Archive | May, 2011

How to Survive Coachella Music Festival

5 May

Desert. Endless miles of walking. Tents. Oven-baked porta-potties. Hydration stations swarming with sweaty humans. And of course, 200 live acts of eargasmic musical performances that will change your zen forever, man.

It’s a battle in the desert, so here are some tips on how to survive Coachella Music Festival and still enjoy your 3-day musical journey.

Camp out with your pants out

  • SKIP THE HOTEL. Not only are you spending boatloads of money on top of the $350 RFID wristband, you’re totally losing out on the Coachella experience. Grunge it up, mingle with your kind, and don’t be a pansy. 
  • DON’T PROCRASTINATE. Sensible Simon should tell you to purchase your camp site / car camping passes at the same time you purchase your Coachella ticket. However, most of us music-festers don’t know who Sensible Simon is and got ultimately  SCREWED when all these passes were bought up by evil scalpers. Instead of being sold for $75 at face value, you’d see them being sold on Craigslist for $150-$300! Hale-to-the-No.
  • CAR CAMPING > TENT CAMPING. The way the lots were arranged this year, the tent lot was furthest away from the music stages – although it was definitely quieter, making it easier to get some sleep – it was SOOO FAR! In the desert, every step you take feels like an eternity. With car camping the lots are closer to the music venues and you can obviously pack a lot more supplies to help you survive Coachella – ie. coolers, beer, grills, blow-up dolls etc.  You can also easily fit 2-3 tents in one car camping spot. If you and a couple of friends get car camping passes – you could totally combine forces and build a giant mega-fort! Awesome! Only downside, if even – it’s a lot livelier and noisier, so you may not get all that much sleep (which is why you pack red bull).
  • DANCE. NAP. DANCE.  Another reason to camp. You’re going to be so exhausted from all the concerts that you’re going to be so thankful that you can just walk to your tent and crash for a bit. If you stay at a hotel, you won’t be able to do this and you probably won’t enjoy Coachella as much because of the exhaustion.


  • SUNBLOCK. You’re in the desert! Do you want skin cancer? WHY ARE YOU WEARING PAINT ON YOUR FACE?  Don’t forget to bring chapstick with sun protection as well.
  • SUNGLASSES. For obvious reasons. The laser show at night!
  • WATER CONTAINER. Water is $2.00. Gatorade is $4.00. Coachella has hydrating stations with filtered water that’s FREE. I didn’t bring one and as a result I spent $100 on water in order to keep myself hydrated.
  • WET ONES TOWELETTE WIPES. You may need this to take a “hippy shower.” Or after a trip to the porta-potty. This seriously was something I was glad to have with me.
  • TAMPONS. They are like $7.00 for a pack of 5. Ridiculously expensive. Bring them for bloody noses, because of the dry climate weather. Yea…that’s it…
  • COMFY, LIGHT, BREEZY CLOTHES. It’s hot. No need to dress to impress. 
  • PANTS & HOODIE. The reason why the desert gets so hot is due to the thin atmosphere and lack of water. The heat penetrates through this thin layer making it very hot in the day. And guess what, at night the heat disappears and  it can drop to around 40-50 degrees.
  • FLIP-FLOPS & SNEAKERS. Sneakers for long-distance walking and extreme bio-dome dancing. Flip-flops for the showers.
  • UMBRELLA FOR YOUR TENT. This sounds weird, but if you can put some type of umbrella or another tent on top of your tent – you will be able to get some more shade. You couldn’t sleep past 7AM because the sun would penetrate the tent and singe your forehead.
  • COLGATE WISPS. For those times you lose your toothbrush and yo breath seriously stanks. (Thx Sam!)


  • Indian feather headdress
  • Body/face paint (sweating + body paint = smelly hipster creature)
  • Flannel shirt
  • Gladiator sandals
  • Babies (seriously, I saw babies there, wtf?)
  • Frugalness – just face it, you’re going to spend lots of money
  • DSLR cameras – unless you want it to explode


You probably won’t read tips like this before departing rainy Boston for sunny California. The night before you fly you’ll probably order a tent and sleeping bag and ship it overnight to your parent’s house in Chino Hills. You’ll also only get 1 hr of sleep. Then you will drive to the desert, stopping by In-n-Out for an animal-style burger along the way. Then you’ll pick up a Coachella wristband from some rando you found on FB and meet him at a grocery store in the middle of nowhere. Then you’ll arrive to Coachella at around midnight – only to drive around the Polo Field anchovied in amazing traffic in the middle of the night. Then you’ll nap in an abandoned church parking lot, because you won’t know what else to do. Then you’ll wake up –  discover a tiny residential neighborhood 3 miles outside of the venue – and park your car with the risk of getting towed. At 1AM you’ll be running through the desert with coyotes howling at you. After security gropes your belongings and you get checked in, you’ll wander aimlessly with your luggage weighing you down – redialing your couchsurfing friend Nolan who was supposed to hook you up with a tent spot. Unfortunately, Nolan is probably drunk and wasted and won’t pick up his phone. Finally, you’ll give up and plop down out of exhaustion – where you’ll set up your tent illegally and probably on somebody else’s spot. BUT! YOU’LL GET AWAY WITH IT – for the entire weekend – without having to pay a single dime for parking or camping! And Sensible Sam will cry in his corner. And you will have an awesome, mind-blowing, fantastical, magical time enjoying all of your favorite bands – questioning why Lauryn Hill is wearing a beanie – laughing at Cee Lo Green as he rants on stage – and then eat lots of food that costs $8. 
For more information check out Coachella’s website.
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