The Ultimate Coachella Survival Guide

It is officially Coachella season here in the Valley, and everyone’s favorite music festival kicks off this week! As a Coachella veteran, I have picked up a few tips along the way to ensure I not only have a blast but am prepared for whatever the day may bring. If you are already a seasoned Coachella pro, you have probably figured these tips out. If not, you will be thankful you that stopped by and are prepared for three long days of music, art, and fun!

Young woman in a white romper with a drink in hand in front of "BESAME" sign at Coachella Music Festival
Photo from @thedarlingniki
Silhouette of palm tree and ferris wheel at the Coachella Music Festival with San Jacinto mountains in background.
Photo from @thedarlingniki


What to Bring:

A bandana.
My first year I had no idea that a bandana is a necessity for Coachella. Between the smoke for three straight days and the seasonal winds and dust, a bandana is your bestie. I bought a bunch of cute ones this year and used them to cover my face, keep my hair off my face, and even tied one around my neck at one point. If you happen to forget one, most of the General Stores at Coachella sell them, but they go FAST so remember to do that on Friday.

Yes, people actually forget this. I sprayed myself down with SPF30 each day before heading out and used my daily face SPF and was totally fine, but we make a point of seeking shade whenever possible. Security checks are tight and spray sunblock is not allowed so be sure to have travel packs of some in your bag.

A scarf or Turkish towel.
It’s a long day at Coachella, and sometimes you will just want to sit down. However, there is really no place to do that other than the ground. Typically, I grab some Turkish towels from the linen closet, and they have been perfect to sit on and also to wrap up in when it got windy and chilly. Security is strict on actual towels/blankets coming in, so these two options are perfect.

A purse that zips.
Ladies, hear me out, I once bought the cutest bag thinking I would use it all weekend for the festival. I used it one day. I love the bag, and it’s perfect for day to day life, but the snap closure just made me so nervous all day that my wallet or phone was going to fall out. By day 2 I was using my tried and true zip closure bag.

Woman posing with peace sign in front of ferris wheel at the Coachella Music Festival
Photo from @thedarlingniki


What to Expect:

Expect to stand in a lot of lines for everything from ID check to bathrooms. If you are over 21, get the ID check done early, as the day goes on and more people come out for the evening the lines get way longer. Same goes for food lines, bathroom lines, drink lines, etc. Plan ahead!

There is actually no possible way with a GA ticket to see everyone you want to see. The polo grounds are HUGE and trying to force your way through crowds to get from the Coachella stage to the Sahara tent can take upwards of 20 minutes at times. Figure out early (I use the app to help with this) who is the most important for you to see and go with the flow for the rest of it, trust me, you’ll be happier.

If you really want to see someone and want to be close to the stage, go to the show before and just wait it out. I was dead set on being front row for Chris Stapleton a few years ago, so I went to the Autolux show before. It totally paid off, and I watched Chris from the front row center, right on the rail!

Eat all the good food. I have a friend who cannot be bothered to eat at Coachella, she is too busy dancing and partying, but for me, the yummy food has become part of the experience. A few of my favorites this year were the Milky Buns from Afters Ice Cream, the crab fries, Lobster rolls, and of course, the arepas, these delish corn cake/mozzarella cheese concoctions from Columbia. PS – If you are a rose fan be sure to find the gals at the Rose all Day booth for a plethora of options!

Woman in white romper wearing sunglasses pointing at sign that says "Rosè All Day" at Coachella Music Festival
Photo from @thedarlingniki
Hand holding a lobster roll at the Coachella Music Festival
Photo from @thedarlingniki


Don’t forget about the experiences! Yes, Coachella is about music, but it’s also about art, and each year there are numerous art installations all over the polo fields that are so cool! There are also unique pop up shops like H&M, Pandora, and my favorite, Perverse Sunglasses.
If you are making your way to Coachella this year, I hope you have an amazing experience!

Silhouette of peace sign in front of lit up ferris wheel at night at the Coachella Music Festival
Photo from @thedarlingniki


Written by Nicole Bowen of The Darling Niki
Photo in header of post from Daily Beat




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