Coachella Survival Guide: 10 Tips for First Timers (and What to Expect)

Image Courtesy of  Luciano

Image Courtesy of Luciano

Now that I’ve covered 14 things you probably forgot to pack for Coachella, you have your outfits picked out and your suitcase packed. You’re ready to hop your happy self onto that plane to Indio, California and have a damn good time at Coachella music festival. Before I send you off into the desert, there are a few more tips I’d like to share about making the best out of your experience and a little bit out what to expect. Especially, if you're a first timer!

In regards on what to expect, be mindful that there is more to Coachella than the glamourous photos you see on social media of all the fashionable bohemian chic outfits, celebrity sightings, beautiful sunsets, and awesome stages. Everyone doesn’t dress up with their makeup on fleek, you may not actually see many celebrities as much as you do in photos online, the weather can be a gamble, and stages can get packed quick. Relax, enjoy everything that the experience of Coachella has to offer you.

(Sidenote: if you really want to see celebrities, go to Coachella weekend one. It’s the debut weekend and there tends to be more media attention then as opposed to weekend two.)

Now, lets get into it.


1. Dress for the conditions.

I’ve mentioned this tip before, but it’s worth mentioning again. Good shoes come in handy for walking around and standing up for long periods of time. Not to mention if you’re deep into the crowd, your feet may get stepped on. Comfortable clothing that can handle the hot weather during the day, cold weather at night, and random sandstorms. Whatever you feel good in, wear that. A scarf or bandana to put around your face for dust storms or whenever you are in an area where sand is being kicked up from people dancing will be worth the investment.

Katrina Chairs Art Installation - Image Courtesy of  James Tibajia

Katrina Chairs Art Installation - Image Courtesy of James Tibajia

2. Rest up!

If you can, lol. You want to be able to take Coachella head on. During the day, the sun can be really draining. Attempting to get some good rest each night will be helpful, but sometimes it’s just not possible. If you’re going back to work the Monday following Coachella, it may be in your best interest to give yourself a day off before going back to work. Music festivals are fun, but the festivities do take a toll on your body. Even sitting the flight back can be draining afterwards. You know your body, give it what it needs.

3. Create a schedule for the artists you want to see.

Earlier on in the day, there are less people. So the stages don’t get too packed. As the day goes on and nightfall begins, things start to pick up and stages begin to seem smaller because of all the people. If you like to be close, then get there before the set is supposed to begin.

Deep Inside the Sahara Stage - Image Courtesy of  James Tibajia

Deep Inside the Sahara Stage - Image Courtesy of James Tibajia

Anywhere between 10 to 30 minutes depending on who the artist is and what time of day. The night turns the festival grounds into a metropolis of high energy and an influx of good vibrations. Not sure why, but there is something about the night that changes the whole scene. And don’t forget to leave yourself some wiggle room for checking out the food options, art installations, and other gems you can find at Coachella.

4. Check out each the stage.

Even if you think it may not be music you’re into, keep an open mind and explore the grounds to see what kind of adventures you get into or cool people you may meet. It's how I discovered one of my favorite stages... Yuna Tent. :)

Tower of Twelve Stories - Image Courtesy of  Arch Daily

Tower of Twelve Stories - Image Courtesy of Arch Daily

5. If you’re driving to Coachella and parking in the large abyss of cars...

Two things. First, once you park…Drop. A. Pin. If you have an iPhone, you’ll know what I’m talking about. If not, learn how to here. Second, back into the parking spot so you can easily just pull out. Depending on when you leave, it can be a battle to get out and trying to reverse out of your spot may be a bigger pain than it sounds.

6. First day warm-up.

Anytime there is a music festival that is multiple days, the first day usually serves as a warm up period. Either that or kick-off. So, take it easy. Get acquainted with the festival grounds so you easily know your way around without having to take out the map every three seconds.

7. Set up a meeting spot.

Just in case someone in your group gets lost and you can’t reach them because you’re out of bars. Sometimes text messages will send, but the text won’t deliver on time. Pick a spot that isn’t a super popular spot. For instance, the Ferris wheel isn’t an optimal spot. Trying to find one person out of a swarm of people will be like playing Where’s Waldo, but instead he will have a flower crown on top of his beanie.

8. Bring cash.

Just in case shit hits the fan. ATM machines are down and only cash is accepted. Even worse, you made the mistake of wearing wedges you thought you could rock and by the end of the night you want to take a wagon ride to your car but the guy only accepts cash. You’re welcome.

9. Stay hydrated and be mindful of the food you’re eating.

Sweet Combforts  Waffle Pops, Image Courtesy of  Eater LA

Sweet Combforts Waffle Pops, Image Courtesy of Eater LA

It gets hot, so keep your body refreshed by staying hydrated. There’s a ton of awesome places to eat, but don’t get carried away to the point where your stomach revolts against you. Don't want to spend majority of your time in the porta potties. 

10. Go with the flow and enjoy yourself.

It’s Coachella. Enjoy your time there, in whatever way you see fit.

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