This year's (04) Coachella FESTIVAL broke attendance and temperature records at the weekend (01-02MAY04) as fans headed for the California desert to see sets by reformed PIXIES, Radiohead, Kraftwerk and The Cure.

Two sold-out days gave the five-year-old event a new attendance record - shattering 2002's crowd by 15,000.

But, as temperatures soared past 100 degrees, there were a handful of overheating problems - more than 10 people were hospitalised for heat-related symptoms, and on-site medics were kept busy with an constant line of dehydrated revellers.

Elsewhere, crime was low with only a handful of people arrested for scalping tickets and minor drug infractions, and the traffic chaos that was feared as 60,000 revellers made their way to the Indio, California, festival was non-existent.

Coachella promoter PAUL TOLLETT says, "It was truly magical. I think the success of this year's Coachella comes down to a particularly great line-up and an audience who's taste have become more diverse."

Tollett and his GOLDENVOICE organisation planned for the larger crowd by expanding the size of the area used, but the tent venues still overflowed with fans by early afternoon.

Beck's surprise set on Saturday (01MAY03) led to revellers ripping down the sides of the GOBI TENT to get a better view.

The highlight of the festival was The Pixies' official reunion show at sunset on Saturday, when the crowd in front of the main stage stretched further than at any other Coachella festival performance ever.

03/05/2004 21:23