San Diego singer-songwriter Ryn Weaver and Alabama soul vocal dynamo Paul Janeway of St. Paul & The Broken Bones have two things in common. Both have attended the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival as fans. And both returned this year to perform.
"Coming to Coachella was a rite of passage," said Weaver, 22, who grew up in Encinitas and is awaiting the release of her debut album. "It was like Woodstock for Southern California. I think I appreciate performing here more because I came here when I was younger."
Weaver was a freshman in high school when she told her parents she wanted to come to Coachella with her "older boyfriend."
Mom and dad agreed, on two conditions: Ryn could only buy a single-day ticket, rather than a multiday pass. She also had to submit to a drug test when she got home from the festival, which draws approximately 20 percent of its annual attendance (now estimated at nearly 100,000 per day) from San Diego County.
"My parents were squares. They did give me a drug test when I got back." said Weaver, who returned to later editions of the festival and camped overnight. "That's the kind of parents they were."
She smiled. "But they're here now, enjoying themselves," she noted. "I got them passes to (see) Steely Dan here (Friday night)."
Janeway, 31, attended Coachella in 2008 and camped out.
"I came to see Prince," he told the audience Saturday. "It's surreal to be on stage with you. Thanks for making a dream come true. It's been a long way."