With the 2017 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival now in the books, tens of thousands of concertgoers began a slow trek out of the desert.
Vehicles clogged westbound Interstate 10 from near Indio to Banning, where Caltrans advised that morning traffic delays were to be expected.
Traffic leading out of Palm Springs was also exacerbated by a big rig crash on Highway 111 amidst windy conditions. The driver wasn’t seriously hurt, but the overturned truck blocked both southbound lanes heading into the Coachella Valley, backing up traffic in both directions and leading the California Highway Patrol to issue a SigAlert just before 11 a.m.
Caltrans recommended that drivers utilize alternate routes like state Routes 62 and 74 to circumvent the festival traffic, while those heading into Palm Springs were advised to use Indian Canyon Drive or Gene Autry Trail to avoid the big rig crash.
The exodus of motorists was part of what festival organizers expected was the largest Coachella festival crowd in history, thanks to the Indio City Council’s unanimous decision to increase the attendance cap from 99,000 to 125,000.
Featured performers included rapper Kendrick Lamar, Lady Gaga, Radiohead and Lorde.
Both festival weekends were marred by cellphone thefts, but eight suspects were arrested across both weekends, with phones and other stolen property returned to victims or turned over to the festival’s lost-and-found area.
The first weekend, more than 100 cellphones were stolen and attendees tracked down the suspect with the “Find My Phone” feature on iPhones. More than 40 cellphones were recovered from two groups of suspects last weekend, according to Indio Sgt. Daniel Marshall.
Final arrest figures will be released Tuesday, he said. Last weekend, 125 people were arrested or issued citations during the three-day festival.
The festival grounds will undergo preparations during the week for the Stagecoach country music festival. RV campers can begin arriving at 8 a.m. Thursday. Performers during the three-day weekend include Dierks Bentley, Kenny Chesney, Kiefer Sutherland, Los Lobos, Shania Twain, Willie Nelson, Wynonna and the Big Noise, Jerry Lee Lewis and Tommy James and the Shondells.