I wouldn’t call myself a music festival “guy.” In fact, I’d argue that I’ve gotten worse at attending live music events in general. Sure, I did Lolla once back home in Chicago and the past few years my big head has shown up at Coachella. However, that was primarily for an excuse to wear the only throwback jersey I own.
When Desert Trip was announced in May, it piqued my interest. Not only was the lineup insane (Stones, the Who, McCartney, Dylan, Neil Young and Roger Waters) but it was being billed as a music festival for old people by old people. Since I’m an old soul and have the low back and hip of a geriatric, I thought I’d check it out. Here are some takeaways from Weekend One.
1. Lawn seats: THEY ALLOWED CHAIRS. Now that I got to spend all three evenings reclined in a slingback chair doing my favorite thing in the world (sitting), I’ll never go to a festival where you’re required to stand again.
2. Outfits: While festival season is always a great chance to see some exposed flesh on young dumb 18-year-olds, Desert Trip was a whole helluva lot of expired boob jobs and C-section scars.
3. Prices: They knew their demographic. Beers were 30 percent more expensive than a standard festival and merch was marked up about 50 percent. That merch tent was BUMPING too – I should have hung out there instead of trying to decipher what Bob Dylan was singing.
4. Food: Some great SoCal restaurants and chefs came out to the desert to feed the masses. However, the one thing I noticed that was lacking was dessert. I couldn’t find a goddamn pastry or ice cream cone anywhere. No dessert in the desert? Maybe they were afraid nobody brought their Lactaid
5. Bathrooms: Unlike your standard Porto-Johns the festival rented air-conditioned trailers with individual bathroom stalls. No longer did I have to hover above the toilet lid while using my sock as TP while some dude on molly is banging on the door. Awesome.
6. Layout: The festival was huge, over 100K people. However it didn’t feel like that many because the lawn was partitioned out with walls and walking paths. There was also VIP grandstand seats that were going for a couple grand a pop but music’s music. We could see fine and hear everything perfectly from the lawn seats.
7. Drugs: Potentially my favorite part of the weekend was the lack of whacked out teenagers not being able to handle their MDMA, running around with their genitals out. The mood was mellow and the general population well-behaved. You certainly had a good share of stoners who were lighting up but it’s California and it was probably for their glaucoma or childhood high jumping injuries.
8. Music: I grew up on classic rock so most of these acts hold a special place in my heart, but man, did they bring it. Since they were each getting a reported $7M fee for a few hours of work I wouldn’t expect anything less but Mick’s still got the moves like Mick and Sir Paul’s a goddamn international treasure. If you get a chance to see any of these living legends, don’t pass it up. With an average age of 72 who knows how much longer they’ll be with us?
I think with how much money this weekend made they’ll certainly green light more of these festivals aimed at the older demo. Your boy JR will be first in line for tickets too. If you’re in the Western part of the country there are still tickets available for Weekend 2, so check it out if you can. The Desert Trip: The Post Grad Problem Paradise. .
Image via YouTube