Coachella Music Festival is upon us and although I will be watching via social media (sigh), I wanted to share some info that can help make your Coachella experience one you’ll never forget.
I’ve been to a lot of music festivals and at one point I even had a blog about them (#RIP ‘Festival Junkie’). I have since “retired” my festival title, but still have a passion for music festivals. Coachella is truly a one of a kind experience and I recall some unique circumstances that I hadn’t experienced with other festivals (dust storms, anyone?). And, of course, with each festival I’ve learned some extremely helpful tips/tricks and I wanted to share those with you.
What to Bring/What to Wear to Coachella:
Sunscreen: Do NOT underestimate the power of the Coachella desert sun. The last thing you want is to get burnt on the first day, making you miserable for the rest of the festival. And don’t forget to put it everywhere: face, ears, shoulders, and FEET! I also recommend bringing a chapstick with SPF in it. Better safe than sorry!
Bandana/dust mask: A bandana can be a cute accessory but more importantly it will save your life when the dust kicks up. A dust storm without something to cover your face is miserable.
Light jacket/sweatshirt/flannel: Coachella may be in the desert, but the temps at night drop quickly. I made the mistake of wearing a crop top and shorts on the first night of Coachella 2015 and had to learn this lesson the hard way. I was so cold by nightfall. For the rest of the festival, I rolled up a pair of leggings and put them in a backpack and tied a flannel around my waist. Problem solved!
Comfortable shoes: This one should go without saying, but then I remember seeing girls walking around barefoot because their shoes were too uncomfortable. Wedges or heels might be cute with your outfit, but you’ll regret them later. I always wear combat boots or chucks or even sandals are a safer bet.
Cheap sunglasses: I cannot tell you how many pairs of sunglasses I have lost at music festivals. Don’t bring expensive sunglasses unless you can afford to buy a replacement pair when you get home.
Portable phone charger: You’ll be glad you had this when the end of the night comes and you’ve separated from your group but your phone is dead.
Porta potty necessities: I’m talking tissues, wet wipes, and hand sanitizer. The tissue will also come in handy when you need to blow your nose from all the dust.
Cash: They will have ATMs and do accept credit card but cash will be much quicker AND you’re likely to spend less (or that’s my theory anyways haha).
Vitamins/aspirin/allergy meds/dramamine: Each of these things will help you in a time of need. Drinking tip: non-drowsy dramamine is great for hangovers!
GOOD VIBES!: Cheesy, but true. Bring a good attitude and go with the flow. There’s nothing worse than judgey people with bad attitudes.
Let’s dive into some general music festival tips/tricks/insights.
Don’t let drinking control your festival. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about having fun and doing what you want to do, but don’t get so wasted that you don’t even remember your time at this amazing festival. At Coachella, they have dedicated beer gardens which are far from most of the stages. I don’t know about you, but I know I didn’t pay $400 to stand in the beer garden and hear the music from far away.
Take care of one another. Festivals can be an overwhelming experience and it’s easy to forget to not only take care of yourself, but also those around you. If you see someone struggling, don’t be afraid to offer help or ask if they’re okay. Don’t take drugs from strangers or use a drug testing kit. Offer someone water if you see they need it. Selfishness needs to be left at the door.
Stay hydrated. You’ll be dancing and walking around for days on end and you’ll likely be dehydrated 90% of the time. Staying hydrated is crucial. Remind those in your group to drink water as well. Again, take care of each other!
Check the weather. This one should go without saying, but just in case you’re forgetful: check the weather ahead of time so you know what to be prepared for!
See an artist you’ve never heard before. I know it’s tempting to ONLY see the artists you’re familiar with, but some of my best memories I’ve had at festivals were the times I ended up seeing an artist I knew nothing about. If there’s an artist playing that you sort of like, but your friend says there’s an artist playing at the same time that she/he loves, I highly recommend going to see that artist. Get out of your comfort zone a bit and explore. Coachella is a fantastic festival offering artists from all sorts of genres. So although you may be an EDM head, go check out an indie artist or a rap artist. You’ll be happy you did.
Check out every single stage. You’ll have a different experience at each stage and you paid enough money for this ticket it’s worth seeing everything it has to offer! Each stage has it’s own vibe – be sure to soak them all in!
Get there early. The festival is called Coachella Valley Music and ARTS Festival, so don’t forget to go see the art! There will be so many cool art installations and areas to explore, you’ll definitely want to take it all in. Get this done before the lineup really kicks up so you don’t leave the festival thinking “I wish I would have done/seen ___!”
Put away your phone! Coachella is an Instagrammable festival and you’ll be tempted to record every single moment. Try to remember to put the phone down and live in the moment! Instead of staring at your screen, talk to the person next to you. I have met some amazing people at festivals- people I still connect with today. Another reason it’ll be good to get there early – you can get all of the pictures you want to snap out of the way so you can truly soak up the music later.
Have a meet up spot. Your group will likely get separated at one point or another and cell phone reception is spotty. Even if there’s just two of you, it’s SO easy to get split up at this huge festival. When you get to Coachella, pick a meeting spot and have a plan as to when you should meet there if your group separates.
Check the website for what you can/cannot bring in. I don’t know how many times I’ve stood in line and seen someone get their chapstick or gum or whatever it might be confiscated because they didn’t check the rules to see what you can/cannot bring in. Don’t be the girl who brings her hula-hoop only to have to leave it at the entrance because you cannot bring it in. You don’t want to start off your festival on the wrong foot. Do yourself a favor, and check out the guidelines.
Have a plan for how you’re getting ‘home’ after the festival. If you’re not camping, you should think about how you plan on getting back to your hotel/airbnb/house. Are you Ubering? Walking? Hitchhiking? It can be super crazy after the festival and there will be thousands of people trying to leave. I highly recommend having a plan and a meeting spot with your group.
Last but not least…
Go with the flow! I am the ultimate planner, but festivals have taught me that there is beauty and excitement in the unknown and it’s okay to not have a plan. You will likely not get to do everything you want to do, and that’s okay! Enjoy every moment you have and just HAVE FUN… you’re at freaking COACHELLA, after all!
I hope these tips are helpful and I truly hope you have the most unforgettable time at Coachella! It is truly a beautiful festival.
Do you have any other tips or tricks to share? If so, please comment below and share the wealth!