Surviving music festivals takes time, planning, stamina and a certain mindset that isn’t easy to come by. My husband and I are no strangers to music festivals as we’ve done ACL (Austin City Limits) twice. If you follow me on instagram and facebook, you know this was our first time attending Coachella.
Coachella is a huge music festival in April that draws over 100,000 people each year. Featuring artists of all kinds of genres from hip hop to EDM, it appeals to all music lovers. It’s held in Indio, CA, which makes it susceptible to dust and high temperatures.
Looking to attend next year? Here are 5 tips for surviving Coachella:
1. Be open-minded and flexible
Music festivals are notorious for scheduling big bands at the same time, encouraging you to make an annoying choice about which bands you’re going to see. This year, my #1 was Disclosure, and Justin’s #1 was Arcade Fire. Both overlapped by 15 minutes so we needed to make a plan to see both. There were bands playing at the exact same time in opposite ends of the festival, forcing you to choose which ones to miss out on. Finally, sometimes the best bands are the ones you stumble across while walking around the grounds. That’s how we found Passion Pit and Big Gigantic.
2. Go with people of the same mindset
We’ve gone with friends and family before that just don’t have the same mindset. A lot of the time people who go for the first time just don’t know what to expect and end up being real downers. The crowds, weather, food, lines and cost of beer isn’t an easy experience. Go with people who have the same mindset as you (whether it’s planning out exactly what bands to see and that’s it, or doing it hippy style and seeing where the wind (or ears) take you).
3. Actually think about what you are going to wear
I was surprised to see how fashionable people were at Coachella. At ACL people weren’t interested in fashion (we’re here for the music remember?) and just wore clothes that were comfortable. At Coachella it was all about high-waisted shorts, crop tops, peasant tops, flowy dresses, flower headbands and bib necklaces. Shoes consisted of combat, ankle boots and cute sandals. There was also a lot of short shorts with exposed butt cheeks, but I’m hoping that’s a fad that will die soon.
4. Find the perfect spot for the bands you really want to see and get there early
My sister and I are short, 5’4 actually, so being in a big crowd with no elevation is a crap shoot for us to find a place where we can even see the screen. If you are on the short side, consider finding a spot next to a fence where you can see the stage and eliminate the amount of people directly in front of you. It’s worth it, believe me.
5. Eat breakfast and pack essentials for being outside all day
The first day and a half left us feeling like we had been hit by a truck. Feet hurt, body aches, coughing (the dust does that to you) and headaches galore. After we decided to get to the festival later in the day to avoid the harsh sun, eating a hearty breakfast (which was cheaper anyways) to fuel up for the afternoon, taking allergy medication to fight the dust complications and packing water bottles and sunblock, we were good to go.
Music festivals are fun but they do take a lot out of you. Whether you camp out, get a hotel, drive down or fly, they are an experience all in of itself. Take the time to check out some bands you may not know, try the different food stations (we had crab fries which were incredible) and peak inside the sponsored brands (Sephora had an awesome tent where you could charge your phone and re-apply your makeup). The grounds are really beautiful, lined with palm trees and a huge Ferris wheel that make a sunset backdrop so picturesque.