Luke Blackall: English accent is access all areas in California

Man About Town: With big bands and a small venue, Coachella is the best festival around

Declining invitations can be a very nice thing. There is little better than to have the perfect excuse not to be somewhere you don't want to be – whether it's your ex's birthday or the wedding of that rather dull cousin.

It's not simply that you can avoid being in a room or marquee with these people. It's also the knowledge that you have something better to go to – and, of course, the chance to tell everyone that.

But when it's the other way round and you can't be somewhere you do want to be, then it is much harder. It was, for example, frustrating to get invited to parties at this week's Coachella festival. Sadly I haven't found myself in California today (well, not at the time of writing, at least; should a generous benefactor come forward, I'll be sure to let you know in next week's column).

A few years ago I did find myself there under an impossibly blue Desert Springs sky. And from experience, it's the best festival around. So good, in fact, that after going to it, you never want to go to a British festival again (some readers probably didn't go anyway, but hey).

For a start, clichéd though it might sound, the English accent seemed to get us everywhere: we strolled into the VIP area, a policeman allowed us to drive the wrong way down a street, and we were able to watch Prince from the sound stage.

Plus, everyone is good-looking, revellers and revellettes alike; they are all hot, handsome and healthy. The bands are big, but the venue is nicely small. And for people-watching there's no better spot. While we might get a welly-wearing Kate Moss checking out the bands at a UK festival, at Coachella the crowd is Hollywood A-List.

Of course, they are a bit over the top when it comes to frisking and searching people as they come in – you're not allowed to bring your own alcohol in, nor your own drugs (obviously). But all that means is that you don't get as many pin-eyed chaps called Jack trying to stroke your face at 3am, as always seems to happen at Glastonbury.

And by 3am, the chances are that you won't be in a field with drug-addled lunatics, but in a house party at a nearby villa, where all the bands and stars stay. In fact it's so good, and so popular, that this year organisers are keeping the stages and tents up for another week and hosting exactly the same line-up the following weekend. Now, all I've got to do is find a way to get there next week...

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