Coachella: A First Timer’s Guide

May 19, 2018

I have always dreamed of attending Coachella and this year it finally came true! The whole weekend was simply magical, living up to the very high expectations I had. It was a trip of a lifetime!

I received a lot of messages about my trip to the festival. I hope this post can give you an insight into a day at Coachella and answer any questions you might have about attending yourself.

How to get there:

Max and I flew from London Heathrow to Los Angeles on the Thursday before Coachella Weekend 2, LAX is the closest and most direct airport to fly to when going to Coachella festival. When we landed we picked up our Mustang (rented, sadly) and off we drove to Palm Springs, taking us around 4 hours (including a stop off at Walmart for car snacks, obvs). The drive wouldn’t usually take that long but normal LA traffic + thousands of people driving into the desert for Coachella = madness.

Where we stayed:

We stayed at V Palm Springs (which had been transformed into Revolve Festival the weekend before) in a Balcony Pool View Room. The hotel was beautiful, we will definitely be returning! We spent our mornings eating açai bowls by the mountains and drinking cocktails at the pool parties before we ventured over to the festival in the afternoon.

                                                  

Where is Coachella Festival:

Although Palm Springs is the most popular area to stay for the weekend, the festival is held in the Empire Polo Club, Indio, California. This is a 45 minute drive away. Over the years, Palm Springs has become known for hosting the most exclusive parties and celebrities over the festival weekend, making it a very appealing place to stay!

Accommodation options:

There are so many accommodation options for Coachella. You can stay in a hotel in any of the surrounding desert cities too. Or, you can rent an Airbnb for the weekend, stay in a RV site, camp in your car or stay in a luxurious tipi tent at Lake Eldorado. There really is an option for everyone!

Day 1:

On the first day we had aimed to get to the festival by 2pm, but as you can imagine the Coachella hair and make-up prep took far longer than anticipated (girls, you can empathise). Luckily, Max had the patience of a saint as I glued each piece of glitter onto my face. We ended up arriving to the festival at 5pm on the first day (oops… a bit later than expected), but this worked out well for us as the temperature had dropped slightly and all of the artists we wanted to see were on later in the evening.

Walking into the festival on day 1 and seeing the famous Ferris wheel was like walking into a real life Instagram. It was exactly how it looks in the pictures! There was a perfect photo opportunity everywhere you looked.

Food & drink:

First things first, it was time to get a cocktail…

There were several food and drink hubs around the festival. There was pizza, pasta, ramen, tacos and ice cream donuts! Each main dish ranged from $8 – $15 and you do get a lot for your money! Being the foodie I am, I insisted we tried most things they had to offer.

In order to buy any alcoholic drinks you have to go to an ID check and get a wristband to be served (legal drinking age is 21 out there and they are strict on this). You are also only allowed to drink alcohol within certain areas of the festival… very civilised! Although this sounds quite strict, the drinking areas were very spacious and positioned well so you can still see the stages. There were lots of drinks on offer ranging from $8 – $13 including: prosecco, beer, wine and cocktails – my personal favourite was the Strawberry Blonde Sangria.

Artists:

Over the weekend we saw so many amazing artists including; Kygo, SZA, The Weeknd, Jorja Smith, Post Malone, Beyonce, Vance Joy, Cardi B, French Montana, Odesza and Eminem. They were all phenomenal, but, I don’t think anything could beat a Destiny’s Child reunion on stage! The final acts of the night came on around midnight, finishing their set at 1.30/2am. We did struggle with the jet lag on the first night of Coachella but the sheer adrenalin and excitement kept us going.

Transportation:

We bought the general admission Weekend 2 wristband, including a shuttle pass. The shuttles were our saviours for our journey back! Walking out of Coachella every night was like a mass exodus. There were thousands of people trying to find their taxis or queuing in their cars to make their way out of the car parks. Luckily for us there were dozens of shuttles waiting every night to drop us back to Palm Springs.

I would definitely recommend using the shuttles as they were the most convenient form of transport out of the festival. Besides the celebrities helicopters that is. The shuttle stopped at the Hilton Palm Springs. Therefore, we still had to get a 5 minute Uber back to our hotel from the drop off point. By 4am we were back in our hotel room, totally exhausted but so excited to repeat it all again the next day.

I would recommend attending Coachella festival to everyone, it was one of my favourite trips I have ever been on!

If this post has made you want to go in the future, here are my top tips:

Top tips:

1.       Wear a bandana. Wind and sand is not a nice mixture. I didn’t wear a bandana and I lost my voice completely by the end of day 1.

2.       Bring an empty water bottle. There are multiple water stations throughout the festival where you can fill your water bottles for free.

3.       Read all emails the festival organisers send you. You must register your wristband before you get to the festival. Instructions are sent via email, as well as other general important information.

4.       Buy your merchandise at the beginning of the weekend. We made the rookie error of going to the merch shop on the last day, they hardly had anything left!

5.       Bring an extra layer for the evening. The temperature drops from around 40 degrees Celsius in the day to 20 degrees at night, it can get quite chilly. If you feel the cold, I would bring a little jacket you can throw on when the sun sets.

6.       Download the app. The Coachella app is amazing! We created our own schedule of the artists we wanted to see. As a result, we received reminders on our phone 15 minutes before the artists came on stage.

7.       Bring cash. There are ATM machines across the festival but they do charge fees to use them. Also, it’s much easier and quicker to pay by cash at most places.

8.       Wear a hat. There is very limited shade throughout the fields so bring a hat if you are planning on going during the day.

9.       Have an emergency meeting point. There’s not much signal out in the desert and you don’t want to lose your friends. Definitely have a last resort meeting point.

10.   Wear comfortable shoes. You will do so much walking at the festival (I walked 20,000 steps on one day)! My boots were painful so I ended up bare foot a lot of the day.

Hopefully this has answered any questions you might have and given you a flavour of what Coachella is like. Please leave a comment if you would like to ask anything else.

We have made a Coachella travel video, link is below!

Check out what we got up to in LA here.

See you in 2019 ‘Chella!

The Blonde Sunchaser x

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