What You Can Expect at The Coachella Music Festival

It’s almost April, and you know that that means… Spring flowers are in bloom, yearly taxes are due and oh, yeah, THIS…

It’s Coachella time! Pick me! Pick me!

The season of Coachella is upon us. This year brings us Outkast, Arcade Fire, Muse, Lorde and Pharell Williams just to name a few hot tamales leading the pack of performers. For those of you who have never been, or haven’t been in a few years, there are a few things you should keep in mind when you go to this 3-day outdoor festival – everything from what to bring – what not to bring to where you can stay.

I went last year and got to experience the lights, the food, and (of course) music in all her shining glory. Allow me to share with you some tips and pointers from my experiences…

The ferris wheel might look like this to you after 3 days in the hot sun.

It had been a really long time since I first went to the fest. Eight years to be exact. Since then, the festival has changed enormously. In addition to the extra weekend, your ticket is 3x more expensive and enables (encourages) you to attend all three wild and crazy days out in the desert heat. That being said, it’s not for everyone… like not for your mom, or people who are anti-music or haters of anything fun. Anyone else… you might actually really enjoy yourselves. Just keep these tips in mind…

1) There is a lot of walking. A LOT. You can hire a pedicab to take you from the parking lot to the grounds if you really can’t walk it, but they don’t take you through the festival grounds just TO it. If you are VIP or a guest of the artist you can get a golf cart apparently. I also saw people getting around by wheelchair, so anything’s possible.

2) It gets hot. Like REALLY HOT. Bathing suits and sun hats (or sombreros) encouraged.

3) It’s really expensive. With the ticket price, ($350) cost of food, lodging, gas (or airfare depending on which side of the world you live on) it adds up. Coming from Los Angeles proper, carpooling with friends and staying in a budget-hotel for 2 nights, my beau and I spent over $1400 for the lot, just to give you an idea (and this was actually a good deal considering the “really” nice hotels jack up their prices and have 4 night minimums for the weekend). If you have friends you can share the cost with, and can get three days off work in a row, it’s an experience that is completely worth doing at least once (or thrice) in your lifetime.

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THIS GUY. Nice tactic. Nobody frisks a bear.

4) If you are staying in a hotel, (smart move!) it’s nice to lay your head down in an air conditioned space after a long day in the sun. You will most likely park your car at the venue and spend the whole day walking around. While you CAN go back to your car (there ARE Ins/Outs) you most likely wont. It was approx. 2 miles walking from GA parking to the main stage, FYI. If you have VIP parking or plan on camping in a tent or car camping the distance may be shorter. (A note on car/ tent camping — I have not personally experienced this firsthand, but judging from what we saw, unless you are with a group that is REALLY low maintenance, I might not recommend this, it gets really hot, really cold and really dusty at times. Weekend 1 in 2013 experienced a nasty dust/wind storm on the third day, and it was NOT fun).

5) Water tips. They have smart ways of getting you to recycle your water bottles. Bring empty bottles to exchange for fresh water or things like T-shirts. They also offer free drinking water at refilling stations, but we could never find them. *Hint* They were by the bathrooms!

6) You can’t bring in food or anything, but you really don’t need to since they have upped their food game enormously. This year, they have got every kind of food you could want. Vegan? Check. Carnivore? Check. There’s the plant-based Crossroads, trendy sushi spot  Sugarfish, various coffees (Stumptown and the like) and popular dessert pop-ups from Artisinal LA like Creme Carmel and Bon Puf. Not to mention, a bunch of other specialty shops, gourmet chefs and food trucks vendors. I kinda wish I was going this year just for all the amazing food. For the full food list, click here.

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Read on for more tips on what you absolutely MUST bring to Coachella.

Or click here to read more on the food and fashion at the festival.

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