Another Coachella music festival has passed and after two weekend outings of great live music, people are left sunburned and dehydrated but already want to do it again for next year.
This year’s Coachella was loaded with extreme heat, a sandstorm and over 90,000 attendees for each weekend getting wild to their favorite artists. I’ve been attending the festival for the past 5 years and can safely say this is an experience worth having, but learn from me and some other’s mistakes so you aren’t hating life come Sunday afternoon or evening.
This year was a personal best for me for the music. I got to see The Knife, QotSA, Future Islands, Replacements (Billie Jo Armstrong on vocals!) and Motorhead over the three days of the festival along with so many others.
With presale for next year starting in the next two months (too soon? promoter Goldenvoice doesn’t think so) I can part with some good advice and valuable information if Coachella 2015 is your first outing. Or if 2014 was your first year and you want to come back next year better prepared, these are five crucial pieces of advice
1. WATER FIRST, BEER LATER.
This is the perfect opportunity to maintain that illusive 72-hour buzz, but passing out by 3 pm from heat and booze is not a good way to enjoy the festival. People who start drinking early on, or even before they arrive their first day are most likely going to become dehydrated from the unforgiving heat. People just forget to drink water when they start drinking. It would be a lot safer to just start drinking alcohol closer to the evening when the weather cools a bit. But if you want to day drink at Coachella, it is essential to match your beer intake with some fresh water so you don’t burn out early on.
2. FOOT COMFORT IS KEY.
Coachella may not seem like the place to wear heels or absurdly tight outfits, but believe me, it happens. People want to show off their nicest trendy expensive attire but fail to realize that Coachella involves a lot of standing, and a lot of walking. Think to yourself, showing off those Louboutins versus not having horrible blisters? You weigh that. Clothing options are entirely subjective for anything short of a full tight body suit and anything leather (yikes). But for your own comfort, wear some simple flat footwear to avoid any blisters or soreness, and adding some insoles would be recommended as well for extended wear and tear.
This shouldn’t even be brought up, but every year I see horribly sunburned people walking all over the festival miserable and looking like boiled lobsters. It doesn’t matter how well you tan, extended sun exposure will leave you with some nasty burns. It is important to apply sunblock throughout each day, one application at the beginning of the day is not enough. The sunscreen will wear off fast from sweat and movement. Not only should you bring sunblock for your body, it is also key to bring an oil free sunblock for your face.
4. CREATE YOUR OWN SCHEDULE
With three music-packed days yielding over 150 acts (some not even listed on the main line up) there are going to be some tough choices to be made. If you have a favorite band you are dying to see on the main stage, but your friends want to see that hot DJ with the crazy drops in the massive Sahara tent starting 20 minutes into your “must see” acts set, stand your ground.
More often than not, people get angry for not being able to stay for a full set of who they came (and maybe even paid) to see, and instead see an act they weren’t all too excited to watch. This has happen to me all too often over the years. Though it is just absurd to demand your friends to share in your music taste (even if you wholeheartedly believe your music taste is better sometimes) it is not unfair to ditch the group to catch someone you really want to see. Just make sure you and another member of the group going elsewhere have semi-charged phones to meet up later on. Or even reach a compromise if it works out in everyone’s favor.
5. BRING A SPARE CAR KEY OR DROP $240
Losing your car key is the ultimate screwing of the pooch, let’s be honest here. Though it may be not your fault for losing it doesn’t change the fact you’ll have to pay the onsite locksmith between $135 to $240 dollars for a new key so you can get home or back to your hotel. After all the money you spend over the weekend, you will not be stoked on having that happen to you.
Always keep your personal belongings very close and never for a second leave them anywhere, period. But for the case of contingency, bring a spare key or even have one made if you have to, leave it with a member of your group (the most trust worthy one hopefully).
If all these steps are taken, along with packing a smart bag of basics and lots of wet wipes, portable oral care and lip balm, your festival experience will honestly be much better than a higher percentage of those who attend alongside you. Though it is only natural to forget essential supplies and measures when the time comes, the best lessons are taught through experience. But learn from others’ mistakes!
After experiencing the negatives of all these measures and precautions, every year my Coachella experience is smoother and less stressful. If you have any additional questions on how to have the best festival experience possible feel free to Tweet me!