Coachella 2011: Slow rolling in the heat toward the parking lots
For all the pre-planning those headed down to Coachella on Friday could have done –- traffic, security, wristband pick-up, etc. -– there is one thing that caught a great deal of Coachellers off guard: parking.
With tighter security and a handful of road blocks, cops and parking attendants turned away vehicle after vehicle of confused drivers who flashed their golden wristband (OK, bands are more of a yellowish hue).
The streets surrounding the Polo Field quickly became stockpiled with cars trying to scramble to the five lots available for free day parking -– though we were turned away by police from two lots because “they’re not open yet,” but none knew when or if they'd open Friday.
As Madison and Monroe streets became parking lots in their own rights, it became an everyone-for-him-or-herself scene out of some cheesy rock-themed, post-apocalyptic flick.
Folks opted to ditch their friends who were driving and sprint toward the desert heat to the field to catch openers they were missing -– there were two miles to go according to our GPS and it was a brisk 91 degrees outside.
A few poor souls took bathroom breaks in the shrubs, and we spotted a crew of boys who were “pre-gaming” as they walked toward the field. A handful of drivers even took their chances with being towed and parked on grassy areas that were spiked with “do not park” signs.
Special kudos to the entrepreneurial folks of Indio who took advantage of the ole distressed Coachellers by offering make-shift shuttles in their pickup trucks –- for a fee of course.
The journey from will call to a coveted parking spot? Only two hours. Maybe taking the shuttle from the seedy looking fellow would have been the better option?
-- Gerrick D. Kennedy
Photo: Traffic stretches down Madison Street for miles as cars try to secure parking spots. Credit: Gerrick D. Kennedy / Los Angeles Times