Coachella is just around the corner kicking off the music festival season. I’m sadly not going to Coachella this year, but I’ve been the previous two years, and have had an absolutely amazing time. Here are my top ten tips on how to get the most out of your festival experience, make your life a little bit easier and most importantly help you have fun!
- GET A LOCKER – We didn’t get one the first year, but we did last year and it was honestly the best $34 I have spent. Plus you get $20 back when you return the key so it’s really only $14. It meant that when we left our tent in the morning we could load up with everything we needed for the day and night; cardigans, hats, sunscreen, change of shoes, and not have to worry about looking like crazy bag ladies. Believe me when I say it gets cold in the desert at night, and changing into leggings and a long sleeve shirt or cardigan makes all the difference after being in the blistering sun all day.
- LAYERS AND SUNSCREEN – I cannot stress how hot it can get in the desert during the day and how cold it can be once the sun sets. Make sure to apply sunscreen regularly, you don’t want to get burnt on Friday and be miserable for the rest of the weekend. Wearing a hat is a great way to stay cool and keep the sun off your face too. The layers are for nighttime, waiting around for the headliner to start it gets pretty chilly, so being able to add an extra layer or put more clothes on is a welcome addition. Be prepared for all weather conditions too, the first year we went, there was a crazy sandstorm, and I was so glad I had a scarf and sunglasses with me so I could cover my face.
- FREEBIES – Make the most of the freebies available. Sephora has an amazing booth that has hair and make up stations so you can make yourself look picture perfect ready to step over to the photo station. One year they were giving away hair ties as you entered, another year they had a Instagram powered vending machine that dropped a prize when you posted with a certain hashtag. Another booth was giving away Fruttare ice lollies, and last year the JBL booth had free massages, and an awesome photo booth.
- GET MERCHANDISE EARLY – If you want to get something from the merchandise booth I advise you do it early, especially if you are there for Weekend 2. Sizes and styles sell out, so don’t wait and end up disappointed. Plus if you get a locker you can just put your new t-shirt, poster, tote in there and not have to worry about it for the rest of the day.
- USE POLO GROUND TOILETS – This is something I wish I had discovered earlier, porter potties are the worst part of the festival experience, in my opinion. There are a couple of real washrooms located in the festival ground, near the Craft Beer Barn. Don’t be put off by the long lines, they move quickly and it is so worth the wait for flushing toilets and sinks with running water and soap. If you find that you need to use the porter potties, I suggest going to the very back where they have washrooms in trailers which are a step up from the porter potties. If all else fails and you find yourself having to use the porter potties, do so early in the morning. They get emptied and cleaned overnight so are pretty bearable early in the morning.
- NO METAL TENT PEGS ALLOWED – We had our metal tent pegs taken away from us before we entered the camp ground the first year we went. You can buy plastic tent pegs at the general store in the camp ground, but we didn’t discover that until the last day, and so ended up using water bottles and suitcases to weigh our tent down; not the best plan in the world especially when there is a crazy sandstorm happening. My advice; take out your metal tent pegs and buy some plastic tent pegs in advance.
- MAKE A NOTE OF KEY LOCATIONS – The camp ground is huge, make sure you know which street your tent is on, or where you need to go to get picked up, there is nothing worse than coming back to the camp ground after a long day to find yourself aimlessly wandering looking for you tent or pick up point. Another tip I would recommend would be to arrange to have a plan should you get separated from your party. Pick a tent, sculpture, booth to go to should you end up split up from the rest of your group so you don’t spend hours looking for one another among the thousands of people in the grounds.
- USE THE APP – Plan ahead and use the app. It is a great way to plan the lineup you want to see and arranges it by time and stage, giving you a rough idea of when you should head to different stage to see an artist. The app also has a list of vendors, as well as a map which can be incredibly helpful if this is your first time at the festival. Look at the line up beforehand, you can listen to artists you aren’t familiar with and maybe even make a new discovery that you might want to check out. Festivals are a great place to discover new artists.
- HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE! – You cannot take food or drink into the festival grounds, but you can take an empty or reusable water bottle so you can refill it at one of the many water stations dotted around the festival ground. Sometimes the lines can be pretty long, but they tend to move quickly, filling up once a set has started is the best time as the lines are a lot shorter. There are many vendors selling water, but at $2 a bottle it can quickly add up whilst you are trying to stay hydrated in the hot desert sun.
- GET A BATTERY PACK – Yes, there are charging stations located throughout the festival grounds, but they are always very crowded. Some of the booths have charging stations too, but once again you are not guaranteed a space, and if you are camping you don’t want to have to turn your car on just to charge your phone. I got myself a battery pack, and it was a bit of a lifesaver, as it was small enough to stick in my purse and charge my phone on the go. Make sure you put your phone on flight mode whilst charging as it makes the whole process a lot faster.
Most importantly make sure you enjoy yourself, Coachella is such a wonderful experience so make the most of it! Explore the festival grounds as it is full of amazing sculptures, booths and fun things to see. Whilst it is great to see your favourite artist, try and mix it up and see new artists and bands you might not have heard of before, festivals are wonderful places to discover the next big thing. I once read that you should treat festivals as taster sessions as you can always catch your favourite artist next time they come to town. I try to stick with that theory to some extent, but sometimes you just have to see the entire set, so soak up every minute and enjoy!