One part insufferable brand-event, one part mind-blowing musical pilgrimage – the intricacies of a successful Coachella run dark and deep.
When you’re like me and you’ve gone to your fair share of these multi-day events, specially this big thing out in the desert / polo fields of Indio, you’ve gotten pretty confident with the amount of knowledge you’ve collected along the way. For instance, this one holds true consistently year over year: water is God, and no, Daft Punk won’t be there.
Many of these lessons I have learned via trial and tribulation, and it’s high time I shared these tips with the world. To make sure you don’t have to learn everything the hard way like I did, we’ve gathered the below for you to use as your digital spirit guide to help you own this festival like the gypsies you hope to become. Follow along…
1. First off…do your homework and stick to a plan. Know who you want to see and where they are. Know the overlaps. Study the festival schedule like crazy when it drops.
2. Factor in travel time between stages. It takes 15-20 minutes to navigate the masses in between the stages. Sacrifices will have to be made, and you need to make your peace with that early.
3. Camp. It’s cheaper and easier. You can still go to all the pool parties, you can still shower, but you don’t have to sacrifice eight paychecks, your first-born child and your dignity for a mediocre condo 45 minutes away from the venue.
4. If you absolutely insist on not camping, DO NOT wait until 4:00pm to try and call an Uber because IT WILL NOT HAPPEN. Or it will, but with 7.5x surge pricing.
5. Don’t make a goal of not eating all day…I know you want to look as skinny as possible but you will pass out and die and then you will most likely miss the headliner you wanted to see.
6. Start your day with some fruit. It gives you vitamins and energies and you’ll feel like a superhero ready to take on the next day.
7. Invest in a sneaky flask-type-option. This wine bra is your best friend.
8. These hidden-alcohol / sunscreen tubes are awesome too.
9. Always rely on Spicy Pie Pizza. They will never let you down. Ever.
10. Drink a bottle of water right when you wake up in the morning and right before you go to sleep because dehydration is NOT chic.
11. Don’t skip the Do Lab. It’s the best way to cool off. Plus everybody looks sexy when they have a light dewy mist on their tan skin.
12. Don’t go to far UPPER until the sun goes downer. If you know what I mean…
13. Don’t stay in the Sahara Tent the whole weekend. It’s scientifically proven that this is how brain aneurysms happen. We would rly miss u :(
14. Don’t forget about the Yuma tent. It has this rare precious nectar of life called “Air Conditioning.”
15. Also don’t take two hits of the acid if your friend took one hit earlier and has been MIA all day.
16. Don’t get the pulled pork. It’s too heavy for the heat. Trust me.
17. Also don’t get the sushi. It’s too hot for sushi. Trust me.
18. Sacrifice time early one morning to ride the ferris wheel. This is probably the only time that it won’t cost you 1 hr+ of time and the view is quite literally LIFE-CHANGING.
19. Remember that you do not need to be jam packed into the center-middle of every crowd. In fact, these are often deadzones for volume. Learn to appreciate some space. I prefer to be right next to a speaker tower to the left or the right.
20. Get the eff off your not-boyfriend’s shoulders. Like 15 seconds once or twice is acceptable but after that just get the hell down, please.
21. HOWEVER: if you are a bro on your other bro’s shoulders, stay up there so we can all take pictures and shame you mercilessly.
22. ALL NEON IS TOO MUCH NEON.
23. DO NOT wear high heels. Can’t believe I even need to include this one.
24. But do wear shoes. Yeaahhh barefoot reads as free-spirited and fun-loving but think about the repercussions: cigarette butts, broken glass, chewed gum and worse — you don’t want to puke because you just stepped in somebody’s puke. 🤮
25. Don’t plan to meet your friends near the moving art installations. For obvious reasons.
26. On the very first day, establish meeting spots with your group for the entire weekend at each stage. The outdoor stages have labeled each speaker tower with “B1” or “A6” etc. Use this to your advantage.
27. If you do lose your friends, don’t panic. Try to enjoy yourself anyway. Don’t skip sets to find them. I lost everybody one year during Disclosure and guess what? It was still a borderline religious experience.
28. If you’re attempting the fiery pits of hell aka The Bathrooms, walk all the way to the back and get in line there. The lines will be shorter.
29. Use the bathrooms in-between The Main Stage and The Outdoor Stage next to the Beer Gardens. They are always less crowded and *sometimes* there are AC bathroom trailers all the way in the back.
30. If you’re 21+, it’s always, always, always easier to re-connect with missing friends inside a Beer Garden. Sorry, underage BBs.
31. When it’s time to re-fill on water, take all of the water bottles you can get your paws on and re-fill them all at the same time. Distribute amongst selfish friends begging for a sip so they don’t drink all of your own precious waters.
32. Don’t put your metallic temp-tattoos on your face because the tanlines will still be there when you walk into the office on Monday morning. That goes for facepaint too.
33. Don’t forget your cash. ATM fees are upwards of $7,000 per transaction so just take money out before the weekend and budget yourself. Maybe that merch stand sweatshirt for $70 cash-only wasn’t such a good idea after all.
34. That being said–If you want merch, buy it early in the weekend. I have the fugliest sweatshirt from last year because I wanted something really, really bad but they only had reject options left.
35. Pick up your trash. Ugh.
36. Bring a water spritzer. At first people will be pissed at you for spraying them, but then they’ll realize that it actually feels really good and refreshing and they will ask for more and BOOM you just made a new best friend.
37. If you let a stranger borrow your lighter, keep eyes on it the whole time and trust no one.
38. Weed can solve most of your problems. There I said it. Tummy ache? Migraine? *Things* not kicking in fast enough? You know what to do.
39. Do NOT bring the Gucci sunglasses your Mom bought you for Christmas. You will promptly lose them and it will eat at you all weekend. This is the place for the $5 faux ray-bans you got on Venice boardwalk/found on the ground during Coachella 2014.
40. Don’t get emotional when your phone dies. That is when the fun begins.
41. When you pull into the line to get in, crack a beer and start chatting. Everybody is there to make friends and you’re not going to get in trouble.
42. Send a scout up to the front of the line to see how strong the security game is. I’ve saved many a handle of Fireball from certain confiscation this way.
43. If you’re caravanning with other cars, buy some window paint and draw numbers on your windshields. The attendants will do their best to keep you together IF AND ONLY IF you make it as easy as possible.
44. If it’s forecast to be windy, just listen to the warnings and take your tent/shade-cover down for the night before you go in. When Hurricane Coachella hits you won’t want to be the idiot chasing your tent around the massive campground.
45. Establish a place that you will be keeping your car keys at the very beginning of the weekend. People will need to get stuff out of your car and you don’t always want to be in charge of taking care of the keys.
46. If you’re going to charge your phone in your car, turn the car on. Ain’t nothing worse than a dead battery in the middle of a campground.
47. Earplugs. Even in Indio, people snore. People also talk all night about stupid stuff you don’t want to hear about during your five precious hours where the temperatures dip below 95 degrees long enough to take a disco nap.
48. You really only need breakfast foods. You will buy from food vendors because you will be lazy and hungover and believe it or not, you won’t feel like making that gourmet hotdog you were so positive you’d want while standing in line at Costco.
49. LADIES: BRING DE-TANGLER. Hairs gets grimy quick and dreads are not only kind of stinky but they are damaging to your hair to rip out. Split ends are not chic.
Last and most certainly not least…
50. EVERYTHING IN MODERATION. Do what you want, but don’t do too much. Have the time of your life, but be safe. Be a free spirit, but watch out for each other. Make out with strangers, but go home with your friends.
Everything in moderation… except water.