wherever we wanted in our convertable and I no longer had to suffer in a carless heeeeeeeeeeell!
So I just realized that my post is now longer than 1000 words (Yep, we are joining the industrial age here at Garance Doré Studio. We’ve even got word counters!) and that’s as long as a post is allowed to be, especially a post where I’m talking out of my ass. Agreed?
But before I finish, I have to say that Sivtone and Nathan arrived a lot later because destiny (by that I mean, the crazy Coachella traffic jams) had decided I needed to spend a couple days without them and before I started crying my eyes out (on the inside of course), Alexa Chung asked me to tag along to the Phillip Lim pool party, and while waiting I met up with Rumi et Colin (I just love them) and they took me around in their super cool SUV and we had a better time together than anything I could’ve ever planned on.
And then Sivtone and Nathan finally arrived (Yeeeeeah!!!), it was six in the afternoon, and they went off to get their passes, and that took them exactly 4 hours (Boooo!) because Without a Super Mega VIP pass, you’re nothing. So around 10 PM, we were reunited.
Get this, they were so tired after their hellish day, they just wanted to go to sleep.
And that’s how I missed out on Arcade Fire, my favorite band and bam, Lesson #6 rears its ugly head once more.
And so now, I’ll let you get back to your life. If my Coachella lessons didn’t make your head spin too much, I’ll be back in season 2 with new lessons much shorter than this season’s. Promise.
Can I give you a little tip? My pass was yellow. Booooo.
Translation : Tim Sullivan