At the festival this year take a minute to remember one of the most amazing Coachella Valley residents, Bill Pester, THE original California Hipster. In the early 1900s Bill lived in a log hut near Palm Canyon. He led a natural lifestyle, practicing Yoga, giving spiritual advice, playing guitar, wearing longhair, beads and sandals or going barefoot, fifty years before the 60s!.
He was a well known character in the Coachella valley and famous people, such as Rudolf Valentino, would often drop by and visit Bill. The local Indians had great respect for him and welcomed Pester into their Canyon home. He appears on the Indian Census records from that time.
It is said that the roots of the 60s California Counterculture can be traced directly back to Pester, and that he even invented the "Hippie" lifestyle. Bill immigrated from Germany to the Coachella Valley bringing with him the German Lebensreform Philosophy and Naturmensch Movement, which came about in Germany in the 1800s and are the roots of the modern Counterculture.
Pester mentored the next generation of "Nature Boys" such as Eden Ahbez (author of the song Nature Boy, written about Pester), Gypsy Boots and others. This group went on to start and greatly influence the 60s Counterculture Generation. .
Much of Pester's life and legend is still a Mystery. Sadly there is not even a mention in Wikipedia of him! If you have any more information on Bill Pester, please post it here, or elsewhere. University of Arizona Professor Peter Wild is supposedly in the process of writing a book on Pester.