Coachella 2014: Lines, art and lots of selfies open Day One

As Flatbush Zombies turned the energy up high early on Day One of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, the general admission lines were deeply snarled as security staffers struggled to check in  hundreds of attendees.

Despite the heat (temps were already in the high 90s), event staffers on the Empire Polo Grounds kept things light by greeting guests with cheers and high-fiving them as if they had just reached the end of a marathon. The "finish line" was the electronic stations on which guests tap with their wristbands to get beeped into the festival grounds.

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Inside, the so-called "baby bands" -- the slate of acts that literally open the day with not-so-plush set times -- faced stiff competition for the attention of crowds who slowly trickled in.

The Canadian group Austra played the Gobi Tent by early afternoon. The band featured singer Katie Stelmanis, who wore all red, a floppy-brimmed bright sunhat and black Minnie Mouse shoes.

Stelmanis has a striking voice, one able to leap through the register and carry across the pitch. During "Forgive Me," she struck a pose before jumping back to her keyboard for a quick few chords. Her fellow synth players posed along.

But it was still a little early to get lost in music.

What did manage to grab Coachella-goers first? Water stands, naturally, and the sprawling merchandise booth. But what received the most attention early on were the art installations, which have continued to swell in size each year.

Festivalgoers darted in and around a brightly colored helix erected toward the back of the field and fawned over a towering, almost menacing-looking robot that looks as if it might come to life by nightfall.

The granddaddy of this year's Coachella art is a gigantic astronaut that smoothly glides over the grounds -- one hand pointing toward you, while the other gives you a cheery thumbs up -- giving the illusion that he's drifting weightlessly through space.

Look for the piece, called Escape Velocity, to be the centerpiece of hundreds of thousands of selifes. Second to the spaceman were a few well-placed mirrored cubes that will anchor a ton of Instagramable narcissism.

There were many duck-faced selfies being snapped and shirtless dudes and bikini-clad gals ogling their bodies and adjusting their outfits to make sure they were showing just enough, or more, skin.


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