It’s possible we were in the parking lot for two minutes before we saw the first cluster of outfits. And a minute or so later, we saw another. And then they just kept coming in waves. Non-stop.
There were fanny packs, everywhere, worn all different ways. Sequins sparkled for days. One lady even wore a gold cape, which was betraying her by twisting in the wind behind her.
This was not Palm Springs. It wasn’t the city we had experienced the night before at a different resort across town, one that felt a little bit like real life Cocoon.
This was Coachella. And we were all getting a front row seat to the sartorial choices being made at this iconic music festival as we waited to check into our hotel, which was doubling that evening as a shuttle stop for folks who wanted to attend the festival.
“I can see her whole butt,” was what one of the kids informed us from the back seat.
“His shorts are really tight,” another observation.
There were boobs and feathers and topless men wearing beaded shoulder pads and golden crowns. There were women in see-through skirts, groups of girls wearing crop tops and denim and enough fanny packs to start a militia.
Fanny packs are a thing. Don’t question it.
This whole trip to Palm Springs was a gift, part of a Christmas adventure my parents gave to the kids. They’d visit the city, and take a fun tram ride up to the top of Mount San Jacinto.
We’d eat. Swim at the hotel. And hike around the park at the top of the mountain.
It just so happened that the lesson in culture we were getting in that parking lot was a bonus.
The whole scene was a stark, but super entertaining, contrast from the day we’d had and the evening we’d experienced the night before at a different resort on the other side of town. There, we were the youngest – by decades. We clapped as golfers went past our patio and tried not to be too loud at the pool.
Here? We could be as loud as we wanted. Bass was bumping from a room on our floor, and dudes were yelling to their bros from their balconies before the sun went down. It felt like Club MTV, a little.
There were short skirts, ass cleavage, an untold number of selfies and an equal number of totally pimp monochromatic ensembles and Hawaiian-style shirts. We couldn’t figure out the exact style, other than to label it as generally “cool,” or generally “whatever.”
It made running to get our take-out super easy, knowing that none of my outfit had to match or be remotely appropriate for public consumption, since by comparison, I was dressed way conservatively.
Which is to say, I had a shirt on. That fit me.
So, whatever. Now the kids know what Coachella demands – a carefully crafted look, that may or may not include fairy-style face paint, a tribal knit poncho in 95 degrees, tie-dye joggers, a mini pleather backpack, a plunging neckline, bandanas somehow coordinated but placed at random, and a willingness to soak it all in and appreciate the message someone is trying to share.
We’re firm believers in the idea that you don’t learn something until you experience it. And they’ve been schooled.