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Pat Bates remembers when “I Want To Hold Your Hand” hit the airwaves in 1963 and she’d stay up late into the night hoping to hear that magical Beatles song just once more on the radio before she slept. Yet never in the many years that...

With Desert Trip, Woodstock generation again has its own fest

Pat Bates remembers when “I Want To Hold Your Hand” hit the airwaves in 1963 and she’d stay up late into the night hoping to hear that magical Beatles song just once more on the radio before she slept. Yet never in the many years that...

With Desert Trip, Woodstock generation again has its own fest

Pat Bates remembers when “I Want To Hold Your Hand” hit the airwaves in 1963 and she’d stay up late into the night hoping to hear that magical Beatles song just once more on the radio before she slept. Yet never in the many years that followed did Bates manage to see any of the Beatles in concert.

Until her upcoming journey to Desert Trip, that is, the festival that this month brings together six of the most legendary acts in history of rock ’n’ roll – the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan on Friday, Paul McCartney of the Beatles and Neil Young on Saturday, and the Who and Roger Waters of Pink Floyd on Sunday – for two consecutive weekends in Indio.

“To have the opportunity to hear them all at one place? It’s totally epic,” says Bates, 67, a business consultant who helps investors take ideas from dream to reality, and the co-founder of the Orange County Children’s Book Festival.

“It was really a chance to see iconic entertainers from our youth long after our youth is behind us,” she says.

That last thought might as well be the mission statement for many who’ve made plans to attend Desert Trip when it kicks off on Friday for the first weekend or Oct. 14 when the same artists reprise their appearances for a second weekend. And it surely went into the calculations made by promoters Goldenvoice and AEG when they first came up with the idea and started working to persuade the artists and their management to sign on.

“It’s designed for the baby boomer generation,” says Gary Bongiovanni, editor-in-chief of Pollstar, the concert trade industry magazine. “Essentially the same people who were fans of these bands 40 years ago. They just have more money today and can afford to do this.”

In some ways, Desert Trip is the logical culmination of a journey American music promoters and concertgoers set out upon two decades ago when Lollapalooza and Ozzfest launched the trend of the touring music festival. The arrival the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival at the end of the ’90s saw the United States pick up on the European trend of weekend festivals at a single location, an idea that spawned scores of imitators ever since.

But most of those festivals skewed toward younger artists. And though Coachella, Bonnaroo and other prominent festivals eventually booked classic acts such as McCartney and Waters, the baby boomers never really had a festival built to meet their needs until now.

“It’s a very appealing way to do it,” says Steve Miller, 65, of Encino, who decided to go with his sons, both of them longtime Coachella veterans. “It’s a mini-festival but with assigned seating which made a big difference to me. And obviously the group of artists is very compelling.”

Like the Millers, many multi-generational groups are heading out to the desert. Nasir Pirani, 69, of Mission Viejo, played covers of Beatles and other Western bands when he was a young man living in Mumbai, India, and decided to attend Desert Trip with his son Niyaz as his guide to festival-going in the desert.

“I said, ‘I’m planning to go but I don’t know how,’” Pirani says. “ ‘What problems there will be, booking a place to stay.’ He said, ‘Dad, don’t worry, I’m going with you.’”

Paul Bahou, 34, of Temecula was born to a father who loved the Beatles so much he named him Paul and later tried to convince him to “fulfill your destiny” by learning to play the bass instead of the guitar. He and his father, Nadim Bahou, 62, of Temecula, have gone to concerts – including Coachella together the year McCartney played there – so Desert Trip seemed a certainty from the moment it was announced.

“He loved it,” Bahou says of his dad. “No convincing needed.”

Bahou says he thinks that Oldchella, the nickname given Desert Trip almost as soon as it was announced – is hilarious. “It‘s true, everyone’s old!” he says. Others, such as Andrew Martin, a 28-year-old musician from Los Angeles who represents the not-a-boomer demographic attending Desert Trip, says he thinks that’s not entirely respectful to the musicians and their fans.

“For me this is like what I would dream of a festival being,” says Martin, who delayed the start of a tour with his band Moon Honey in order to catch Desert Trip – and his beloved Rolling Stones – first. “This is what I wish Coachella was.

“So when people were calling it Oldchella, it was mildly offensive because I just think it’s so good,” he says. “The idea of seeing these bands that created such a mysticism around rock ’n’ roll in such a mystical place? It kind of seems like the perfect atmosphere.

While fans see Desert Trip as a once-in-a-lifetime event, the music business might see things differently, especially given how quickly tickets sold for both weekends, says Dave Brooks, founded and editor of Amplify magazine which covers the live music industry.

“It’s hard to predict what they’ll do next year but I don’t see why the couldn’t repeat this (which) I’m calling a mega-concert,” Brooks says. “Will they get the six greatest rock acts together again? No, but there’s a ton of other acts they could draw on.”

Sharon McCubbin, 67, of Tustin Hills, says the music of the ’60s has always been a big part of her life. When she was a college student in San Francisco, musicians such as Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin played at noon in the student commons. And in a way, a festival such as Desert Trip takes her and others of her generation back to those magical moments when they were young people, on the edge of adulthood, with all the promise that contained.

“It does recapture a coming-of-age feeling,” says McCubbin, who is heading to the desert with a group of friends including Pat Bates.

“It speaks to that time of finding a voice, feeling that you had a voice, feeling that what you were doing made a difference.”

Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.

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