In two weeks is a weekend that is one of my favorite of the year, first weekend of Coachella, the granddaddy of all music festivals. Sure, Lolla is great, Governor’s Island is hip and Outside Lands is chill, but Coachella is the one they all aspire to be, for the star power and cool factor alone. I mean, watching hundreds of musical acts in sunny California is ideal.
In my twenties, I looked forward to actually attending the festival, but now that I’m a little (read: a lot) older, I look forward to the mass exodus of festival goers from LA/OC (less traffic, reservations!). But, I do have fond memories of attending the festival, so here are some tips to aid in your weekend of revelry.
Hopefully with no Beyonce biting…
I’ve camped a total of one time at music festivals, and that was enough for me (I cherish being clean and sleeping). If you’re into that, by all means (hopefully you reserved your spot), but staying at nearby AirBnbs is a godsend, albeit pricey. Trust me, you can’t put a price on showers and beds after jumping and screaming all night in the duststorm that is Coachella nights. Renting a house with friends also gives you a chance to stay up all night and reminisce about the old days too, that’s worth it in my book.
If you have a DD (shout out to my friend, Kenny), Palm Springs is a viable option. There are tons of places to stay, from motels to five star resorts — but it is quite a bit of a drive from the Empire Polo Club, so you have to plan accordingly.
I will say, the added benefit of a Palm Springs stay is the food. Sure, you can PB&J it, but why? You’ve already spent a couple hundy on tickets and accommodations (and on your outfits), why not continue to treat yo self?
Cheeky’s (bacon flight) and Jake’s are great for brunch. Jake’s in particular has a beautiful al fresco setting, with patio umbrellas and a fountain and is so California it hurts. Their food provides good sustenance for long term partying…
And even better, if you get back in the middle of the night, there’s a 24 hour Del Taco in town to help replenish the empty tank.
Now on to the festival…
-Have a plan. If you’re truly in it for the music, you have to map things out –there’s an app for that, and grab the free booklet. Obviously you want to hit the headliners, but check out bands in the outer tents you’ve never heard before. Most likely you’re going to find something to dig (and the outer tents are truly a reprieve from the relentless beat down from the sun).
-Be flexible. One of your friends is going to ruin said plans, so either figure out a way to ditch them, or just go with the flow. Also, Coachella is a seen scene, so there will be annoying people who do not care at all about the music. This is very annoying to people who are there to see their favorite band, but they are unavoidable as they will snake through to get to the front, take their pictures, and then leave before the set is over. It’s a fact of life that you have to accept (try not to kick them in the shins as they pass).
-Inevitably you will be separated from your party, and your battery will be dead, so make a designated spot to meet up at the end of the night before you head inside. Make sure the responsible person in your party keeps the keys.
-WEAR SUNSCREEN (aerosols not allowed). If you bring one thing, it should be this. Also a lipbalm with SPF. It’s hot as hell in Indio. It will be hot at Coachella. THERE IS NO SHADE. Literally and figuratively! I’m being serious, wear sunblock. Do it, no one likes a cherry tomato disposition, that crap can’t be Instagram filtered out.
-Also wear sunglasses, hat, etc. Hotter than the surface of the sun, I tell ya.
-Drink water. Again, it’s hot. I cannot stress to you how hot it is. Sweltering. No one wants to take care of their dehydrated friend, by the way, they want to jam all night. Don’t be that person that ruins it for their friends. And you can bring camelbacks and an empty plastic bottle, with lots of refill stations, so there’s no excuse. Drink more than you think you can handle, it will not be enough.
-People always say to wear comfortable shoes, although this is a rule I admittedly sometimes break. I live in flip-flops, so they work for me just fine even walking miles upon miles (not the case for a lot of people). However, you run the risk of a billion people stepping on your feet while you’re in the pit, so just be aware. Do not use this weekend to try new shoes, and if you are foolish enough to do so, at least pack a box of bandaids because you’ll be saying hello to blister city.
-Bandana. A sandstorm will hit and you will be glad to look like a bandit. A bandit without dirt in his mouth.
-Wet wipes. It’s sandy, dusty and there’s a million unclean people around you, need I say more? In a pinch it cools your neck off a little, too. Hand sanitizer is also a must. Can we say port-a-potty? I even take Charmin wipes in addition to the regular wet wipes; they’ll save your life.
-Portable charger. Your battery will die, and so will you if you don’t get that video of Beyonce at the end of the night.
-For the ladies, a lightweight coverup/wrap, because even though i’ve stressed how hot it is, it can easily get frigid at night. Or I guess you could just head to your EDM tent and warm up that way, too.
-Ibuprofen. At some point, you may get a headache (read: hangover), your feet will hurt, etc. So necessary. Think about Allegra or Zyrtec if you’re prone to allergies, it’s dusty up in there.
-Ear plugs for the weak. Just kidding, you should protect your ears.
-Keep your eyes open, you’ll see someone famous (at least a D lister teen star).
-$$$. Most of the vendors take credit card, but in the event that their square isn’t working, you’ll want some cash. There’s so much to eat there, but the lines, oy vey. Also consider renting a locker for your souvenirs. You’re going to want to buy the ones you really want on Day 1 (they sell out quick).
-To beat the heat, head to the free Fruttare tent (hopefully this is still a thing), those popsicles are bomb. And there’s air conditioning. And usually Alessandria Ambrosio.
-Take turns in the food lines, they get long and if there’s artists that some in your party don’t want to miss, take one for the team. No one likes you when you’re hungry. Try not to eat too much grease bomb food. Go for the Kogi if it’s there, burritos, protein stuff. That will give you energy to party all night long. COACHELLA!