Top Ten … Coachella Tips

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!

 

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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!

 

 

Leah Explores … Capitol Hill and Ballad

Last weekend, I went of my first trip of the year, with three of my best friends to celebrate one of their birthdays. We went to Seattle to explore Capitol Hill and Ballad, and I had a fantastic time. It was so nice to go to somewhere familiar like Seattle, but avoid doing all the cliche tourist things that I have done so many times before. The main purpose of our trip was to eat, drink and be merry,whilst doing some exploring and boy did we succeed!

We rented an Air B&B apartment in Capitol Hill, which is the trendy residential area to the east of the main downtown core, where there are restaurants, coffee shops and bars aplenty. After a painless trip across the boarder on the Boltbus we headed out to explore.

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The water tower in Volunteer Park

First up was Unicorn, a carnival themed bar just a short stroll from our apartment. It was here that I had one of the most delicious and outrageous meals I have ever eaten; a cornbread waffle pulled pork sandwich. Believe me when I say it was as a good as it sounds. I paired this beast of a dish with a ‘Unicorn Jizz’ coacktail (I couldn’t resist the name) which was ridiculously sweet and yummy! We then headed over to Elysian Brewing, to start on the craft beer portion of the weekend. I have a confession to make here, I’m no beer aficionado, but I was promised by my friend that by the end of the weekend I would be one step closer to being so. I started off with the Day Glow IPA followed by a glass of the Splitshot which was a milk stout and absolutely delightful. From here we wandered over to Rhein Haus which is a cavernous bar that was very lively and offered drinks by the litre. Our final stop of the night was decided to keep it classy and went just a few doors down to Cannon, a fancy bar that describes itself as a “whiskey and bitters emporium” where I had a very yummy, but very strong gin based cocktail called a Hotel Georgia.

Saturday saw the peak of our exploring. We started out late morning when we headed for brunch in a lovely little spot in Capitol Hill called Witness. Once again I indulged in another over the top decadent meal (treat yo’ self, am I right?) called a Croque’d Toad, it was described to us by our waiter as being like a toad in the hole, a croque monsieur and eggs Benedict having a baby. He wasn’t far off with the description and it was every bit as good as I imagined it would be. We then walked over to Volunteer Park, where there were some stunning views of the city from the top of the water tower (which also helped burn some calories!) From here we headed back to our apartment for a quick rest to recharge our batteries before he headed out for round two.

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The Croque’d Toad at Witness

The first stop on Saturday take two was Poquito’s, also in Capitol Hill, to make the most of their happy hour and enjoy some yummy margarita’s and guacamole. From here we Uber’d (is that a verb?) over to Ballad which is another neighbourhood located to the North West of the city, for the craft beer section of our day. We began in Stoup Brewing, where I tried the Pale Ale and the American sour.We then walked around the corner (literally) to Reuben’s Brews where I had my favourite craft beers of the weekend; the Seattle Milk Stout and the Cherry Weisse. Both were absolutely delicious and I would definitely have both again. Our final stop of the craft beer tour was Populuxe Brewing, which was by far the smallest venue tucked away in a tiny little house. Here I tried the Ballad Blonde and American Stout, rounding out my attempts to become a craft beer connoisseur. By this point, some of us (no names mentioned) had had our fill of craft beer. We headed west to the historic district of Ballad Avenue, which is full of bars, restaurants, and shops. We had dinner at Bitterroot BBQ a trendy rustic style restaurant where we shared ‘The Cowboy Killer” platter, which was yummy.

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Flights of craft beer at Stoup Brewing

By Sunday, it was safe to say we were all a bit tired, so we had a nice relaxing morning in our apartment before we had to be out at noon. Our first port of call was Porchlight Coffee and Records just a short walk away. We enjoyed some delicious coffee and relaxed in this lovely little coffee shop for a while. Afterwards we stopped in at The Elliot Bay Book Company, somewhere I was particularly excited to go to. I can’t resist a good independent book store, and this one was particularly dreamy. Next, we stopped by the Starbucks Roastery and Tasting Room on Pike Street (when in Seattle…) for a quick look around. Across the street was Six Arms, a pub that had a great beer selection, where two of my friends had been before, here I had the Terminator Stout and the very yummy Pomegranate Cider. Our final stop for our time in Seattle was the Cheesecake Factory. As a bunch of Brit’s living in Canada, we were all pretty excited to get our fix of enormous portions and of course,  decadent cheesecake.

Our journey back to Canada on the Bolt Bus was as pain free as our journey down, and we arrived back to some classic Vancouver weather; rain. All in all, I had a fantastic weekend, and I loved exploring a different side of Seattle that I hadn’t seen before,  I felt like it was a great way to reinvigorate a city where I felt I had seen it all before. I would highly recommend Capitol Hill as a great way to see a different side of the city.

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Sneaky Space Needle views from Capitol Hill