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Coachella 2012: Calm crowds, bad traffic, tight security on Day 3

April 15, 2012 |  8:21 pm

After two days of breezing through the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival with ease, the final day threatened to become a test of patience. 

As the sun made an early and permanent arrival over the Indio sky, festival-goers clad in the summer garb they’d been waiting to enjoy without consequence for the past two days made their way into the Empire Polo Grounds late Sunday afternoon, but not without hurdles.

Traffic surrounding the Empire Polo Grounds came to a snarl as cars dumped out impatient passengers who ran toward the closest entrance. The lines at security were noticeably slower as staffing appeared beefier at one checkpoint than it had in the days before.

Coachella 2012 | Full coverage

Out on the festival grounds, however, the mood Sunday felt noticeably calmer. 

As Fitz and the Tantrums jammed on the main stage, I floated to the Gobi tent — where some of the weekend’s best moments have happened — to catch the low end electro-jazz-fusion of Thundercat, part of L.A.'s electronica beat crew Brainfeeder. It was a must to continue the high from Flying Lotus on Saturday night and it was nice to see a calmer crowd enjoy the music: Some clutched cold beverages, while others stretched out on the ground. This was Coachella at its most laid-back. 

Even the raucous noise of hip-hop producer AraabMuzik next door at the Mojave tent had a more cerebral effect as the crowd shifted gently. One girl cutting through the crowd sought comfort from the heat with a fan that was a cutout of the night’s co-headliner, Snoop Dogg.

A more chilled vibe proved too much for one reveler I spotted in the VIP tent who needed assistance from festival staffers. As the teen laid on the ground, pants disheveled, his friend — clad in a T-shirt featuring Snoop Dogg endorsing cannabis — helped him pull it together. It could have been the heat. But it could have been something else. 

As the kid shook himself off and walked away, a buzzed guy’s Fatboy Slim T-shirt seemed to wink at the calm.

“God bless this acid house,” it read with a slouching happy face.


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— Gerrick D. Kennedy @gerrickkennedy

Photo: John LaBue, 18, of San Francisco texts friends while festival-goers walk to other venues at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on Sunday in Indio. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times