Friday 10/30/2009 by Lemuria

Indioreport: Camping Complaints

We issued a call yesterday for anyone on site to file reports for stories about Indio - and fans on-site responded with a flood of complaints about the campgrounds. No doubt, things are improved in many ways over some previous festivals, especially the mess that was Coventry. However.... Folks in the Larks Tongues in Aspic camping section, for example, are livid. Although they were the first to be searched and directed to park, they still had no showers, sinks, or food/beverage vending after nearly 20 hours. Said one reporter, "The situation is getting testy with some of us who felt trapped in here today." That's particularly a problem because, as several have reported, that campsite is "a disproportionately far distance form the rest of the fest" - so the folks who moved in first have to walk the farthest and don't have any of the promised amenities. Hopefully someone official will get wind of this here - if they havent already heard enough of it on-site... Update: Despite several other complaints, most feedback has been overwhelmingly positive: no traffic once near the site, great art installations, kind (if excessively thorough) entrance staff, great vibes all around.

Comments

, comment by Mr_Miner
Mr_Miner BOO Hoo. They were there early so they have the time for a little walk.

I was at a Dead show (two shows over 4 days) in oxford plains speedway in ME and had to poop in a por 'o 'let that was unfit for human contact. You are camping in a place where people party! #$%! Happens.

Grow up and enjoy the show.
, comment by steelhead
steelhead I can't imagine a phish festival without showers. that really must suck. we need to get the bureau of reclamation on this one: build another dam and pump some water to those desperate phish fans!
, comment by ericn33
ericn33 I think the point is that there was a hard search on the way in and certain things were not let in or permitted. This is not your typical free for all phish fest. I agree that cheese should be served with the wine, but I wonder how this fest compares to other NE fests.
, comment by PHRENDLEY
PHRENDLEY The thing is phish is screwed if they do and screwed if they don't. They let the first people in and give them the best the others complain as far as space goes. But as for the vending, shower and walk. Well its sad that Phish didnt plan ahead and make sure every base is covered!! Because in the end if the band doesnt hear about it and the fans feel the pain. That gonna suck. Because then you have phans from all over the us spending good hard earn $$$$ to get there and camp and they feel like they are getting phucked. Sucks. We wil see how this plays out.
, comment by FarmHouseJam
FarmHouseJam "I think the point is that there was a hard search on the way in and certain things were not let in or permitted. This is not your typical free for all phish fest. I agree that cheese should be served with the wine, but I wonder how this fest compares to other NE fests."

Clearly the best post.......

The point in the past was to get a united experience through the band and all the people who traveled there with you, and have some certainty that you wouldn't get searched, hassled, and hounded as little as possible and hounded the duration of the event to make a safer comfortable experience. This even sounds almost totally the opposite.

Mr.Miner it sort of sounds like they are camping where people are being told not to party.....in that case I would complain about things too. If they paid the money to get in they deserve a say if their grown up or not.
, comment by Weekapaug
Weekapaug Not all the campgrounds have showers but most do by now. There are General Stores and water in every campground. And as far as people telling campers not to party, that's false as far as I know, unless he's camped in Family/Phellowship Kid A lot.
, comment by jackl
jackl One way this festival is different than all the others is that it is in a very "resorty" desert area, with a lot of nice resorts and hotels around the Indio - LaQuinta- Palm Springs? areas, unlike the Maine and Big Cypress festies which were miles away from any kind of civilization and the choice was camping or RV.

Here, a lot of people, ourselves included, have opted for these all inclusive packages which were set up by Valley Music Travel which has honed its skills doing the Coachella rock festivals (also at the Empire Polo Club in Indio). These guys, and the people who put together the worker volunteers (Shimon Presents), have the festival organization down like clockwork. Group shuttles from the airport. Whisked to one of the most swanky resorts we have ever stayed at, the LaQuinta Hotel (where most of the rooms are little villa houses on a huge resort property). Whisked to and from the festival site in large, brand new tour buses, with little wait and the schedule announced by twitter. Separate entrance and exit to the concert from day parking. Very short wait and security and professional security (local staffing company, not volunteers or the usual chaotic festival employees, more like a regular venue).

This is so far removed from the privations of previous shows like Sugarbush 94/95 (remember the dysfunctional and woefully inadequate school bus shuttles?), the rain at Great Went, etc. that it isn't funny. Somehow it feels strange, but I like it.

As for camping, I would say that the desert climate here seems inhospitable to camping. Think "no shade" and open like Big Cypress, but burning hot right after dawn in a tent and cold at night (last night not so bad as Thursday and Friday...low say 60 degrees instead of high 30s!
, comment by rbosco11
rbosco11 Update: Despite several other complaints, most feedback has been overwhelmingly positive: no traffic once near the site, great art installations, kind (if excessively thorough) entrance staff, great vibes all around.

This describes well. the rest is BS!
PERFECT! Let me say it again, PERFECT!
, comment by Scott
Scott As far as camping goes, I'll give Festival 8 an 8. I think the way the phish people wrote up the camping policies encouraged people not to take it too seriously, but probably the property owners insisted on a strict no glass policy for benefit of the horses. That's lame from a wanting to drink good beer/wine point of view, but understandable I guess. My friends lost $100 of beer and I brought them cans (of Coors ;) ;) ) and smuggled in a half case of wine without too much trouble once I knew the scope of the search. So that wasn't ideal and makes hotel-living very attractive if there is another festival in Indio, which I hope there is.

Hunky Dory was plagued by very bright lighting, especially overnight Thursday, but the portapotties were cleaned constantly, and a shower, general store, and food vendors were close by, as was the venue. The flat, lush grass was as comfortable as tent living can be. We had friendly neighbors with excellent shade, which helped a lot. I don't get criticizing the festival for a lack of shade in the campground... what did you expect?

It was pretty clear that the workers needed a day to get their stuff together, but once they did, it felt overstaffed, especially compared to previous festivals. Lines for everything except showers and water inside the venue were downright short and I had tons of dancing room not far from the secondary speakers.

Compared to previous festivals, this was totally civilized, and with a 3rd day, it needed to be. But think about it: Clifford Ball was $25/night. Festival 8 was $200, and with the higher tariff comes higher expectations. The most loyal fans are now largely busy professionals with young families, so camping or not, getting held up for a day in traffic is just not acceptable. And yea, we still party, but I found the scene to be like 1993 all grown up, infinitely better than 99-04. Everything was very mellow, without a centralized shakedown or even much of a local one, where we were, anyway, and it just felt safer although not truly family friendly like High Sierra. Despite confiscations, I don't believe anyone was busted. The staff enforced the stated policies but otherwise kept their distance, and were plenty friendly if perplexed and occasionally clueless.

In general, it seems that Phish has designed their tour schedule for people who go on phish vacation for a weekend here and there or maybe a week, but _not_ for people who want to go "on tour". I think the gentrification of the neighborhood is purposeful and beneficial. Most of the good with far less of the bad.

On balance, Hunky Dory was pretty easy livin'. As it should be. If the lights had been fully off at night, without the annoying beer confiscation, it would have been pretty darn close to perfect.
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