With crowds of about 75,000 a day expected, the event still managed the warmth of an eclectic, oversize family reunion, as fans of classic rock vibrated in anticipation of the three-day concert, also featuring Paul McCartney, Neil Young, the Who and Roger Waters.
Playing to a baby boomer base not exactly interested in roughing it, the grounds were immaculate for a music festival, with plentiful space and shade and minimal lines for drinks, celebrity-chef branded sustenance and functional toilets. The bands even started on time.
More in line with most festivals: Before the show came the peacocking. Attendees from across the world brought out their rarest concert tees, their least faded tie-dye and, in some cases, full-tilt superfan regalia as symbols of unity with their fellow travelers. Nostalgia was not being avoided, but embraced.
Below, some of the more colorful attendees share their stories.
“I’m here with my wife of 47 years,” Mr. Sarnat, a professor, said. “Usually I go to Burning Man with my son.”
The Desert Trip acts were among the most formative influences in his life, Mr. Sarnat said. “I’m Jewish, so Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen are my brothers and got me to move from taking care of homeless people to writing poetry.”
“The first time I saw Paul McCartney was 1964,” he added. “I was ushering at the Hollywood Bowl their first time in L.A. and I probably weighed 120 pounds. I was supposed to keep all of these girls from rushing past me onto the stage. That lasted for like four seconds. They just blew by me. They weren’t any bigger than me, but they were a lot more determined than I was.”