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Rappers on Tap to Close Coachella

Temperatures may be a tad cooler in Indio today for the finale of the first-ever two weekend Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, but highs should be hovering around 103 degrees by the time the Swedish duo First Aid Kid takes to the Mojave stage.

Despite the sizzling temperatures, Indio police and festival promoter Goldenvoice reported no serious problems. Arrests Saturday, mostly for drug and alcohol intoxication totaled 19, down from about 60 people arrested last Saturday. Arrests Friday and Saturday totaled 52, down from 99 over two days last week, according to Indio police.

Saturday, with temperatures peaking around 107 degrees, ranked at the hottest day of the festival since April 28, 2007, when it was 106 degrees.

According to the National Weather Service, 107 degrees — measured at the nearby Thermal Airport — tied for the hottest April 21 since 2009.

Police encouraged people to drink plenty of liquids and to go easy on the booze, which has a dehydrating effect. It was unclear how many people were treated for heat exhaustion, but a Riverside County fire spokeswoman said 28 people were looked at, not including people treated by the contract ambulance company AMR.

A breeze should keep the grounds of Empire Polo Club tolerable in the morning, when deejay and rapper Alf Alpha, a Palm desert native who made his Coachella debut last year, takes to the Gobi Tent stage shortly after 11 a.m. when the gates open for the day. Also in the round of performances for the day will be Tyler Uppercut, Fanfarlo, Morgan Page, Sleeper Agent and Gardens & Villas.

Forty-nine acts are set to play closing day, with rappers Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg capping the festival. For the first time this year, the same lineup is performing on consecutive weekends — a strategy meant to pay off for fans and Coachella Valley — but the bands have been shuffling their song selections.

For years, tickets — three-day passes started at $285 this year — have been hard to come by. Still both weekends of the festival sold out in less than three hours when they went on sale in January, according Goldenvoice, a unit of AEG Entertainment. Saturday’s highlights included David Guetta, the French deejay and house music who brought Australian pop star Sia on stage for part of his set. Twitter reports had pop star Joe Jonas among the crowd dancing up a storm with Paris Hilton and Alicia Silverstone. Last week, Usher was on stage with him.

Other celebrities spotted among the crowd were Kelly Osbourne, Melanie Griffith, Busy Phillips, Dita Von Teese and Emma Roberts, who also attended the first weekend, according to Indio police spokesman Ben Guitron.

Canadian singer-songwriter Feist appeared with her acoustic guitar, backed by string, brass and woodwind sections.

Perhaps poking fun at the hologram of slain Tupac Shakur that was projected on stage for last Sunday’s rap wrap-up, the Black Lips performed Saturday with cutout of Notorious B.I.G. on stage. Also known as Biggie Smalls, the Brooklyn-based rapper, born Christopher Wallace, was gunned down in Los Angeles March 9, 1997 — after Shakur was gunned down in Las Vegas the previous Sept. 13.

During Noel Gallagher’s set, a woman in the VIP section bared her breast for a few moments until security guards persuaded her to cover up, the Desert Sun reported.

Other big draws were Squeeze, The Shins, Buzzocks and Bon Iver, with Radiohead closing the night.

Performing during the peak of the afternoon heat today will be the folky sisters who make up First Aid Kit, who released the Mike Mogis-produced album “The Lion’s Roar” in January that quickly topped the charts in their native Sweden.

Also up for mid-afternoon performances are Band of Skulls, set to take the main stage at 2 p.m., followed by Santigold.

Gotye, the Belgian-Australian multi-instrumentalist known for the hit “Somebody That I Used to Know,” is expected to be one of the big evening draws. He plays the Mojave tent at 7:10 p.m.

The big guns — Dre and Snoop — are scheduled to be on the main stage at 10:35 p.m.

Attendance has been estimated at 85,000-90,000 per day.

The polo fields were first used a rock concert venue in 1993 when Pearl Jam, protesting what it contended was Ticketmaster’s lock on concert tickets, performed in front of about 25,000 there.

The festival, formalized in 2001 as the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, now draws people from around the world, roughly doubling the local population and creating some 15,000 temporary jobs, Indio Mayor Glenn Miller said. Miller said organizers will bus 25,000 people to the festival grounds from the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, 10,000 more than last year.

There are new shuttle bus routes throughout the valley to cut down on traffic to hotels and to allow people to stop at restaurants and stores, Miller said. Some shuttle and camping passes are available through the festival’s website, www.coachella.com.

Avenue 50 between Jackson and Madison streets, Avenue 49 between Monroe and Madison and Madison between Avenues 49 and 50 will be closed through Sunday. Delays were expected on Washington, Jefferson, and Monroe streets and Avenues 50 and 52 on those days.

The city of Indio will get $500,000 from a $2.33 charge on every ticket sold at Coachella and the April 27-29 Stagecoach country music festival. The city also is expecting $270,000 from a 10 percent transient occupancy tax on tents, teepee rentals and RV spots.

The city of Indio released a “traffic alerts” map outlining streets that will be closed or that should be avoided because of traffic delays.

Avenue 50 between Jackson and Madison streets, Avenue 49 between Monroe and Madison and Madison between avenues 49 and 50 will be closed through the end of tday. Delays were expected on Washington, Jefferson, and Monroe streets and avenues 50 and 52 on those days.

Goldenvoice’s country music festival, Stagecoach, is set for April 27-29 at the polo club.

KESQ News Team

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