Here’s the car key you lost at Coachella

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If you attended Coachella in April and you mindlessly pogoed so ecstatically to New Order playing the Mojave stage that you lost your 2-pound set of car keys on a ratty Zelda carabiner, well, then you were bound to lose something that night, weren’t you? Luckily for the hundreds of carefree careless concertgoers, the party doesn’t stop after the last band packs up.

Every year, the Coachella clean-up crew finds hundreds of wallets, ID cards, bags,  sunglasses and other valuable handheld items strewn around Indio’s iconic polo fields. This year’s loot was no exception. Then the fun part begins.

Eye wear can be reclaimed by sending a detailed description to info@coachella.com
Eye wear can be reclaimed by sending a detailed description to info@coachella.com

This virtual lost and found page at Coachella.com is maintained by the show’s promoter, Goldenvoice, and it boasts a treasure trove of dusty goods plus info on how to retrieve it. Who is the company’s Good Samaritan? An employee who goes by the moniker “Psychic Friend” (she’s also their marketing manager, Dani Lindstrom). This year saw a record number of lost belongings, according to the company, so she’s been busy. In some cases, she’s tracked people down via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. She’s returned wallets with cash. The owner of one lost backpack even got a phone call at work after the team located a pay stub and did some detective work.

Not every one is traceable of course. You’ve got 5 weeks to get your Hello Kitty key chain back. Goldenvoice says it waits 3 months before donating it all to charity.

For the rest of us the site is still pretty fascinating. It’s a kind of catalog of casualties to a weekend of hard partying; a rare chance to root around people’s pockets without them knowing.

Loose keys can be sent back via mail if you send a detailed description to info@coachella.com
Loose keys can be sent back via mail if you send a detailed description to info@coachella.com

From an anthropological standpoint, we can draw a couple conclusions about Coachella-goers.

For one thing, a surprising number of people were so unmotivated (or unaware) they didn’t bother to reclaim their keys, phones, and IDs in the month since the show. And unless they wandered off into the desert or hitchhiked home, they must have packed an extra car key in their fanny pack. You’ll also notice that young men from Australia and New Zealand have an especially hard time holding onto their driver’s licenses (Adam, Brogan, Derek, George and Matthew — guys, what gives?)

A stack of lost phones. The red "x" denotes a phone that's been claimed.
A stack of lost phones. The red “x” denotes a phone that’s been claimed.

Another trend that the diligent Goldenvoice staffers point out is that this year was especially hard for them to track down the owners of this or that Samsung or iPhone with the smashed screen. Why? They write, “We’re discovering most of you are locking your phones making it near impossible to find you via calling you, texting you or a friend, etc. But we are trying. We’ve been charging the phones and making detailed notes about the background photo that pops up.” Now that’s service. That $349 ticket buys you a helpful team that will charge up your crappy phone and try to track you down by your avatar profile pic.

So, if your friends start getting texts from an unknown caller, tell them it might be important. And next year, bring a better carabiner.

Here are helpful tips for next year from Psychic Friend …

  • Having your own business card in your wallet is super helpful
  • If your cell phone locks, make sure you have a distinctive background image that can be identified.  Even better to have “if lost, please call” number visible.  We get this information quickly so even if the phone is deactivated later we have some identifiable info.
  • Take a photo of your contact info for your camera so we can find you.  Or at least of your dog/cat etc that can help you claim the camera after words.
  • Luggage tags with email or phone for your backpacks/purses are a great help.
  • Distinctive key chains for your keys.