It was 6:30 a.m. on a Friday. Any self-respecting human being should have been hitting snooze, squeezing nine more blissful minutes of sleep before building the courage to get out of bed and put in the last eight hours that stand between them and the criminally insufficient 64 hours of free time before they slump back into their desk chair. But self-respecting humans are in short supply here. Instead of the shrill blaring of an alarm clock, I was being woken by Don Ricardo, the godfather of Coachella trips, handing out Jager bombs to the poor souls in my tent. I hate Jager. I protest, citing Jager bombs as the drink of choice for douchebags and degenerates. “Well, good thing we’re fucking worthless,” The House Flipper retorts. “Drink, assholes! We’re at Coachellaaaa!”
Despite logging only five hours of sleep in a tent after a raucous Thursday night, I felt energized by the anticipation of my first Coachella. After so many years, I was finally the lucky bastard friend who uploads the obligatory shot of the Ferris wheel and posts about how sick your favorite band is live. For four days, I was at ground zero for the true spirit of Coachella: the campgrounds. Let the weak and the bougie retreat to their hotels with flushing toilets. While the hotel-dwellers likely acknowledged each other with a grumbled “Well, back to the heat and dirt,” campers greeted my dust-induced sneezing fits with a cheery “Bless you and Happy Coachella!” Despite brutal winds, portable toilets, and searing heat, there was nothing but unbridled optimism and a feeling of community amongst the campers. And why wouldn’t there be? For one weekend, we’re at the center of the music universe.