Diary of a Desert Trip Security Guard
[Editor's Note: Our trusty Coachella security guard behind the barricades, Michael Dwaileebe, made another trip out to the polo fields to patrol the drunk and dis-elderly at Desert Trip last weekend. This is his story.]
Have to get in this long-ass line to get my credentials and my assignment. Standing there no more than 10 minutes, a supervisor that I have worked with in the past walks by and asked me if I want to work the stage area. They needed to fill these spots now. Yes, the break I was looking for! Got out of that shit fuck line and straight to check in. I get the almighty black polo that only stage security get to wear and I am ready to start the day. This was a sign to me that the weekend was going to be great. It was requested by The Stones that we be out there in the blazing sun at 1 p.m. so they could tune up a bit. The heat sucked, but it was really cool to listen to.
Dylan came on about 6:30 and almost made me want to take a nap at that point. No offense, Bob. The Stones hit the stage about 9:30 and woke the place up. No sooner did the show start, I started getting complaints from some in the pit that there is some creepy guy touching people’s asses and getting uncomfortably close to them. I locate the guy, call him over and ask him what his problem is. He’s drunk, has some kind of weird accent and acts like he doesn’t know what I am talking about when I confront him with the allegations. I tell him to knock the shit off or he is going to get booted. A half hour later I get the same complaint/same guy. I radio a supervisor, but before he could get there, two old dudes start kicking the creepy guys ass, all while Mick is prancing up and down the runway behind. Four of us had to jump the barrier and get the situation under control. In the end, we had to give all three the boot.
Now I’m all sweaty, uncomfortable and pissed off. I thought this was going to be fun up by the stage. A little while later, my supervisor comes over to me and tells me he needs to move me from the front of the stage to along the runway where I switch spots with another person. Kind of strange. I as him why and he says we will talk about it later. I see him on my break and he tells me one of the camera guys asked to have me moved because I scratched my sweaty balls a few times and I guess it showed up in one of the big screen shots. I guess now I’m famous! When my stones get stuck to the wall, there is only so much I can do.
Saturday stage set up
I get assigned to the soundboard area. After last night, this was actually a welcome relief. I had a great view of the stage and all I have to do is keep people away from the fence area around the soundboard. Not long after Neil Young starts his set, my supervisor says “I need you to do something right now. We have Slash over in our area. He and his people are waiting for VIP seats to get set up. People keep bothering him and I need you to go over and stand next to him and keep the flies away.” OK. So I go over there and find Slash, his girlfriend and Samoan bodyguard inside the four foot barrier and a few people on the outside trying to talk to him. So like Super Dick, I spring into action. The highlight of my weekend: Standing 6 inches away from Slash with my back to him fending off mostly old drunk women.
“Is that..” (me: “yes”)
“Can I…” (me: “no”)
“I just want…” (me: “NO”)
“But…” (me: “SHOOO!”)
Poor guy just wanted to watch the show in peace. I can respect that. About an hour later, his seats were ready. He thanked me and gave me a quick fist bump. It’s all in a night’s work.
Turned out to be the mellow day. I was back at the soundboard area. All I had to do was keep the general population away from the equipment fence. Both The Who and Roger Waters put on awesome shows. This was the best performances of the three nights in my opinion. Plenty of tributes of band members past and some political opinions. Roger Waters provided endless bagging on Donald Trump towards the end of his set and provided a shout out to the Palestinian cause. It’s now time to go home and get some real food and real sleep. So what did I learn from Desert Trip compared to Coachella? Young drunk people want to fight. Old drunk people just throw shit at you and tell you to go fuck yourself. Till next time.
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