My best friend, my husband, my two-year-old son and I went to Palm Springs last week for the music festival Coachella. We’ve gone before, but not with a child on our hands. This year we decided to tag-team it–my husband attended the festival on Friday and Sunday, and I got Saturday. This way my son didn’t have to be exposed to the 103-degree temperatures, the hot sun or the crowds.

Sometimes going to shows makes me feel old because most of the people who attend are way younger (and hipper) than me–at least 90 percent, if not more! I see the sea of tents pitched on the grounds and think, even in my prime I would never have wanted to spend three days sleeping and living in 100-plus temperatures minus a working shower and with only port-a-potties for relieving my bodily needs. Instead, we stayed at a posh hotel with a pool and jacuzzi. The day after my Coachella experience, I had a massage at the hotel spa. At this point in my life I am so not into roughing it.

To be honest, I haven’t been able to keep up much with the music scene since my baby was born. And all he wants to listen to is the Wiggles. So I can sing you the entire lineup of Wiggles songs, but ask me the name of one Hot Chip song and I come up with nothing. However, I do get spurts of culture here and there–I know at least two Fratellis songs. And I love Fountains of Wayne. So I had a good time going from stage to tent and back again to see bands among a crowd of 60,000 or so. I even managed not to get sunburned, and the only time the heat was unbearable was during Peter Pjorn & John, when we were packed into a tent with the crowd. All those people made it humid, too.

I’m constantly amazed that you can go to something like Coachella and have a totally different experience from the person next to you, even if you both have similar music tastes. You can’t really “experience” Coachella so much as get a snapshot of what’s going on. And you usually have to make a choice: Peter Bjorn & John were on at the same time as the New Pornographers and Travis, all bands I like. I made my choice based on the fact that PB&J are newer and have some extra buzz right now, and I’ve seen Travis before. So in addition to the bands mentioned, I also saw The Arcade Fire and LCD Soundsystem. Red Hot Chili Peppers headlined the night, but I mercifully managed to miss most of that except for that one song that goes “Give it away now.” I had a great time listening to good music, and we didn’t even have much trouble with the traffic although we did have to walk a bit from the outer lots. Also, they confiscated my sunblock because it was in a spray bottle.

During the rest of the weekend I played with the baby–took him to a part desert garden, part zoo called the Living Desert and took him shopping a lot along Palm Canyon Road, a main thoroughfare in Palm Springs. He also got to go swimming and he loved the hundreds of huge windmills outside town. He learned about mountains and palm trees, which we don’t have in Chicago. So all in all, a successful weekend. I’m glad we did it.

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