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Coachella do's and dont's

All photos by Zadie Kang

After almost 6 months of anticipation, last weekend I had the opportunity to attend Coachella. It was my first time, so naturally there were a lot of things I would’ve done differently, as well as a lot of things I intend on doing again in the future. 


Camp out there!

Upon first getting the tickets to Coachella, one of the major parts of the weekend we needed to keep in mind was where we would stay. The unfortunate reality of festivals at such a large scale is the lodging expenses. A standard hotel around the area costs anywhere around 1000 dollars a night and this isn’t even taking into account finding transport to and from. However, we soon realized a much more convenient and cheaper option was to camp out on the grounds. We bought the space off Coachella the same way we bought the tickets and it’s essentially just a place to park your car and set up a tent. If you don’t like camping it might not be the best option for you, but for those with some experience I found it to be a really good alternative. It was also very practical when it came to going in and out of the festival. After talking to a lot of other people attending, I realized that, for a majority of them, it took over an hour for them to get back to where they were staying. With our camping arrangement, it only took a matter of minutes to get back and it was easy for us to enter and exit the festival throughout the day. Preferred Car Camping is the way to go!

Wear comfortable attire

Weeks prior, I was at conflict with myself as to what I was supposed to wear and whether to opt for something more fashionable as opposed to comfort. My conclusion was that it was a good choice sticking to the latter. While this is really just a matter of personal preference, from what I observed after being at a festival in desert weather for an entire day, it sounds much better to be comfy, especially at 11-12 in the night when you’re tired, aching and exhausted. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t dress up (one of the most fun parts for me was seeing everyone’s wacky outfits), but I think it’s also important to take into consideration how you’re going to feel in whatever you choose to wear later into the day. 

Go support smaller bands/artists you’ve never heard of 

Despite Coachella being a huge festival, it also attracts a lot of smaller artists and with not as many people at their sets, one thing I would definitely suggest is to go check some of them out! One of my biggest regrets looking back was boxing myself into only a handful of artists I was familiar with. The times I did branch out more I was almost always pleasantly surprised and I was able to discover a lot of fun new music which I think is one of the best things Coachella has to offer. 


Get your phone stolen

Ok, this one sounds a little broad and random, but phone theft is most definitely real at big festivals, especially Coachella! You can never be too cautious when it comes to securing your valuables. I talked to one festival goer about his experience with this and he told us he dropped his phone for only a second while recording a video, and when he went to reach for it, it was gone! After speaking to several other people with similar stories, I can confirm that the horror stories about phone theft are very very true. So you’ll want to make sure that you keep your phone in a safe place, as well as being mindful of where it is at all times. 

Buy food there 

Again, this is another one that is completely up to personal preference, but if you’re looking for a more affordable experience I would definitely try avoiding purchasing food there if possible. If you choose to camp out on the grounds it’s easy to go in and out and eat your own food on the campsite, however if you’re at the festival all day I would recommend eating as much as you can before you enter. This is something you won’t regret when you see the food prices. Another important thing along the same lines is to make sure you stay hydrated. There are water refill stations all over the place so bring a bottle to refill. I made this mistake on Night 1 waiting for Lana, purchasing an 18 dollar lemonade as I was desperate and very very thirsty. 

Compromise your safety

No matter how excited you are to see your favorite artist or band, always remember to put your safety and comfortability first! Unfortunately, not everyone around you is always as nice so make sure to never put yourself in situations that can potentially be unsafe or dangerous. One of my favorite artists Tyler The Creator was headlining on the second night and I got there hours early to sit right by the stage. However, as time passed and his set grew imminent I completely blacked out. I was getting pushed, cramped, and I was just very overwhelmed, claustrophobic, and hot. After going through a similar situation at Destroy Lonely the same day, I decided it was best for me if I found my way out of the crowd to somewhere I was more comfortable. While I was aware of how close I would’ve been had I stayed, I was much happier and had just a more enjoyable experience from a little further back. 

Overall, my experience at Coachella definitely lived up to its hype, however with a few minor adjustments I think my experience could have been much better. So if you ever have the opportunity to attend in the future I would definitely keep all these tips in mind!

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