If you are happen to be amongst the 80,000+ attendees making the mecca to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival this year, congratulations! Celebrating its 15th year, this desert oasis of music, art, culture and fashion has become a West Coast staple for live music enthusiasts and has helped shape the evolution of modern day festivals worldwide. This year’s line-up and fairgrounds feature some of the most impressive artists, vendors and talent, to date. Regardless of your live music experience or festival familiarity, we want you to be able to enjoy Coachella like a pro! Follow these handy tips and helpful reminders to maximize your time in Indio and get excited, this weekend’s going to rock!
TIP #1: WEATHERPROOF
The desert terrain can be a fickle beast and Coachella Valley isn’t one to mettle with. This year is predicted to be a scorching hot one bearing partial clouds and of course with a chance of the ever elusive valley wind storms, so really…prepare for, everything. This means clothing layers that can easily be toted around all day and outfits for corresponding weather pattern changes. Hats, hair ties, scarves and sweaters, think comfort and convenience.
Proper sun protection is a necessity, bring your shades and lube up before you enter those gates! Whereas getting rubbed down by a cute stranger might be your thing, you don’t want to risk the chance of everyone running out of their lotion and you getting left out to fry.
PRO TIP: WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES! There’s nothing worse than being on your feet all day in a pair of fashionably treacherous footwear. You will be walking, literally marching across polo fields all day long, so plan accordingly.
NEED PACKING LIST HELP? Check out SWELL’s list of Festival Essentials
TIP #2: COORDINATE
Although some may be comfortable navigating the fairgrounds as a lone wolf, there is nothing more obnoxious that spending half of the day lost or looking for someone. To avoid be the reason for or part of an aggravated search party, be sure to coordinate with your friends. Make a home base, establish meeting spots in case you get separated, rock a fun matching accessory or recognizable group uniform, carry a “beacon” or flag you can see above crowd level, ETC. Think field trip criteria, for adults.
Also be sure to be aware of your surroundings and the people you are with. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment at a festival of this magnitude and sauntering does happen. Take the “no man left behind’ approach, when developing your group dynamic and keep a watchful eye on each other. We’re all in this together guys and festivals are a lot more fun when you can share the experience with your friends.
PRO TIP: If you have a smart phone, “drop pins” in important places (ie: parking spots, meet up areas) and download “friend finder” aps to sync with your crew. Although your service may be shotty, this is an ideal way to locate people when lost and chances are at least one of you will be within geo-locative reach.
TIP #3: CONSOLIDATE
Don’t bring sand to the desert and leave all your baggage at home. No, but really, leave it! Whereas you want to be prepared, you don’t want to run the risk of being a mule and carting around too many belongings throughout the duration of the festival. Eliminate back aches and the chances of misplacing your belongings, by only bringing what is absolutely necessary. This is a very subjective topic and may vary from person to person, however when considering comfort and accountability, less is more.
Obviously the essentials are important, (ID, cash/card, phone) along with necessary hygiene related commodities, cameras and chargers. Easiest way to make friends at the festival is to have a lighter or sun tan lotion handy as well. However, if you are finding yourself debating with whether or not to bring that superfluous but super cool accessory or attempting to smuggle in something you know probably won’t make it through the gate, save yourself the trouble and leave it at home. Especially if it might end up burdensome by the end of the night or preventing you from enjoying the festival altogether.
PRO TIP: Become very familiar with what the festival will allow you to bring in, so you can spare the effort, time and money. Really you should only be bringing in legal and absolutely essential items that you can easily fit into a purse, backpack or ever so stylish fanny-pack.
TIP #4: HYDRATE
The most obvious of tips, for a festival in the desert, but surprisingly also the one that most people overlook. I cannot stress how important it is to hydrate yourself when in such a location, both for your physical and mental well-being. Heat stroke is a helluva conflict to have to deal with, can lead to serious health conditions (and dare I say, death). You will undoubtedly be surrounded by people all weekend whom could use refreshment and whichever type they choose, liquid is a necessity. If you’re going to partake in the adult varietal, be sure to pair each alcoholic drink with a subsequent amount of water and no, sodas and red bulls are not equivalent in their nourishment value.
If you see anyone whom is on the verge of passing out, offer a helping hand. Whether it be simply giving them a drink from your own rations, clearing out space for them to get some fresh air or flagging down the assistance of someone whom might be able to further aid them, taking care of one another is important! Everyone has been there at some point or another, some in more crucial states than others. Assess the situation in a “if that were you,” mind frame and take action as necessary. Especially within the vast festival sea of people, many whom actually need help get overlooked. Lastly, if you do happen to see anyone who has already passed out or is in a state beyond repair make sure they are being attended to. Flag down the necessary authorities, get them in good hands and go on with your festival experience, knowing with a clear conscience, that you may have kept that person out of some serious trouble.
PRO TIP: Make the rounds upon entering the festival and document where all of the first aid tents, water stations, bathrooms, cool down tents and any other health related areas are located. There are plenty of spots throughout the fairgrounds, dedicated to keeping everyone happy and healthy throughout the weekend, all of which you should be well aware of. Make use of these accommodations and keep your eye out for what the festival staff and medics are wearing in case you may need to flag them down at any point.
TIP #5: MOTIVATE
Last but not least, get excited! This is one of the premiere festivals not only in the nation, but worldwide and you’re a fortunate ticket holder, whom is going to be there! Yay! Complications are going to a rise, game plans might change, weird shit may happen but it’s all part of the experience, right? If things do take a turn for the worse, don’t panic and keep everything in perspective. If you get lost, enjoy your solo adventure or make new friends. You’re not alone in this, ever. If you lose something, be okay with it and realize that stressing about it the rest of the festival will not make anything better. Always have a plan A. B. and C. just in case things go south and for that brief moment that you are in Indio, focus all your energy on enjoying yourself and the festival surroundings. Put out good vibes and they’ll be reciprocated. Keep the energy and attitude positive within your group of friends as well, nobody’s got time for negativity!
PRO TIP: Create a festival playlist to keep the party atmosphere going all weekend! Pump yourself up with music from your favorite artists and do your research on acts that you may be unfamiliar with. Festivals are a great time to get acquainted with “your new favorite band.” Reach out of your comfort zone and check out a new act on site. Who knows, they just might be playing the main stage next year and you can say that you saw them first!
View Molly’s Full Coachella Playlist, or play a few selects from the list above
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MEET SWELL’S MUSIC BLOGGER, MOLLY
Molly Kish is the Media Relations Coordinator and a Columnist for the website, Showbams. 28 years old and living in San Francisco, California she is a live music enthusiast with an expansive background in the Bay Area music scene. Over the past ten years she has been a featured writer, marketing manager, voice over artist, copywriter, and on-air talent for several nationwide and independent media outlets. Her feature articles, interviews, concert reviews and more can be seen via her Soundcloud and social media handles. Follow her at:
Soundcloud Personal / SF Local Station