Just How Dangerous Are Coachella-Like Festivals?

Note: our friends at L.A. Weekly and OC Weekly are covering the second weekend of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, in Indio, Calif. This article was written by Andrea Domanick.

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Photo by Timothy Norris/LA Weekly
On Thursday, Coachella attendee Kimchi Truong died after an apparent overdose. It's believed to be the first death tied to the giant annual festival since 2008 - though the actual number is hard to ascertain, since the Riverside County Coroner's Office says it does not track them.

But as always happens when a young person ODs at a music festival, parents and onlookers alike are wondering: Just how safe are these bacchanals? Should they be shut down entirely? Or should we just be glad there aren't more fatalities?


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A Serious Look at Coachella's Drug Culture

Note: Ben Westhoff is Music Editor of L.A. Weekly and Senior Music Editor of Voice Media Group.

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Photos courtesy of L.A. Weekly
Surely some of these Coachella kids are sober. Right?
Oakland, Calif. resident Kimchi Truong was 24. She passed out on the Coachella grounds last weekend, likely due to an overdose. Her death this past Thursday was shocking. But what's really shocking is that this kind of thing doesn't happen more often.

This story is about very young people doing a shit-ton of drugs, but let's start with the old folks of the Coachella Valley. Fooling themselves into believing they're not going to die, they populate ticky-tacky communities behind guarded gates, with giant televisions, preposterously lush lawns and mammoth green hedges. They've bought into the illusion that this is a lush paradise, rather than a punishing desert that will remain hospitable only as long as politicians willingly waste the diminishing stash of Western water. The men, who are tan, and the women, who take walks in the morning, came from greater L.A., arriving to places like Indian Wells and Palm Springs to escape the smog, traffic, crowding and chaos.

How betrayed they must feel, then, when the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival brings the riff-raff back to their doorstep for two weekends every year - the biggest, most unruly traveling circus imaginable.


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10 Signs You're Too Old For Coachella

Note: Last weekend our friends at L.A. Weekly and OC Weekly were all up in America's No 1. selfie-taking spot, the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, and now they've gone back for more. We know.

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Photo by Chris Victorio/OC Weekly
You tell 'em, Grandpa!
Age, of course, is a state of mind. But it's easy to feel like you've aged 30 years after three busy days at Coachella. Whether you've gone to the festival since the first year in 1999 or just started going a few years ago, the festival can feel a bit, well, different than when you were in your teens and 20s. If so, you might want to check and see if you just might be getting too old for this shit.


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The 13 Best Things About Coachella's First Weekend

Note: The first weekend of Coachella, Southern California's version of FPSF, has just concluded Sunday (or early Monday) in the high desert outside Palm Springs. Our friends at LA Weekly and OC Weekly made it through the whole blessed thing, and kindly brought us this recap.

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Photo by Timothy Norris
Round one of Coachella is over and damn, was it a good one! We're all sore, sunburned and smiling. Here's the best of what we saw during another memorable weekend in Indio.


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The Nine Worst Things About Coachella's First Weekend

Note: The first weekend of Coachella, Southern California's version of FPSF, has just concluded Sunday (or early Monday) in the high desert outside Palm Springs. Our friends at LA Weekly and OC Weekly made it through the whole blessed thing, and kindly brought us this recap.

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Photo by Timothy Norris
Coachella's first weekend was amazing this year! Except when it wasn't. Here are the parts of the festival that rubbed us the wrong way.

Saturday Night dust storm (above)
Conditions may not have been as bad as they were during last year's Red Hot Chili Peppers set, but Saturday night's dusty conditions were still pretty awful. The winds started picking up when the sun started going down, and by dusk, the sky had turned a coffee-stain brown and festivalgoers were wiping desert residue from their eyeglasses and exposed skin.

Dust got everywhere -- in the cracks of your smartphone, for starters, and then, later, in your scalp, nose and bronchial tubes. It's a disgusting affair and a reminder to bring a handkerchief next time. ADAM LOVINUS

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The 50 Most Beautiful People of Coachella 2014

Note: The first weekend of Coachella, Southern California's version of FPSF, has just concluded in the high desert outside Palm Springs. Our friends at LA Weekly and OC Weekly made it through the whole blessed thing, and were kind enough to share their recaps with us. This article is by Katie Bain.

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Photo by Colin Young-Wolff
So many Coachella-goers spend months before the festival working on their tans, their outfits, their figures, and their breezy poses.

There's a real glut of fabulousness, we have to say, both among those in attendance at the Polo Grounds and the parties surrounding the festival. Here are the 50 most beautiful people we saw at Coachella.


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More Cute Coachella Couples Than You Can Shake a Glowstick At

Note: The first weekend of Coachella, Southern California's version of FPSF, has just concluded in the high desert outside Palm Springs. Our friends at LA Weekly and OC Weekly will be there the whole weekend and will be bringing us regular updates. This article is by Mary Carreon.

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Photo by Timothy Norris
There are certainly plenty of single people wandering around the Coachella grounds; the volume of Craiglist "casual encounters" can attest to that.

But there are also ten tons of couples, the vast majority of whom are completely adorable. Here are the cutest we saw.


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Lady L.A. Rockers, Coming Soon Here, Kill It at Coachella

Note: Coachella, Southern California's version of FPSF, is going on this weekend in the high desert outside Palm Springs. Our friends at LA Weekly and OC Weekly will be there the whole weekend and will be bringing us regular updates. This article is by Adam Lovinus.

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Photo by Chris Victorio
H-Town native Solange Knowles
As a dusty wind whipped behind her in hazy stage light, Solange and her ultra-slick backing band brought serious chops and swagger to the polo fields as nighttime fell over Coachella. And then Beyonce showed up on stage dancing to "Losing You." It was the first celebrity big surprise (before Pharrell's star-studded performance) of a festival characterized by strong sets turned in by female artists.

The musical pretext for the Solange set was laid out by two prominent bands on the L.A. scene, which now more than ever, in terms of bands, food, beer, style and attitude, dominates Coachella. This was illustrated by sunwashed afternoon sets by HAIM and Warpaint Friday and Saturday.


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The Celebrity-Endorsement Scene at Coachella 2014

Note: Coachella, Southern California's version of FPSF, is going on this weekend in the high desert outside Palm Springs. Our friends at LA Weekly and OC Weekly will be there the whole weekend and will be bringing us regular updates. This article is by Paul T. Bradley.

Perhaps you've heard about all of the crazy sponsorships celebrities are getting to simply show up to Coachella and wear clothes.

Glee actress Lea Michele is said to receive $20,000 from Lacoste to wear the French fashion label's clothes, while Spring Breakers star Vanessa Hudgens is getting paid $15,000 by McDonald's to attend the three-day event, reports the New York Daily News.Since Lacoste and McDonald's are set to throw their own respective parties, it's likely their deals include attending those bashes.

But that's just the beginning! Our VIP tipster Bradley T. Paulson brings us a whole rash of super-celebs who have gotten way crazier sponsorship deals.


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Matching Coachella Bands to the Appropriate Drugs

Note: Coachella, Southern California's version of FPSF, is going on this weekend in the high desert outside Palm Springs. Our friends at LA Weekly and OC Weekly will be there the whole weekend and will be bringing us regular updates. This article is by Adam Lovinus.

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Photos courtesy of LA Weekly/OC Weekly unless noted
Ever since sunshine acid saturated Woodstock back in 1969, music festivals and recreational pharmaceuticals have gone together. While we applaud those using Coachella as an opportunity to get sober, it's not for everyone, which is why below, we've recommended a fine list of musical acts and drugs that go together, to provide complementary and contrasting flavors for your mind's palette.

Now of course, all of this is at your own risk, we don't endorse any of it, and the author is speaking strictly from a SWIM's (someone who isn't me) sense of experience here cobbled together from the stories of others.


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