Pop & Hiss

The L.A. Times music blog

« Previous Post | Pop & Hiss Home | Next Post »

Coachella 2012: A dinner table for 75,000, please

April 14, 2012 |  6:33 pm

Coachella crowd

From his bar and restaurant on the grounds of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, John Catti has seen some pretty cringe-inducing incidents. We're talking men down on the ground, injured so badly that a helicopter would need to be called in. Kids, don't try playing polo at home.

Situated on the site of the Empire Polo Club, Coachella has swelled in size over the years to take in more structures that belong to the club. One is a bar and restaurant that overlooks what would normally be polo matches. For the dual Coachella weekends, it's situated near the campsite and main entrance. 

Catti runs Palm Desert's Roc's Firehouse Grill with Jayme Cook, and the two this year have leased the Empire Polo Club site for polo and music festival season. Folks have harrumphed about the effects of rock 'n' roll on young'uns since even before Elvis Presley shook his hips, but Catti wants to make one thing clear: Coachella festival goers are relatively tame.

COACHELLA 2012 | Full coverage

"All our regulars are bummed because they can't get in here without tickets," he said. "But the polo people? They know how to party." 

Take that, ravers. 

Roc's Firehouse Grill remains a hidden gem on the Coachella site. It's a sit-down restaurant with a full waitstaff -- Cook said they tripled their staff for the two Coachellas -- and it's open to everyone, not just the VIPs. Even those with access to private areas around the Empire Polo Club are enjoying the respite that Roc's offers. The Black Keys, for instance, stopped by for dinner Friday night.

The Indio outpost of Roc's will be closed between festivals, but Catti doesn't mind. After all, he can sit on the roof and take in Coachella sound checks. He happened to catch one three-hour set last Tuesday from a couple of hip-hop artists who will be performing Sunday. 

After the country-focused Stagecoach festival at the end of the month, Roc's will be closed till polo season. That, said Catti, is when you really want to hang out at Roc's. "You can feel the horses running in here," he said.


PHOTOS: Coachella 2012

SHARE: Tweet us your photos and stories

PANORAMA: Virtual tour of Coachella 2012

MOBILE USERS: All you need to survive Coachella

-- Todd Martens

Photo: Saturday at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times