1. MAKE A SCHEDULE.
There are so many great artists and bands to see at Coachella that it can actually become overwhelming. Before you arrive, make a list of your must see acts and set times. The Coachella mobile app makes it simple to add your favorite artists to a customized line-up that you can also share with friends. I like to print out my own set list before I go to have on hand. It’s easy to lose track of time, so you’ll be glad to have this list prepared once you’re there.
2. DON’T WRITE OFF WEEKEND TWO.
Unless you’re more into celebrity sightings than the music, go to weekend two. The smaller crowds mean a better experience for you. Shorter and quicker lines, better views of the stages, and more space to chill out with friends in between sets. Yes, some may argue that all of the guest appearances happen during Weekend One, but the second weekend offers just as many surprises. Plus, the artists have now perfected their performances and shaken off those first weekend jitters. Weekend Two is just all around more laid back, and chances are those secondhand tickets won’t burn as large of a hole in your pocket.
3. BE OVERLY PREPARED TO CAMP.
My first year at Coachella, I hopped off a plane, made a quick stop at Target, and headed straight to the valley. My best friend and I booked a tent within Lake Eldorado, which features tee-pees with cots, sleeping bags, and pillows as well as exclusive showers and 24 hour concierge. These amenities are an absolute improvement over typical car camping, but we were were still insanely unprepared. Be sure to pack extra of anything you’ll need before heading into the festival especially snacks, alcohol, and lots of water. Since the festival allows re-entry each day, you’ll be able to run back to your campsite to refuel with your own items. Buying these ahead of time will save you the costs of purchasing everything on-site. Lawn chairs and a canopy for shade are life savers during the day. Also, remember that the desert climate drastically changes overnight, so extra blankets and warm clothing are a must. If you aren’t sure about bringing something, I recommend packing it just in case. It’s always better to be more than prepared.
4. PLAN EXTRA TIME FOR SHUTTLES AND TAXIS.
If you’re staying in a hotel, you may assume that getting in and out of the festival each day will be a painless endeavor. However, it is quite time consuming. The drop off and pick up location for the shuttle is about a mile away from the festival entrance, and the Uber Lounge and Taxi Stand is about two miles away. The walk always takes longer than you think, so be sure to leave plenty of time to arrive in time for the first act.
5. GET A LOCKER.
If you aren’t camping, purchasing a locker is a huge life saver. Because of the climate change after the sundown, you’ll need to store those cardigans and sweatshirts somewhere. If you have a locker, you won’t have to carry everything in the blazing heat all day long. My friends and I store sunscreen, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, band aids, deodorant, and make-up to freshen up after a long day. Having access to a locker is also ideal for stowing away any festival memorabilia you want to bring home.
6. BRING LOTS OF LAYERS.
Desert climates mean dry heat during the day and chilly temperatures at night. You’ll prefer a skimpy outfit when the sun is out to avoid being drenched in sweat. By nightfall, you’ll be rushing to throw on something warm. The weather is pretty unpredictable and has gotten as low as forty degrees in previous years. Trust me on this one, and plan your outfits accordingly.
7. EXPLORE THE FESTIVAL GROUNDS.
There is so much to see and do at Coachella far beyond just the incredible combination of music. The art installations are a sight to see on all their own. Artists from around the world prepare mind-blowing exhibits for festival goers to admire throughout the grounds. Some notable inventions include the colossal mobile astronaut, the Do Lab, and the balloon chain. Of course, you’ll want to make time to ride the iconic Ferris wheel that provides insurmountable views of the festival and campgrounds surrounded by the mountainous desert. In recent years, the creators have also set up a craft beer tent showcasing brews from around the United States. It is always exciting to witness the innovative ways that they are improving the festival experience for fans, and you’ll be glad to be a part of it all.
8. TRY DIFFERENT TYPES OF FOOD.
It’s easy to get caught up in the beer tents and succumb to only corn dogs and spicy pie all weekend, but please please please venture away! The food trucks and stands around Coachella are probably the best of any festival I’ve attended. Vendors from all over the country show off their delicious, diverse, and high quality food all weekend long. Think crispy fries loaded with real crab meat and generous spices, healthy quinoa bowls with plentiful veggies, doughnut ice cream sandwiches, buttery lobster rolls, flavorful paella, and exotic ramen among much much more.
9. DON’T RELY ON YOUR CELL PHONE.
While Coachella has gotten a bit better at accounting for cell service over time, it’s best to plan on not having any. When splitting up from friends, be sure to pick a location and exact time to meet. It’s a huge mistake to rely solely on texting. Asking your friends “Where are you?” isn’t going to help when they don’t receive your text until thirty minutes later. If you have no other option, text a concise and clear plan such as “Meet me at the Ferris wheel at 8:30 pm.” This will save time and ensure you’re not stressing over missing your favorite band while searching for your friends. Also, it’s understandable that you’ll want to take a few photos during the festival. However, it’s pointless to take videos of the artists you like. Chances are the quality will be lacking, and there will be better videos on YouTube to reminisce after you get home. You’ll be thankful that you soaked up the energy of the music rather than your phone battery.
10. DON’T BE AFRAID TO RIDE SOLO.
If you are dying to see an act that you’re friends aren’t into, don’t be afraid to split up. People rave over their experiences adventuring on their own, and you’ll be able to meet up with your friends later on. You’ll end up making memories of a lifetime and maybe even a few new friends!