The Stones played their final gig this weekend at the massively successfully two-weekend Desert Trip “Oldchella” mustic festival, and after Sunday night’s appearances of The Who and Roger Waters, it will be all over now.
But only for this year.
After a record-breaking ticket gross of $160 million for the entire festival, not to mention selling thousands of $40 T-shirts and a flood of $13 beers as sold-out crowds flocked to see and hear Paul McCartney, the Stones, Neil Young, and, of course, Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan, we can be pretty sure there will be more old-guy rocker festivals in the future.
The festival, with headliners’ average age of 72, was originally intended to be a single-weekend affair, but organizers added a second weekend in response to popular demand after the event was announced in May.
Playfully dubbed “Oldchella,” the festival largely targets baby boomers. The big name performers and a relatively upscale audience with an average age in the low 50s were expected to help the festival generate revenue in excess of the record $84 million raked in during last year’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
The Who will open Sunday’s final show at 6:15 p.m., while Pink Floyd frontman and co-founder Roger Waters will finish off the Desert Trip experience beginning at 9:10 p.m.
Original Who members Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend dazzled with a two- hour set last week, supported by a backing band that featured Townshend’s younger brother Simon on guitar.
Meanwhile, audiences can look out to see if Waters repeats his less-than- subtle politically-charged performance from last Sunday. Waters, whose set included numerous Pink Floyd hits, took stark aim at Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump Sunday night, projecting Trump’s face across the on-stage video screens interspersed with the word “Charade,” an image of Trump’s head on a pig’s body, and Trump wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood. Waters topped it off by launching the iconic inflatable pig from the album “Animals,” with the words “Ignorant, lying, racist, sexist pig,” painted on the side of the balloon.
At $199 for single day general admission tickets and $399 for a full weekend, admission prices are comparable to Music promoter Goldenvoice’s other Indio festivals, Coachella and Stagecoach. However, for Desert Trip Goldenvoice also arranged for pricey amenities catering to an older crowd, including a top- shelf $179 “culinary experience” featuring dishes from chefs from across the country and stadium seating, something unheard of at Goldenvoice’s other festivals.
While the festival brought audiences out in droves like Indio’s other annual mega-concerts, Desert Trip festival-goers were much less rowdy, at least according to Indio police statistics.
Indio police arrested 28 people during the first Desert Trip weekend — most of them for alcohol-related violations, said Indio police Sgt. Daniel Marshall. Just under 30 others also received citations, primarily for misusing disabled placards and license plates.
In contrast, this year’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in April yielded 270 arrests across both festival weekends, including for a stabbing stemming from a fight among members of the festival’s security staff. At the Stagecoach Festival about a month later, 157 people were arrested or cited, primarily for alcohol-related violations.
Those not attending the festival but planning to travel through Indio and neighboring La Quinta are advised to be aware of potential traffic congestion, numerous road closures and designated festival routes.
Festival routes will be situated along:
— Jefferson Street, southbound from Interstate 10 to Avenue 52;
— Washington Street, southbound from Interstate 10 to Avenue 52;
— Monroe Street, southbound from Interstate 10 to Avenue 52;
— Highway 111 at Jefferson Street;
— Highway 111 at Monroe Street;
— Interstate 10 exit eastbound at Jefferson Street; and
— Interstate 10 exit eastbound at Monroe Street.
Roads will be closed at:
— Avenue 49 between Hjorth and Monroe streets;
— Avenue 50 between Madison and Jackson streets;
— Hjorth Street between Avenue 49 and Avenue 50;
— Madison Street between Avenue 49 and Avenue 52; and
Alternate routes for north-south travel can be found on Washington Street, Jefferson Street, Calhoun Street and Golf Center Parkway, with west- east travel routes available at Fred Waring Drive, Miles Avenue, Avenue 48 and Avenue 54.
Various three-day packages for Desert Trip’s second weekend were available earlier this week but have since sold out through the festival’s official site. However, tickets can still be found on various secondary sites.
Attendees must remember to get their entry wristbands activated at activation.deserttrip.com before arriving at the Empire Polo Grounds.
Hotel rooms in the Coachella Valley were booked solid months in advance, as well as vehicle and tent camping just off the venue.
Camping spots ranged from $99 per car and tent camping to a $10,000 Safari Tent, which comes fully furnished with its own secure fence line and dedicated security.
In addition to the live performances, the festival features “The Desert Trip Photography Experience,” a 36,000-square-foot exhibit of more than 200 photos of the performers, housed within a massive air-conditioned indoor tent.
Free day parking is available starting at noon, along with designated shuttle drop-off and pick-up areas available to move concert-goers to and from the venue. Shuttles going to the venue will run from 1:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Shuttles departing the Empire Polo Grounds operate until 60 minutes after music ends.
The Empire Polo Grounds will open to festival-goers at 2 p.m.
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