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Coachella 2012: Case of the fake wristband

April 13, 2012 |  5:00 pm

There are few things more nerve-racking than getting the security pat-down when you enter a venue, between taking out all your belongings and getting that oh-so-close body frisk from a big burly gentleman with a lack of sensitivity in his touch.

But there’s nothing more ironic (and heartbreaking) than becoming a confirmation for two gentlemen that they’d been had by a crafty scalper.

Walking into the security turnstiles at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival Friday afternoon — raindrops and chilly wind included — gave this writer his first glimpse at one of possibly many counterfeit Coachella badges that are circulating on Craigslist and in the hands of sketchy parking lot peddlers around the camping ground.

COACHELLA 2012 | Full coverage

By now, festival goers and those at home lusting on Instagram and Twitter have no doubt seen the official badges that are a peachy color with the word "Coachella" in silvery, glittery lettering stitched in. There are also rows of "C1" (likely meaning the first weekend) lining the edge with pink lettering; every other C1 is inside of a pink circle with peach lettering and a pink security tag clamping it on.

“Hey, could you come here a second?” a very nice, but extremely scary-looking security guy called in my direction. He held up my arm and informed the two gentlemen that this is what the wristband looked like, and what they were wearing was a botched counterfeit.

The counterfeit wristbands that we encountered had a much richer orange hue to them, though the "Coachella" was still silver and glittery. And there were C1’s stitched in pink, but were missing the pink circles.

After much ballyhooing and even the cringe-worthy, “But I work with an artist and we've been very good to Goldenvoice" plea, the men were escorted out. They claimed they got their wristbands from a box office on site, something the security guard said was impossible, considering the check-in is off-site. 

We just hope they didn’t shell out a great deal of cash to the guy advertising Coachella wristbands on a white posterboard with black Sharpie at the nearby Ralphs.


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— Gerrick D. Kennedy


Photo: Coachella wristband. Credit: Gerrick D. Kennedy / Los Angeles Times