Coachella Survival Guide: Pro-Tips For a Kickass Desert-Fest Weekend

16 years running, the Coachella Arts & Music Festival has drawn hundreds of bands and countless music lovers from all over the planet for a weekend (or two) of musical debauchery on the gorgeous polo fields of Indio, CA. There’s a great time to be had by all walks of life, as long as they come equipped with the right gear and attitude.

Guess what, kids!  Coachella’s in the desert. It doesn’t matter if you’re in girl pants and eyeliner or hemp-fiber flip-flops and patchouli, nobody’s exempt from the treachery of the baking heat or the inevitable fine layer of dust that everyone ends up wearing by the end of the day. Sunblock, sunglasses, water and light clothing is a must for anyone who doesn’t want to die of heatstroke or have their eyes burned to charred little raisins in the sun. Here are a few other things you should keep in mind in order to make sure your Coachella experience is as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.


Get there early

If you’re camping, get out to the desert by Thursday mid-afternoon. You won’t have to worry about the endless traffic getting into town, or racing the clock on Friday morning while the sun’s beating down. There’s nothing fun about stressing out in suffocating heat, and that’s no way to kick off a marathon weekend in the sunshine. The line to get in the campground is going to take forever either way, so you might as well make it easy on yourself and make some buddies along the way. Besides, the campground at night is quite a fun place to be. You never know what’s happening in the sea of tents…



It’s blazing hot in the desert, and no matter how much eco-friendly, gluten-free roll-on deodorant you lather on, you’ll be stinking to high hell after a few hours of rocking out in the sun. If you’re not staying at a hotel, the portable showers at the campgrounds adjacent to the fields are better than one might expect. Do yourself and everybody around you a favor and wash up.


Get some sleep!

Three days in the hot sun is gonna take its toll. Clock at least 5-6 hours of sleep each night, so you can be refreshed and raring to go in the morning. And by morning, we mean mid-afternoon. Hell, who are we kidding? Just don’t miss G’n’R.


Eat early, eat well

Breakfast is the most important meal, and with the energy you’ll be burning just standing in the goddamn blazing sunshine, you’ll need to get some serious carbohydrates intake going. The wait for food inside can get pretty ridiculous, but the grub onsite is slowly but surely improving from the overpriced fried cafeteria food they used to offer. Don’t forget your cash, however – the ATM fees have been raised to include either your firstborn child or a pound of flesh – but at least you have a choice between the two. And if you’re strapped for cash and need some refueling, watermelon hydrates and always brings a smile in the sunshine.


Evil scheduling conflicts mean you will inevitably miss some performances you’ll wish you had seen, but if you plan ahead you can cut down on the missed moments. In addition to a slew of Coachella apps, they’ve got perfect pocket-sized schedules at the event. Being prepared is the best way to prevent the forehead-smacking discovery that you missed an awesome act. While to for a comprehensive list of this year’s performers and their respective websites, where you can sample the music and see if something new catches your ear.


Charge up! Bring backup! 

Your phone battery is going to deplete faster than you can say, “Wait, I’m not finished uploading that pic of Run The Jewels fighting Cold War Kids!” Twitter, Instagram and Facebook apps are energy vampires that will leave you digitally stranded in no time.

Keep your charger on you, and consider taking the cheap leap into the world of portable chargers. There will be charging stations for mobile devices set up in various locations. Use them as often as you can – you don’t want technology failing on you the moment you see Alison Mosshart and Anderson Paak making out behind the port-a-potties.


Water, water, water 

We’ve mentioned it already, but without it, you’re gonna have a bad time. Seek out the hose-blasting mollygirls at the DoLab, and stuff bottles in every pocket you can find – you’ll be thankful when you’re up front and the sweaty goddess to your left starts begging you to pour some on her.


See you in the desert!


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