By: Ali Mikles
I’ve dreamt about going to Coachella since sophomore year in high school, when all my friends packed their cars to drive to Palm Springs from Santa Barbara, and my mom wouldn’t let me because it was “too dangerous” *eye roll*. Coachella is a fairy land full of outlandish and daring outfits, delicious food, incredible music, and the perfect backdrop for bomb insta pics.
Coachella, held every April since 1999 in Coachella Valley, California is known as much for its fashionable fans as the top-notch musical talent it attracts. To say that I hyped up the festival would be an understatement. Finally, five years later, my parents, tired of my begging, gave me the green light, and I jumped at the chance to attend my first Coachella.
Of course after all the buildup, I wanted my first Coachella experience to be perfect. But as much as I researched Coachella packing list and dos and don’ts, nothing could’ve prepared me for the weekend. Here are some tips to help you navigate through the grounds of arguably the best festival ever.
As you may have gathered by now, my obsession with the music festival far preceded me actually attending it. I would look at pictures on Pinterest for hours trying to see trends from past years. One reoccurring “trend” (which I later found out was not so much a fashion statement as a necessity) was tying a bandana across your face. OK, OK, the desert is known for dust, but I had no idea how severe the problem really was. At the end of the night, virtually every veteran concert-goer had strapped a bandana over their nose and mouth. My friend Elizabeth Kelley and I were amateurs and had no idea clouds of dust would bombard us. Not to be too graphic, but when we got home and blew our nose, black particles came out. GROSS, I know! Dually noted that bandanas are a necessity, not just a trend.
You know those mesmerizing Coachella pictures you see on your insta feed? Don’t think for a second those were one shot, candid pictures. Embarrassingly, I think I took over 1,000 pictures during the weekend. Guilty! Don’t be embarrassed to approach random people and ask for them to take your picture. They get it. Offer to take their picture in return. Another tip that Kelley suggests is to search Coachella in “locations” on Instagram, and see the pictures other people have taken. It will give you ideas for poses, locations, and camera angles for your own photos.
All the Snapchat and Instagram stories you see of the concert are not uploaded in real time. The service is AWFUL at Coachella. Make sure to establish a meeting place right when you arrive in case you split up with your friends and can’t reach them. If you’re really desperate, walk closer to the famous ferris wheel or near a bathroom where there is usually better service.
Taking all of those pictures, capturing video of your favorite artists, and trying to use your phone, despite poor service will suck up your battery fast. I would highly recommend investing in a portable charger. Trust me, it’s worth it!
WHATS IN MY BAG:
1) Find a bag with a zipper so you don’t run the risk of losing anything in the crowds of people.
2) Tie a cute scarf/bandana around it to give it that extra “Coachella” flair.
3) Put your bus pass, ID, credit card, and cash in a drawstring pouch. You do not want to lose those!
4) Kleenex is a must with all the dust in the air, especially at night (this was before I knew about the bandana trick).
5) Take two pairs of sunglasses because why not have options?!
6) Bring travel-size deodorant because it’s the desert. It’s HOT!
7) Remember your portable charger (see above)
8) Bring gum to freshen up and reapply gloss/lip balm to ensure you don’t get chapped lips.
9) Carry an empty water bottle. Since you can’t bring water in and water is CRUCIAL to have on you at all times at a festival in the desert, the water (and all food/beverage for that matter) is outrageously overpriced. There are purified water stations all over the grounds to fill up your bottle for FREE.
10) And last but certainly not least: Remember sunscreen. You are in the sun all day! Lather up with SPF and reapply throughout the day to avoid looking like a tomato.