Written by Stephanie Rosa (originally posted in 2016)
Coachella season is finally here, and we’re counting down the days to go time. Outfits are being finalized, schedules are being organized, the visitors from around the globe are flying into California to experience the world-renowned festival that is Coachella. Whether you’re headed to the West Coast for weekend one or weekend two, you’ll surely have a great time. For the past 3 years I have made my way to Indio, California for the music, the art, and the surprise friendships. I have participated in both camping and home rentals in Indio and I have learned tips and tricks along the way. Below is a list of things that can help you maximize your time at Coachella.
- Time Stamp Your Text Messages to Your Friends – When you’re on the polo fields with 100,000 other people, text message service is sure to be an issue. How do you get in touch with your friends that you lost at the Sahara stage? Send them a message, and send them the time you sent your message. “Hey, meet me at the entrance of the Rose Garden (Sent at 4:33p)”. Trust me, this little trick will save lives.
- Bring a Jacket – Yes its California, but yes, it’s also the desert. A 20 or 30 degree drop from day to night is going to make you shiver. Be sure to bring something long sleeved for the night.
- Rent A Locker – Lockers Online rents out lockers that are small, medium, large & extra large. However, the XL lockers don’t need a key, instead it uses a combo which makes it great for big groups. Like I mentioned, Indio, California can drop temperatures pretty quickly, so storing a light jacket or hoodie is an absolute must. And if you split the XL locker with your entire group, you don’t need to coordinate what time to get back to the locker to open it. Anyone can go in and out of it as they please. Not to mention that lockers allow for quick clothing changes if you’re not camping. Its been a life saver for my group for years.
- Always Leave At Least 30 Minutes Before the Music Ends – Imagine this. 4 major stages and about 3 smaller ones all playing music for crowds of festival goers. Then the music stops. Now imagine thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people all exiting from just a few spots. Sounds like a traffic jam worse than rush hour on the 405 in L.A. And it is. Save yourself the headache and plan to leave a little early with your crew. Whether you’re driving to/from the festival (and yes, leaving the parking lot could take you HOURS), or hopping on a shuttle (and waiting in an obnoxious line to get back to your hotel), leave a little early to avoid the masses.
- Check Out The Do Lab – The worst thing you could do at Coachella is hang around the Main Stage or the Sahara Stage all day long. Instead, check out a side stage, like the Do Lab. The Do Lab is always the most visually appealing stage at Coachella, known for its brightly colored structures that creatively provide shade during the day. There’s also usually something awesome there too like water guns during the day to cool off the crowd. The best part is that the Do Lab always hosts artists on the rise. Put it this way, Odesza was at the Do Lab a few years ago at Coachella and now they’re headlining festivals across the U.S. If you’re headed there weekend one, I suggest checking out San Holo, and if you’re there for weekend two, I suggest checking out Autograf.
- Eat Every Single Meal At The Festival – Ok, so we know that the lineup is pretty rad, but did anyone mention the food lineup? Coachella is known for having an entire city blocks worth of food vendors. And you can pretty much pick whatever you’d like. Sweet treats, smoothies, asian, seafood, and vegan options are all available. You already paid to be at the festival all weekend, so take advantage of everything it has to offer.
- Bring a Bandana To Cover Your Nose/Mouth – People tend to forget one thing about Coachella. DUST STORMS. Not only do they happen, but they have been so bad that one year they had to stop the music and the festival entirely. How to battle it? A bandana that you can wear around your nose and mouth. It tends to get pretty dusty around the Sahara stage anyway, so its good to have on while trekking around. Trust me, or you’ll be blowing out black snot for days (seriously, though).
- Bring Refillable Water Containers – Yes, you can bring them, YES there are stations, and YES you’ll easily save yourself $100 over the weekend if you throw a reusable bottle in your backpack. Not to mention you’re saving the environment. #GoGreen
- WEAR EARPLUGS – Its in all caps cause you should seriously wear some. Acoustic filters are the way to go so that you’re not drowning out the sound (usually about $25 a pair and reusable for the rest of your festival season).
- Hold The Coachella Balloons – I did this almost every year, and I’m glad I did. Across the beautiful Coachella sky are balloons that make you feel like you’re in a snowglobe. The coolest part? Someone is holding them at each end. Sometimes there’s a small line to do it, but it’s a pretty awesome feeling and a way to be apart of the art at the festival. You’ll have great photos to smile back on.
Well, that’s it… for now. Coachella is a wildly awesome experience with beautiful art, people, fashion and music. I hope you have a great time there, and be sure to come back and let us know if there’s anything we forgot to add to this list! #SquadUP