Southern California environment news and trends

Rain, cool temps forecast for Coachella music festival

Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival 2011 - Day 3

Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Fans from all over the country are preparing to descend on Indio, CA this week for the wildly popular Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. But if weather predictions hold true, this weekend's festivities could face unseasonably cool temperatures and even rain for the first time in the event’s history.

With Radiohead, the Black Keys and Dr. Dre with Snoop Dogg (and special guests Eminem and Wiz Khalifa, according to persistent rumors) set to headline the three-day festival, a glance at Weather.com calls for highs of 70 on Friday with a 30 percent chance of rain, which could be as much as one-tenth of an inch, according to Mike Pigott, senior meteorologist for AccuWeather.com.

“That's pretty good for you guys,” he said in the Desert Sun. “It's definitely going to be more than a ground-wetting.”

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Goldenvoice buys Coachella Valley real estate

Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival 2011 - Day 3

Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Coachella fans during Day 3 of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival 2011 held at the Empire Polo Club on April 17, 2011 in Indio, California.

In a surprise move over the weekend, concert promotion company Goldenvoice, who produce the annual Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, purchased 280 acres of land surrounding the event site.

“This is definitely cause for celebration. We could not be happier,” said Jan Hart, general manager for the Eldorado Polo Club, which was part of the purchase to the Desert Sun. “We have had a nice relationship with Goldenvoice over the years.”

The Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, which Goldenvoice began back in 1999, has grown into one of the country’s most popular annual music events, which this year has been expanded to include two weekends, April 13-15 and April 20-22.

While Goldenvoice president Paul Tollett has yet to comment on what the newly acquired space will be used for, Hart says to expect improvements.

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Coachella introduces “Recyclosaurus Rex”, the trash-eating dinosaur

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Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The three-day musical bacchanal known as the Coachella Music & Arts Festival is famous for eclectic line-ups and superstar reunions. But really, Coachella is all about the experience. As tastes and line-ups evolve over the years, the demand to be on the polo fields has reached an all-time high (I’m even convinced they could sell that thing out without a line-up at all).

Happily, Goldenvoice (the promoters of the event) go above and beyond to insure that the Coachella experience is not only memorable but also environmentally responsible. The trash and assorted detritus left behind after the festival is rather staggering, so Goldenvoice has employed the services of non-profit organization Global Inheritance, who maintain the festival’s recycling and sustainable efforts.

Coachella also has a knack for everything fun, and this new on-site recycling effort is definitely that: “Recyclosaurus Rex”, a 20-foot tall “half robot/half dinosaur” that will be roaming the grounds “eating” empty cans and bottles.

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Can music festivals like Coachella really offset the environmental impact?

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Charley Gallay/Getty Images

Musician Zach Ernst of Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears performs during the first day of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival 2011 held at the Empire Polo Club on April 15, 2011 in Indio.

With music fans alight over the announcement of the 2012 Coachella line-up, more environmentally conscious concertgoers are still waiting to hear about this year’s sustainable efforts. Granted, it’s not all philanthropic — Coachella promoters Goldenvoice have traditionally made it worth the effort.

The “Carpoolchella” contest has happening every year since 2007. It encourages fans to carpool for the trek to the desert in decorated vehicles. Carpoolers in the winning vehicle (selected by event organizers) win tickets to the festival for life. The 10 For 1 Bottle Exchange is an ingenious way of keeping the polo fields free from empty plastic bottles, and fans hydrated.

Working with non-profit Global Inheritance, for the “TRASHed: Art of Recycling” project, where local artists are commissioned to decorate recycling bins that make up an interactive art-walk on the festival grounds.

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