April 13, 2012 6:32pm PT by Michael O'Connell
Coachella 2012 Kicks Off With Drizzle, Dampening Few Spirits
The unheard of threat of rain, high winds and cool temperatures at this weekend's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival had many attendees contemplating the end of days and seriously reconsidering recent tank top binges since the 10-day forecast first cast a pall on the annual festivities.
The initially appealing first weekend started looking like an ugly stepsister next to the inaugural second run starting April 21, when apparently bias meteorologists predict sun and mercury rising into the glorious 90s.
But after a week of preemptive woe and a deceptively gorgeous Friday morning, clouds settled over the Indio Polo Field around 3 p.m., bringing sporadic drizzle, gust-drunk palm trees and a partially obscured mountainscape.
Yes, the winds raised suspicions about airborne fecal matter from the adjacent horse stables -- just us? -- and more than a few ladies and gents were sporting looks of sartorial regret, but festivals are supposed to be a little gritty. And the Coachella kids, 75,000 of which are expected this weekend, have had it too cush for too long. (Our festival forefathers would scoff at these bourgie beer tents.)
Still, not everyone was immune to the chill. Around 5:30, there appeared to be a bigger crowd leaving the grounds than lined up to get in. But shame on them for missing the adorable chorus of Milli Vanilli's "Blame it on the Rain" coming from the main stage just before Jimmy Cliff and Tim Armstrong brought oddly juxtaposed reggae.
"As overcast as it is, and as much as this wind might be tearing apart out cables, this is sort of a beautiful day," said Neon Indian frontman Tyler Glenn in one it the evening's umpteen acknowledgments of the weather.
At that point the dancing throng, still relatively modest given the early hour, cheered in approval, perhaps thinking of their friends back in L.A., getting a far more generous helping of precipitation.