This is the first in a 6 part series on my trip to Indio, CA for Phish’s Festival 8 at the Empire Polo Grounds. I’m only separating them out because it would be one long post to put it all together. They’ll be posted immediately as I finish them. I’ll link to my pictures from the festival in my final post. My other posts about Festival 8 can be found using the fest8 tag.
My trip to Indio began relatively early in the morning on Thursday, October 29. I woke up at my normal time so that I could catch a plane that left Providence at 10:00 am. My trip was with all people I had met on Twitter, some who I had also met in real life at Phish shows over the summer and for drinks in Providence. I received an offer via Twitter from Mike Sheridan (@TrafficMike) to give me a ride to the airport. I took him up on the offer. I figured the worst that could happen is he’d kill me (luckily, that didn’t happen, nor did I think it would). I arrived at the airport and had two of the most uneventful flights in and out of Philadelphia, known for long delays.
During my layover in Philly, I met up with @PosterDan from Twitter who had been there for many hours as his flight through Denver had been canceled due to Denver getting about 3 feet of snow. We sat in a bar, had lunch and some beer, and chatted a bit about Phish and his crazy travel plans. It came time for us to depart and I went and waited at my gate. My flight was on time and I made it to Vegas.
I was the first of three to arrive at the Vegas airport that afternoon. I grabbed my bags and found a bar and waited for the others. There was a delayed flight and I had to wait a bit longer, so Max (@mberde) and I sat and had a beer together while waiting for Ian (@coffeewithian). When it came time for Ian to show up, we headed down to the baggage claim and each lost a couple dollars in the slots that were right there (they probably have a pretty poor payout anyway). Once we all met up, we grabbed a cab to the Thomas and Mack Center to meet up with the waiting RV and the other four people from our crew (Nick, @Grill_Meister, Steve, @UNOlker, Laura, @MountainLaura, and Matt, @mdubno) and we were on our way. After a few stops along the way to pick up supplies and grab a burger at In-N-Out Burger, we made it to the festival site at 3:00 am. At this point in time, I had been awake for about 23 hours.
When we arrived at the site, security had no clue what they were doing. At the first entrance we tried to enter, we were told the RV lots there were full and we had to go to a back entrance. Nick needed a ticket and asked about the box office. He was assured it’d be open. We followed the directions and entered the back entrance. Upon arrival there, we were told the box office was closed. The guy gave us no indication of what we could do until we suggested he use his walkie-talkie to call over to the other entrance and see if it was open, as we were told that they’d be open 24 hours. He did just that and sent us on our way, through a fairly odd route through the middle of the site. We arrived back at the entrance from which we had been turned away. While the kid there was talking to another driver, we pulled in and made our way to the box office and gates. The “search” of our RV was very quick and we were on our way back to the back entrance and pulled right into our home for the next few days. We met up with some other friends that were there and I ended up staying up until the sun started to rise, probably around 6:00 am. I had now been awake for about 27 hours. I went to sleep for about 2 hours when the sunlight reflecting off the rear view mirror woke me up.