For anyone who feels that they can’t live without their music, the Coachella Music Festival is like three days in heaven. The world-famous festival that takes place during two separate weekends in mid- to late April in the Californian Desert (Indio, CA), is a blissful escape from routine, replacing your daily worries only with concerns about how fast one can jog between stages to hear three different bands in the same timeslot. There is nothing quite like hearing your iTunes playlist performed live while strolling along the main five venues.
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There are crowds besides music lovers as well of course; the 24/7 ravers spread between the DJ sets in the Sahara tent and the Do LaB, the fashionistas meticulously accessorizing their modern take on the hippie look, and the (mostly LA-based) crowd that comes to see and be seen. But whether you are staying in Palm Springs and attending exclusive industry after-parties, or roughing it in the on-site camping spots, 72 hours immersed in music and concerts will give you one of the most freeing, fun, and unique experiences of your life.
COACHELLA FESTIVAL DO’S:
- Hydrate. A lot. Best way to avoid feeling faint and having your legs swell up.
- Pack anything and everything that can help with hygiene while there – baby wipes, anti-bacterial gel, etc. I’m not much of a germophobe, but three days sweating in the scorching desert heat surrounded by thousands of people is enough to make anyone feel gross.
- Plan a basic schedule for the day so you don’t end up missing out on any of your favorite bands. Manage your Coachella lineup.
- Use plenty of deodorant before you head down to the festival for the day.
- Bring a hat, sunglasses, and/or bandana.
The entrance to the main festival grounds opens in the morning (between 10 AM and 12 PM), and a steady stream of flip-flop, sunglass, and bandana-wearing attendees starts filtering in almost immediately. After passing a quick security check, you find yourself in a playground for adults; a giant ferris wheel looms over you at the entrance, and stands with merchandise, food (everything from burgers to Asian BBQ), and beer surround you.
Locate the water refill stations and try to get to them as soon as possible. The heat can get unbearable, and temperatures will likely be between 90 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit (and the later each year’s Coachella dates land, the worse heat you can expect). That’s why you will see a good deal of people give up on their fashion statement of the morning, whether it be Gypsy Queen or Native-American wear, and strip down to their bathing suits as the day wears on.
COACHELLA FESTIVAL DON’TS:
- Spend hours doing your hair and make-up. The heat will ruin your style in minutes and leave you a sweaty mess. The more natural you go, the better.
- Drink too much early in the day. The alcohol and heat will exhaust you before half the acts have even had the chance to get on stage.
- Leave your phone unattended at the outdoor charging station.
- Be that person at the concert. The one who pushes and shoves and tramples people. Help make the experience enjoyable for everyone!
Get accustomed to dust and sweat, they will be your daily companions, so the sooner you accept them, the sooner you can just focus on the music. Even these inconveniences are enjoyable, as the environment is reminiscent of the Woodstock days (with better organization; no need to worry about food shortages or medical aid here). After all, you are never far away from a cool drink or a patch of shade.
There is an infectious playfulness throughout the festival grounds. Everywhere you look there are vibrant colors, palm trees, and funky art installations. A giant colorful teepee-like structure in the center of the grounds (the Do LaB) has dance music playing from noon to the early hours of the morning. Three of the concert stages are under structures that have been made to resemble giant white tents, and attendees can lie down on the grass, cool off, and listen to some of their favorite indie musicians play or discover cool new music. The two larger stages are usually reserved for the more well-known musicians.
After you have been traipsing around all day, sunset will feel like a beautiful reprieve from the blistering heat. This is when the Coachella Music Festival’s set up really shines. The ferris wheel lights up the night sky, the palm trees are illuminated with all the colors of the rainbow, and the amusement park atmosphere of the grounds can only inspire childlike joy. Beautiful music floats out from every stage into the night sky, and you get the sense that even the artists are awestruck by the breathtaking view they see in front of them.
At the end of every day at Coachella, your legs may be tired, your body may be thirsty, and your hygiene may not be the best…but the feeling of delight and absolute exhilaration, the flood of music still playing in your brain, will be well worth it.