It’s the most wonderful time of the year! But unlike Andy Williams, I’m not referring to Christmas, but the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Coachella is everything you envisions when they think of music festivals: a collection of great artists of all genres, dreamlike art installations and flocks of beautiful people (wearing articles of clothing that would never be deemed acceptable in any other setting). However, the West Coast staple is not for the faint of heart. Three days of stage-hopping from one act to another, followed by partying into the wee hours of the night is exhausting (the definition of a first world problem).
Coachella is a marathon, not sprint…so pace yourself. The following guide has a few tips to keep in mind if you’re attending this year.
Dress like you’re in the desert
Despite what you see in fashion photo galleries, not everyone is effortlessly Bohemian and chic in the unforgiving temperatures of the desert. By day you’re dealing with dry heat and by night you really regretting wearing those tiny, jean cutoff shorts. Every year I go to Coachella I question why I decided to make such poor decisions in outfit selections, and I’m not alone. You don’t want to be that person shilling out $50 for a G-Eazy hoodie because you’re cold. Wear comfortable clothes that breathe. Cotton is your friend and fringe and leather are not. Also, make sure to pack a jacket and bandana. Although you may feel like you look like you’re going to rob a bank, I assure you that you will not regret it once the sun goes down and if a sandstorm hits.
I’ve personally never had a problem remembering to do this, but apparently it has to be said. Standing around in a crowd bobbing along doesn’t sound strenuous, however, doing that for several hours is tiring. You need sustenance. There are so many great food booths at Coachella and I advise you to channel the inner foodie and get something outside of just the spicy pie (but get the spicy pie too). Below are a few of the confirmed places to check out.
- Free Range
- Backyard Bowls
- Beer Belly
- Donut Farm
- Guerilla Tacos
- After Ice Cream
- Hanjip Korean BBQ
- Indie Jams
- Ramen Hood
If you’re burnt out on food booths, you can also treat yourself to a meal at one of the three-full service pop-up restaurants.
Consider your makeup regime
We all know that feeling of leaving the house looking fresh, having a few drinks, walking into the bathroom and craning your head to the side thinking “Huh. Definitely didn’t look like this when I left the house.” It happens. Now, if your makeup doesn’t make passed a few rounds out on Saturday night, than it doesn’t stand a chance at a music festival. The only essentials you really need are sunscreen, lip balm, and some waterproof mascara.
You can expect to have virtually no cell phone service once you walk onto the Polo Fields. I advise to have a meeting place and establish whom you are trying to meet up with rather than winging it.
Make new friends
You and everyone else is there for the same reason – to have a good time. Everyone is happy (as they should be) and it’s the perfect opportunity to meet strangers from all over the country. If you’re camping, introduce yourself to your campsite neighbors. My group of friends did this and it resulted in us being able to dust vacuum all of the sand out of our tent from a sandstorm that hit the night before.
Don’t neglect unknown bands
I will admit that I’m not ecstatic with any of the headliners for this year’s set list. However, I love going to Coachella to discover new music. Be open to seeing acts that aren’t on your radar and move around from stage to stage. Each stage has a different vibe, and whatever you do, please don’t spend your entire time in the Sahara tent.
Don’t culturally appropriate
Last but definitely not least, just say no to wearing feathered headdresses. Enough said.