"It makes one helluva lot of noise, if you like that stuff," grumbled Jim Crawford, 85, who gets an earful at La Quinta Ridge Mobile Estates, which sits jarringly close to the festival, making its sixth appearance this weekend.
Crawford handles the invasion by "filling up the icebox" and staying home. His neighbor, Wayne Cates, 78, has a sound solution for what he calls the "madhouse" weekend: "I have hearing aids," he said, shrugging. "I just take 'em out."
Other residents unplug in a more dramatic way: They pack up and leave before the huge amplifiers power up.
With 90 bands over two days, the festival may rock loud and long, but locals have learned to tolerate the onslaught in exchange for the economic benefits from an event that has so far been well behaved.
"It is really Indio's shining star," said Mark Graves, director of communications for the Palm Springs Desert Resorts Convention and Visitors Authority. "The business that this one event brings to the valley, everybody has to be grateful for Indio."
Indio also hosts an international tamale festival and a golf tournament named for Bob Hope that draw tens of thousands of people to an enclave also known for roadside sales of date shakes.
After six editions of the Coachella rock and electronic music festival, the town finds itself internationally known among rock festival fans. The show has gone from a risky venture to a franchise that is covered by the international music press, attracting acclaimed names such as Coldplay and Bright Eyes.
Although most fans are from the concrete hubs of Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties, visitors come from all 50 states and, with each passing year, more carry European passports.
The result is an odd juxtaposition of spooked horses and wide-eyed retirees studying purple-haired kids.
This year, acts play on two outdoor stages and in large tents set up on the lush 80-acre Empire Polo Grounds. The tickets were on sale for $81 at the door Saturday.
By midday, the crowd on the vast polo field had reached half capacity. It was warm, but festival veterans called it comfortable compared to the triple-digit heat of previous years. Like the music, fashion varied considerably -- red knee socks, cowboy hats and Japanese parasols.
"Dress naked and wear sunscreen," said Brandie Durso, 27, of Huntington Beach, sharing her strategy for survival. Clad in shorts and a bikini top, she was eating an ice cream cone.
The vibe was more country fair than mosh pit as concertgoers milled past oversized sculptures and stopped to bang on massive drums on display. They listened to the Raveonettes, a band from Denmark, and Perry Farrell, Jane's Addiction's singer, took a turn as the deejay in the sweltering dance tent.
Outside the venue, restaurants braced for overflow crowds. Lodgings from Palm Springs to Desert Hot Springs to Indio sold out two months ago -- "Rooms have just been snapped up left and right," Graves said. At the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, all 251 rooms for this weekend have been reserved for four months. Larry Saward, director of operations at the resort, said 800 employees are working this weekend, twice the usual number.
"Of course it's all hands on deck," Saward said. "It should be rocking."
One of the few 24-hour dining options in town, Denny's restaurant, makes about $40,000 over festival weekends -- a month's worth of business. In past years, exhausted concertgoers started lining up on the sidewalk Friday evening and didn't disperse until Sunday afternoon.
Kelly Barnes, a Denny's supervisor, said the visitors might dress wild but they tip well and are usually polite. "Our regular customers are harder to deal with than them," said Barnes.
In the early years, some locals voiced trepidations about beginning a relationship with rock rebels.