After dealing with crowds and mayhem at C2E2 on Saturday right after the recent Coachella Music and Arts Festival, I found myself wondering -- what's harder to do -- C2E2 in Chicago or Coachella in the California desert?
I asked Coachella-goer and Pioneer Press Features Managing Editor Jennifer Thomas to compare notes on the two events.
C2E2 by Sun-Times Media West Entertainment Editor Wendy Fox Weber
1. Crowds: You have thousands of people and it's inside, which can be a problem for a variety of reasons. There's no escape, it gets loud, it can smell (once I was right next to a guy who had sprayed Febreze on himself instead of showering, and it did not work), and it can get toasty. Oh, the humanity!
But seriously, if you have issues with crowds, which comic nerds can have, just don't go. You will not be free of them all day.
2. Your feet: Concrete floors are terrible on the feet. Wear your best shoes and socks, because even if you are just waiting in line, you are still standing on those floors. Take breaks and hydrate with WATER. Even though you are indoors, you can still lose track of time and get dehydrated.
3. The prices: Con tickets themselves are pretty reasonable, around $30 a day. But once you get there... I saw someone tweet a picture of a Coca Cola can at San Diego Comic Con (the mother of all cons) and he said he had just paid $3.25. For a can of pop. Prices at C2E2 were not that bad: $2.50-$2.75 for a 20-oz. bottle of pop and $7 for an order of chicken tenders and fries that were edible.
4. Mind your manners: Just because someone is wearing a costume doesn't mean he or she has ceased being human. Sexual harassment toward cosplaying women is becoming a huge issue in the con community. If you want to take a picture with the pretty young lass dressed Storm, ask her first. But mainly, be nice.
Coachella by Pioneer Press Features Managing Editor Jennifer Thomas
1. Crowds: With 80,000 people in attendance, there's no way to get around the crowds. Surprisingly, though, the only times the crowds really hurt were coming and going. If you show up at the fest at a popular time, expect long delays in the hot sun at security checkpoints. Likewise, leaving at the end of the night means a slow march with thousands of feet kicking up clouds of dust (bring a bandana). The later you arrive, and the earlier you leave, the smaller the crowds. But otherwise, the lines for bathrooms and food were reasonable and there was plenty of room at the concert stages. The best advice, though, is to take the shuttle. The shuttles are remarkably well organized, run frequently and are hassle-free when you're leaving at the end of the night.
2. Dress code: It can't be stressed enough to wear comfortable shoes, and by comfortable, that means shoes you can walk for miles in through patchy, gritty grass and that can hold up to prolonged periods of standing. And you'll definitely want close-toed shoes if you're headed to the front lines and don't want a broken toe courtesy of an enthusiastic dancer. For me, though, I actually opted for flip-flops most times, which worked out well except that I looked like I'd contracted leprosy of the foot by the end of the day. When it comes to what else you wear, remember that it's a desert. Short-shorts might seem like a good idea under the scorching sun, but it gets chilly when the sun goes down. Bring a change of clothes (and shoes) or at the very least a hoodie.
3. Prices: Coachella is downright expensive, but hotel/ticket packages can be had and the extra expense for the shuttles is absolutely worth it. Food costs also aren't as steep as some places and the $2 cost for a bottle of water (which you'll be downing at a fast clip) is the same as it has been at Coachella since 1999. There are also stations where you can trade in an empty water bottle for a free, full one. If you can spring for the extra cost, getting a locker is nice so you have a place to stash the backpack.
4. Bathroom backups: I worked myself into a bit of a frenzy over the portable bathroom situation after reading some online horror stories, but it turned out the bathrooms weren't nearly as disgusting, dark or crowded as I'd been lead to believe by the fear-mongering Internet. But the bathrooms do run out of toilet paper (especially by nightfall) and they can be fairly dark inside. So consider bringing baby wipes, toilet paper, hand sanitizer and a small flashlight, especially if you're not good at "hovering."