We won Coachella tickets from KROQ in Los Angeles. Oh. No, we lost them. A tale of a power trip on the FM band.

I have never used this blog to vent my spleen about specific life problems, situations, etc. I speak in very broad philosophical concepts. I don’t sit here and say stuff like “today, “A” served me the worst breakfast” or “I bought so and so from “C” and the service was terrible!”

I don’t use this shit as some sort of ombudsman. Lame!

But today I will make a rare exception.

I experienced a crappy situation compounded by reams of miscommunication. If it were only myself who paid the price, I would ignore the whole ordeal as I am wont to do. The worst shit in the world slides off my back. I’m rather boastful of my indefatigable nature. Ruffle my feathers, I dare you. I have withstood some misery in this life. I’ve traveled the ebbs and flows of that roller coaster. I’m a big boy. I’m no a cry baby. I swallow the worst incompetence this world can dish out. And I spit it out. But when it affects my son, all bets are off. It kills every parent to see their children suffer, and it’s even worse to witness our children’s spirit broken at the hands of an uncaring and ruthless entity, such as the Los Angeles radio station, KROQ.

Let me preface this by saying the Coachella Music Festival in Indio, California, has rapidly become one of the most sought after, sizzling hot outdoor music festivals. In fact, the festival sold out in three hours when tickets went on sale earlier this year. What began as a subversive desert event in the middle of the bumfuck San Bernardino County desert has rapidly escalated into the It place to be in April. Ticket demand is manic and the promoters have become dictators and those in control of tickets have assumed the wayward monarchical powercraze of the common tyrant. In fact, just the other day, festival promoter Goldenvoice, undoubtedly banking on the immense profits to be made from the upcoming 2012 festival, bought 280 acres of land adjacent to the Empire Polo Club where the present musical festival takes place. Many see this as a sign that Goldenvoice will now buy the entire Southwestern U.S. desert in a bid to overthrow the Empire club’s stranglehold. The dictator’s dick is growing!

One reason tickets sell out as quickly as they do is that so many banks of them have been pre-purchased by brokers, radio stations, and other favored clientele. One of these favored clients is Los Angeles FM radio station, KROQ which bought enough tickets to give away daily for several months as prize/publicity fodder. This is a big deal and a big promotion and it’s just BIG. Coachella is so big it doesn’t fit into one weekend any longer being that Goldenvoice how now stretched it into 2 weekends for the first time. Whether this means the enjoyment and entertainment are doubled or diluted remains to be seen.

KROQ gets lots of publicity from this juvenile smorgasbord and they play up the hoopla during the lead up to Coachella (which begins this weekend, incidentally). Enter my son. He is 14, has been attacking that guitar with a rabid passion for 2 or 3 years. He has undergone the prototypical stages of young musicianship: a makeshift band each week, over the top equipment, that darkly hip musical appearance, the concerts, oh the concerts. Living the dream. When I was young, my dreams were astronomy and baseball. My son breathes music. He breathes concerts. We went to our first outdoor festival last year at Outside Lands in San Francisco. Arcade Fire closed up the festival on Sunday night and he was permanently smitten by the concept of grass, mud, the pervasive cloud of pot, and the potpourri of live music. Yet, in his mind, Coachella was the penultimate outdoor music art form. He lusted after the 2012 festival, even 6 months ago when it was just a glimmer of a promise. Of course, it was impossible to nab tickets when they want on sale, so he set his sights on KROQ’s call-in contest giveaway. He tried faithfully each day after school. He corralled my brother and mother into the act. I joined a couple of times. We dialed madly hoping to get through at the appointed hour each day. They called, got through, but were never the 106th caller (KROQ 106.7).

Then, it happened.

One day last month, he called me at work. His voice trembling. At first I thought something was wrong, but then he explained breathlessly…gramma won. She got through, she was the 106th caller and she had the name of the band from the Friday’s previous playlist (courtesy of a little help, of course). She even made it on the air. The DJ was amused that a grandmother won Coachella tickets. After some digging, we learned that there were no paper tickets for the 3-day event. Wristbands would be issued prior to entrance and they could not be removed. The wristbands would have to be worn all 3 days. And as the profit-hungry, user unfriendly promoters had decided beforehand, single day tickets would no longer be sold. You were in 3 days, or you weren’t in. There were no other options. OK, so my mom called KROQ’s business office a few times to make sure she could transfer the wristband to me once she claimed it. The flunkies who answered the “helpline” told her that yes, she would have to claim the wristband in Indio, and once she claimed it she would then be able to hand it to me and I could go in with my son. This was good enough for us. I made hotel reservations. My son was on top of the world. One of his musical dreams was coming to fruition. Everyone on Facebook surely knew about it.

Earlier today my mom called the KROQ office (since she was the winner of record) in order to assure that the promised email would be sent out in anticipation of the concert. She kept haggling the girl on the phone to make sure the wristband would be transferable once she claimed it on the concert grounds. Finally the girl, after reassuring her that this was fine, finally put her “boss” on the phone. He listened to my mom’s story and instantly put my son’s dream in deep freeze. No. My mom could not relinquish the wristband to me. She was the winner, her name was specified for that wristband, she could not give it away. She tried to explain she was 74 years old. She wasn’t the legal guardian for my son, so they wouldn’t allow him unless I was the one accompanying, but she couldn’t give me the wristband because that was negated by the concert/KROQ rules. Catch-22…or -66. I understand the thing about not allowing minors in unattended. No argument there. However, my mother’s inability to transfer the wristband to her own son strikes me as tyrannical.

It’s a music festival for chrissakes. It’s not like my mom is going to sell me the wristband at a great profit. And if she did, so what? She is just too old to go to the concert and she never had any intention of doing so. KROQ is on a delusional power trip just like Goldenvoice and its masters. Music should not be a commodity. All these dweebs feeling a sense of power…they are acting like bouncers to some really exclusive club! I can understand seeking to ensure won tickets (wristbands) are not resold, but the wristband is just being given to a son by his mother. The current contest rules I found on KROQ.com apply to an online contest that will be drawn on Friday. I can’t find rules pertaining to the call-in contest that my mother won. Further to this, why couldn’t the radio station get its crap together and answer my mom forthrightly back when she asked the question last month. They hire flunkies to man the phones and don’t convey the most obvious information they might foresee. I would think the question of transferring wristbands is high on the list…perhaps this is the reason there is so little flexibility. Yet no one knew this until the “boss” came on the phone.

And my son’s dream has been dashed.

Good lesson. The road to hell is paved with morons, and there are enough morons in L.A. that you’ll never have to step in the mud, which is worth the price of gold (or a concert ticket) in SoCal.