Coachella is right around the corner! It’s never too early to prepare for the big weekend. By now you should have your camping crew or rental house in order. You will also want to start putting some money into a Coachella savings account each week. The weekend can be expensive, be prepared to spend $50+ a day.
Bring Earplugs – The music is LOUD! Especially if you’re in the front row of the mainstage. I never understood why people stand directly in front of the speakers in the Sahara without ear protection. After All, that ringing in your ear after the festival is permanent hearing damage.If you want to be able to enjoy the music 30 years from now, you MUST wear ear protection at Coachella (and all other concerts). I recommend the Hearos High Fidelity Musician’s ear plugs because they’re cheap and effective. And they come with a free case. These earplugs won’t muffle the music, but instead, bring it down to a reasonable and safe decibel level.
Bring porta-pottie necessities – The Coachella porta-potties are notoriously dirty and smelly. Stepping into a small human waste box that has been baking in 100°+ heat all day is quite an experience. If you’re camping, be sure to bring extra seat covers (grab some from a local fast food restaurant on your way out to the festival), toilet paper, baby wipes and hand sanitizer.
Be prepared for allergic reactions - Bring your anti-allergy medicine because the dry dust and grass on the festival grounds irritates most people’s eyes and throat.
Save your cell phone battery – It’s very annoying to lose your group of friends only to discover your cell phone is dead. There are no charging stations in the festival grounds (but there are some at the campgrounds). So, turn off your wi-fi, bluetooth, data and close all of your iPhone background apps. You don’t need any of these battery draining features while you’re at the festival. Enjoy the music, don’t sit around taking instagrams of the ferris wheel all day.
Put medication in original bottle – Unless you want your birth control pill to be mistaken for an ecstasy biscuit and to be confiscated by security, be sure to keep your meds in the prescription bottle. Even worse still, you’re detained by the police for trying to smuggle drugs into the festival.
Condoms & breath mints
Leave for the festival early every morning – If you’re staying at a hotel or condominium, as oppose to camping, make sure to leave for the festival very early. Traffic can get very congested around the Polo Fields. I stayed at La Quinta Resort my first year (just a few miles away) and it took me almost 2 hours to get to the Festival.
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Rent a locker – Non-campers should consider renting a locker (use this site to book a locker). It’s a good idea to keep a warm sweater, or even jeans, in your locker so that you can be prepared for the cold desert nights. The locker is also a great place to store any beers that you might have snuck into the festival grounds.
Remember it takes time to get from stage to stage – If there’s a band you really want to see, make sure you leave early to get there. It can take a good 30 minutes to walk between the Sahara tent and the mainstage when it’s crowded.
Don’t buy or sell drugs from/to strangers – There are lots of undercover cops at Coachella looking to buy drugs from friendly festival goers. Don’t let your weekend be ruined by spending a night in the Indio police station. Besides, drugs are bad (see the Naked Wizard video below). If you do find yourself in trouble with the law at Coachella, be sure to contact Forest Wilkerson, a La Quinta-based defense attorney who has experience in dealing with Coachella-related incidents. Her office can be reached (available night and weekends) at 760-777-4322. Save this number to your phone’s contacts now!
Print out the setlist (bonus tip!) – Festival staff do hand out set time pamphlets, but don’t spend time looking for one. Print out the set times before you arrive and highlight the artists you want to see. Making a plan is the best way to maximize your time.
If you have any tips and tricks that you would like to add to this list, contact me!
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