I'm wondering because I was, and I would like to know if anyone else's yearly pilgrimage to the Coachella Valley may have been ruined by the same trigger-happy security guard while leaving Sunday Night.
I'm not trying to be dramatic and I can't 100% say he ruined the entire amazing experience that was Coachella 09. But as all festivals go, at the end of the last night you have a remorse, something like loosing an old friend. But with Coachella you also look forward to beginning the countdown again January 1st, right before the dates are announced. Well this year I didn't really get to relish in missing my old friend. Because I was pepper sprayed by a security guard while leaving "La Familia Divina-Shrine." I really want to know if this happened to anyone else.
Here's how it happened to me.
We, two friends and me, were making one last loop through the festival grounds after The Cure finally stopped their Unplugged set, and I understand there may be a noise ordinance so they had to be unplugged, but they ROCKED it just using their monitors. As we were leaving we heard a chant coming from the "La Familia Divina-Shrine." It first sounded like a drum circle, but when we got closer we notices a crowd surrounding the "Shrine" and chanting and singing. Inside the "Shrine" a packed crowd began singing and chanting Coa-Chel-La, Coa-Chel-La [There are some videos I saw people taking so I hope they end up on You-Tube]. It was surreal. To me really epitomized the spirit of love at the Arts & Music Fest.
Soon, the security began to come in and clear out the "Shrine." At that time, a blond was up crowd surfing, and the security guy began to push people to the door. I headed for the door where he was directing people and no sooner did I step outside to see another security guard and... WHAMM...
It felt like a bottle, and its entire contents of alcohol, had been shattered across my eyes and face. Everything went white and then black, I was suddenly blind. My entire head was engulfed in a scratching, burning sensation. I scrambled to see but couldn't, and wiping my face with my shirt only made it worse because my shirt was drenched in the spray too.
After fruitlessly stumbling to two separate empty ice and water stations, I literally ran into of my friend and poured the remaining contents of his water bottle into my eyes to flush them out. [Note: this experience taught me that water only intensifies Pepper Sprays effects] With my eyes slightly flushed and vision still blurry I made one more effort to flush my eyes before heading to my lock to leave. [I have never wanted to leave Coachella worse, and I doubt the feeling will ever be as bad].
Since the water refill station was still open I headed there to try and flush my eyes one more time. When I told the kid working what happened he said " I would like to help you but I don't have a bottle man" to which I cupped my hands and placed them under the spigot. I used two cupped hands full of water to once again flush my eyes and sooth my burning face. My friends quickly got the contents of the locker and I blotted my face with my non-pepper sprayed hoody. [Note: this actually helped].
With the help of my friends and slightly improving vision I was able to find and unlock my bike. I took the time to ask the two horse police at the edge of the handicapped parking what to use for the pepper spray pain. They had a few pieces of advise but nothing that was immediately accessible [Note: For skin they said to use a baking soda and water mixture]. In general they seemed incredibly shocked. [I guess the horse police at Coachella don't carry pepper spray like the security inside] With the help of some great friends I was able to get back to our hotel, about 1.5 miles away.
Though saying this one trigger-happy security guard may have preemptively ended my yearly pilgrimages to the Coachella Valley, may be a knee-jerk reaction, I Can with 100% certainty that this will be the Coachella that I remember as the Worst Ending to a Festival Ever. So why did I have you read this? Again, I want to know if this happened to anyone else.
Also thanks to the few of your random crowd people who helped direct me towards water and things to blot my eyes with.
[Now a note to the security guard if for some reason you read message boards.]
I was leaving man. The other security guard asked me to leave and I did, I was going to my locker and then my bike, without your help! That "Shrine" chant was AMAZING, possibly one of the best, most international, free experiences ever; thanks for prematurely snapping me back to reality with possibly one of the worst experiences of my life.