Coachella ’07: Staph infections, flies, and other icky music fest aftermath

In cyclecide bike rodeo by summerburkesLeave a Comment

May 4, 2007 = (now it’s the) Stagecoach Music Festival Artists’ Parking Lot

For whatever reason, the Johnny on the Spot guys did NOT clean the Portajohns in Artists’ Camping after Coachella was over, though they serviced everything else. Warning: This story is gross.

On Tuesday, as we broke down the Cyclecide rides for our Wednesday gig in Riverside, Laird said he went to try to go pee and couldn’t even see the toilet seat for all the flies swarming on it.

Ever smelled a bank of Portajohns that’s been baking for five days in 104-degree heat?

And would you think it smelled better or worse than post-Coachella DOG PUKE our dog Bruno tried to eat again after he threw it up and then we left and came back from the Riverside gig? … Apparently he learned the fine art of post-event groundscoring from his mother. He likes to dig through trash and conserve resources, just like momma. YOU, OK? I LEARNED IT BY WATCHING YOU.

This whole Portajohn / flies / no-showers-for-artists fiasco has caused some health issues. This writer lost her voice long about Tuesday — whether from carnival-barking or total dehydration or something more ominous we’re still not sure — and so did a lot of other people.

Folks who laid on the grass find themselves covered in red and white bumps. Trails form non-cloud-shaped Xes above us in the sky on some mornings here in Indio; on others, not a billow of white up in the blue. Water trucks rumble by and planes fly over to spray the grass on the polo fields with Lord knows what chemicals and pesticides. Flies have multiplied exponentially since our arrival.

hope they're gone by the time the cowboys & cowgals get here

hope they’re gone by the time the cowboys & cowgals get here

Now that the powers that be have finally decided to stop making the artists forage for interesting and unlikely places to go do #2, as well as to bathe and locate enough electricity to charge our phones, the flies have all dispersed. And swarmed our camps.

In the kitchen, in the bus, in our car, all over the dogs and food and people. They’re everywhere. Fly paper doesn’t work because of the new high winds and dust blowing around. The weather might be this way all weekend.

What’s worse, one artist just took a trip to the hospital this morning to treat a staph infection in his eye… which has now got us all washing our hands like Howard Hughes and trying not to panic. That shit’s contagious as hell. We’ve got 4 or 5 days left of this.

This is tour, folks. This is showbiz.

Roughing it is fun — but not for this long, in this heat, with this little shade, when someone else is in charge of hygeine. Cyclecide needs to invest in a generator.

or how bout a pedal-powered orgasmatron

or how bout a pedal-powered orgasmatron

In other news, Monday’s woo-party-party at the Desert Springs hotel pretty much drained anything left in everyone’s batteries. Artists’ groups, friends of, and hangers-on converged on the place, an hour from the site, to celebrate a job well done.

Some of the fancy magical Palm Springs spa-waters are located there at the hotel, and we all like to sit around in the many pools after Coachella and swap stories and drink beer and make “clown soup.”

Michelle Burke had to actually request that Cyclecide shower before entering the water — she said she’s seen the combination of greasepaint and dirt in a jacuzzi before, and it wasn’t pretty.

Turns out soaking in hot tubs for hours on end isn’t the best thing for sunburned skin on a sensitive Southern girl who’s used to humidity instead of oven-style weather. In addition to no voice, we’ve got a white five-o’clock shadow on our already-red face that makes us look like a burn-victim rodeo clown in reverse. We didn’t mean to jaunt to the Palm Desert in our fancy car for a chemical peel and hot tub soak at a hotel spa, but that’s what happened.

Our Wednesday gig two hours away at the barbecue for the UC-Riverside’s end-of-year festivities went off swimmingly. Setup and breakdown happened in “chilly” 70-80-degree weather. Rides only, no Bike Rodeo show, 3-hour start to finish with The Well-Behaved Kids (no alcohol or firearms on campus). After that, BLBC-NYC Dirtyfinger Conrad’s mom brought us all food (hero!) and we rented three rooms in a hotel and took showers.

SHOWERS, people. Life is good.

Gotta go. Someone’s sound-checking and we’re jumpy to see Willie Nelson … next post we’ll tell a bit about Coachella cuz we think we’re finally decompressed enough.

P.S. We heard George Strait is here camping all weekend — not hotel-ing it like all the other divas. He asked for a horse to ride around, and they gave him one. Champ.


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