Coachella 2005

United States United States | by Sara Wright | 01 May 2005

Coachella is to the festival junkie what Business Class is to the frequent flyer; clear blue skies, 'green' grass (no sludge in sight!), the purest, loudest, non-windswept sound and some of the best British bands you'll hear all summer (and a fair smattering of pretty decent American ones too!)

There is camping on site, but in 40 degree desert heat you wake up feeling like you've been wrapped in foil and thrown on a barbecue, so most festival-goers opt for one of the many nearby motels. This would explain the fact that nearly everyone is immaculately turned out, with clothes, hair and make-up all perfect. Girls in heels, bikini tops and the tiniest skirts or hot pants are the norm. What else do you expect in California? Only the Bauhaus fans seem indifferent to the heat in huge buckle boots and tights or the slimmest fitting black jeans (never let a goth run the risk of a suntan!) The toilets (or 'restrooms' as they are laughingly called here) are the bulk standard plastic festival port-a-loos, but are spotlessly clean at all times, unlike the mud encrusted ones at English events. However we still overhear several people complaining about them, their gripe being that a particular cubicle has run out of toilet paper (Oh the hardship of it all!)

The site itself is aesthetically stunning, ringed by palm trees and mountains, a little oasis in the desert. Wierd and wonderful art installations are creatively scattered around the site, including a select collection of designer wheelie bins. There are five stages - three tents and two outdoor, which showcase a huge range of music, from hip-hop and dance to indie and rock. The outdoor stages are amazing, completely open, so that the backdrop to the bands is a vista of palm trees and mountains.

On Saturday The Raveonettes wow the crowd with their set, Sharin Foo looking beautiful as ever in a pastel blue sundress. They get everyone dancing to screechy guitar based pop and are obviously ecstatic to be here.

Next up are Snow Patrol, bringing a more laid back feel to the proceedings and giving us a chance to chill out before heading to the Outdoor Theatre Stage to see the performance of the day by Razorlight. Johnny Borrell is on fine form, seemimg ever more confident and with his Iggy Pop style showmanship, whipping off his shirt (to many catcalls), before climbing the scaffold at the side of the stage and singing, perched precariously halfway up, and dedictaing the set to 'Make Poverty History'. Meanwhile, on the main stage, another British band Keane give a calmer alternative to Borrell's antics.

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- Photographer: Craig Arthur

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