What happens when you put thousands of people in a hot desert wearing boho chic, free spirited attire to listen to some of the biggest artists, take an unnecessary amount of pictures next to art installations, and indulge at beer gardens and food stands?
Last weekend I'm sure you noticed people and celebrities taking over your Instagram feed from the annual Coachella Valley Music Festival in Indio, California. After moving to LA last year, and being the crazy music lover that I am, I was determined to attend my first Coachella weekend. I just had to drive two hours to get to the desert and hear dozens of my favorite artists for an entire weekend? I just had to go and see what all the hype was about!
Heading to the desert for the first time can be exciting, but also overwhelming. I remember beginning my research online and then asking fellow co-workers what Coachella was like. "Make sure you bring a bandana," one said. Before that, I had no idea people actually wore bandanas over their mouths to shield themselves from the dust storms.
When they announced that my two favorite artists (The Weeknd and Beyonce) were performing this year, I immediately wanted to go again.
Anyway, I've rounded up my best tips and tricks for surviving your first Coachella experience. Welcome to the desert!
What weekend to attend...
Coachella has two weekends. The first weekend is known for more events, parties, celebs, and surprise guest artists. The second weekend is basically the same, just with shorter lines and less celebs. There are SO many people there, that it really doesn't matter which one you choose!
Getting your ticket...
I waited to get my tickets last minute both times to save money. Join a Facebook group where people are selling tickets from all over, just make sure you don't get scammed and the ticket is unregistered when you purchase it.
Where to stay...
I've stayed at a hotel both times, just know the prices will be extremely high because of the event. Make sure you look and see how far exactly the hotel is from the campsite and where the nearest shuttle stop is. Some hotels are pretty far out there. You can also camp out or stay at an Airbnbs (if you book very far in advanced).
What to wear...
Plan your outfits:
I took the time to plan every inch of each of my three outfits before I left. This saved me time and I had less to pack. You should bring an extra outfit in case something gets ruined or dirty. Also, bring a swimsuit incase you go to a pool party!
Wear comfortable shoes:
As tempting as it is to rock some high kneed boots or gladiator sandals, you should go for a closed-toe footwear instead that you don't mind getting dirty. You’ll be on your feet all day, in large crowds of dancing people. I wore boots one day and then gold worn-in converse the rest of the weekend!
Bring a kimono or jacket, because the weather drops when the sun goes down. It also gets super windy and dusty so bring a bandana to cover your face and keep the dirt out.
Bring a backpack or something else practical:
Your best bet is a fanny pack or a backpack so that you can store your phone, camera, charger, sunglasses, water bottle, and wallet. It is also VERY HOT, so you will need a lot of water while being gone all day. Last year, I made the mistake of not buying a backpack with a built in hydration packs. This year I got one from VIBEDRATION (use my code BRITTANY17 for a discount off your purchase) This way I don't have to buy water bottles or slow down to take a sip of water, because I can just grab the drink tube from the backpack. Not to mention they are actually trendy- I chose the gold glittery one!!
Either way you are going to get dirty, especially on your feet, so don't wear your most prized possessions!
Spice up your look:
Wear some fun sunglasses, a trendy hat, or gems/jewels for the perfect look!
And...don't forget sunscreen!!
Get the shuttle pass:
If you aren't camping, you should invest in the shuttle pass. The shuttle pick ups are close to most hotels and will bring you right into the festival. I rode the shuttle the entire time, except for once when I went to an event outside of the festival.
Get the Coachella app:
You can register your wristband on it, make your own schedule, and always have the lineup at your fingertips! It also shows events or places to hang out between events. Make your schedule ahead so you know what stage you are going to and what time.
Have a meet-up spot:
Your service will be very spotty or your phone may die. Be safe and have a meet-up spots with your friends so you don't stay lost!
What to eat...
The food is amazing and so INSTAGRAMABLE at the festival! Go out and try as much as you can. All of the food stands are run by local Coachella Valley residents and you’ll be supporting the local economy.
What to drink/getting alcohol in...
The drinks and alcohol around the festival will have very long lines and are be expensive. I snuck in alcohol by putting it in a water bottle in my shirt and shorts, because they don't pat you down. They do check your bags, so make sure you don't have any liquids visible!
Just remember, Coachella is not all that glamours like you see on your Instagram feed. Have fun and enjoy everything the experience has to offer you!!