Coachella, April 2011 (Flashback)

“The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is an annual three-day music and arts festival, founded by Paul Tollett and held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, in the Inland Empire’s Coachella Valley. The event has several stages-tents that have been constructed throughout the grounds, with each playing live music continuously for the duration of the festival”.

Though I love music more than life itself, I’ve never been a fan of big concerts or music festivals; I guess I’m not to confortable with very large crowds and all the nonsense that comes with attending these events. So when my old friend from London: Vassi Chamberlain, a writer for Vogue Magazine, told me she was flying to California on her way to the desert for a feature story on Coachella, I was cautious not to express my disinterest. But the good part is that she was going to have a stop over in LA and wanted to have dinner with me, her lovely husband Adrian and a mystery friend, she wanted me to meet, at the Soho House. I love spending time with Vassi & Adrian: she’s hilarious and he’s gorgeous! Little did I know that there was a plot brewing in the trenches to convince me to join them on this crazy road trip.

Now, I’ve been invited to Coachella many times before and always found a way to gracefully stear away from actually going, so when at dinner, Vassi suddenly started insisting I should join them, I was ready with all the many excuses I used in the past to get out of it. There are 2 main real obstacles: there are absolutely no hotel rooms available in the entire desert for this event, specially when trying to book the day before; and there are never, ever any tickets left so far ahead…I’m safe!

It was an ambush, and before I knew it, Vassi invited me to stay in her own 2 bedroom suite at the Parker Hotel (www.theparkerpalmsprings.com), thus solving the hotel room problem; and the very charming mystery dinner guest, who turned out to be Todd Moscowitz, CEO of Warner Brother Music, generously offered me a full access, VIP weekend pass to the event, thus solving the ticket problem. With no excuses left in my arsenal, I gracefully succumbed! The next morning Vassi and Adrian pick me up at my flat and off we go to the scorching desert…so far so good!

Soon after arriving at the Parker hotel we find out that Vassi’s 2 bedroom “glamour” suite is, in fact, a standard room with 1 bed, and unless I intend to sleep between the married couple, there is NO room for me. So now I’m stuck in Palm Springs with no car, no room and no available hotel rooms in the entire californian desert. Desperate, I call my good friend James Moore who always seems to have a solution for everything. After working the phone for a few hours, he calls me to tell me that I should call his good friend Betty, who apparently owns a lot of properties in the valley and perhaps might have a room available, somewhere. What he failed to mention is that the kind of properties his friend owns are in fact Rehab Centers…you know, like Betty Ford’s!

I know…you can’t make this stuff up!!!

Left with no choices, I call the lovely Betty who informs me that a patient was caught doing drugs that morning at one of the rehabs and was consequently kicked out, leaving behind an empty room that I can now use for the weekend. The irony, in case you don’t know, is that Coahcella is a notorious booze & drug fest and the thought of staying in a rehab during this event, was just wrong!!! Non the less, it’s either that or spend $500 on a taxi ride back to LA.

I have the greatest respect for alcoholics and drug addicts that are trying to turn their lives around, so you can imagine the humiliation and embarrassment I went through sneaking in and out of the rehab in my rock & roll outfits, specially after having had a few drinks at the festival; hiding in bushes, waiting for their AA meetings (that seemed to happen hourly) in the main lobby to end so I can sneak back into my room for a quick shower and back out. Regardless, the weekend was filled with great performances and incredible parties all around. I laid on the grass in front of the main stage with my English pals enjoying performances by: Kanye West, Kings of Leon, Duran Duran, Cee Lo Green, Chemical Brothers just to name a few and danced the night away to the sounds of the “Great” Fedde Le Grand! The party circuit outside the festival is even more exiting, at least to me, with corporate companies, individuals, music execs and magazines all competing with each other to secure the top spot for “best party”. Two of my favorites were: my old buddies Brent Bolthouse and Louis Barajas’s Flaunt Magazine party, at a weird house with a life size white horse by the pool…hummm…hints of Studio 54? And the Lacoste party, hosted at a beautiful estate with a private lake in the middle of no where, filled with gorgeous models in skimpy swimsuits and floating “crocodiles”…get it?

Then back to rehab…

“I said no, no, no”

 

Kanye West performing on the main stage…I think!?!

 

Lacoste Party

 

Flaunt Magazine Party with “Studio 54” white horse