Surviving in the desert isn't easy. You'll need lots of water and willpower, not to mention sun-wear. But that's not all there is to it, so we've compiled a survival guide of 10 essential items for the three-day festival in Indio, Calif.
With an average April temperature of 88 degree in Indio, Calif., it can get take-your-clothes-off hot at Coachella. But we advise that you at least keep your swimsuit on, and not just for the local pool parties. Let us not forget the Naked Wizard of 2009, where a Coachella-er decided to strip from his cape and sorcerer's hat to dance the day away in the buff. Police didn't like this one bit.
2010's post-Coachella viral video of the Wasted Flip-Flop Guy may have outdone Naked Wizard, and it's why we strongly suggest you to pack a pair of shoes with ankle support. The Empire Polo Grounds boast seven well-manicured fields that morph into the festival floor for one weekend every April. Wearing sandals doesn't mean you'll necessarily be leaving with perma-dirt on your feet; it's the combination of partying and flip-flop wearing that becomes a problem.
In 2010, people waited more than six hours to get into a Coachella parking lot. The way around it? A city-issued residential access pass. The pass is handed out by local police a week prior to the event to residents. It gets you waived through closed-off streets, leaving the bumper-to-bumper congestion behind. Coachella residents have been known to sell their extras starting at around $75 a pop for the weekend.
Good luck texting a friend to meet you to the right of the Mojave Tent soundboard, next to the guy wearing a silver Speedo and white bunny ears. They'll get the message five hours later, when you've already moved on to the rave happening at the Gobi Tent. As with all music festivals, when you have about 80,000 people within a 200-yard radius, cellular traffic renders mobile-phone use pointless. We recommend using one of Coachella's many art installations -- like the giant glowing crane or the painted recycling bins -- as a meeting spot.
Forget planning a rock 'n' roll outfit. Sunglasses are the way to look cool at Coachella. The sun stays out for 13 hours every day of the fest. With the high costs of a ticket, lodging and transportation to the festival, revelers are forced to make up for money spent by wearing cheap sunglasses. "The absence of Dolce, Prada and Gucci is noticeable," observed the Los Angeles Times. Even Deer Tick manifested the cheap sunglasses phenomena during their 2010 set by wearing Blublockers and picking the appropriate ZZ Top cover song.
For Coachella, most people choose to fly into the Los Angeles airport because it's cheaper and, as with anywhere you fly into, there will be a drive ahead. We put together a fun road trip with stops that include the Cabazon Dinosaurs, Joshua Tree and a clothing-optional natural hot spring. With drinking and partying in the air, try to remember that the only person that should be driving is a sober one.
Coachella is spring break for music fans. If you opt out of camping, chances are you're staying at a fashionable house rental or hotel. One of the draws of the fest is being able to lounge by the pool all day and then rock your face off at night. Skinny-dipping, Marco Polo and chicken fights are the most cost-effective pool activities, but if you have an extra buck to spare we recommend a water volleyball net or perhaps this pool flair.
Sunscreen, money, keys, empty water bottle, camera ... check! Where are you gonna put it all? Every year there's that wasted guy or girl who flails around and looses everything in their pockets. Don't be the person hoping their iPhone will show up on Coachella's lost-and-found list and definitely don't be the person who drives, crowd surfs and loses their car keys, leaving the rest of the carpool stranded. Don't like carrying stuff? Coachella also offers lockers, but they go quick.
Even if you didn't get a ticket, there's always another party to catch at Coachella. After the festival shuts down at 1:00 am, brands like Guess, Lacoste, Belvedere descend on the Palm Springs area and throw late-night parties on million-dollar estates. Filter and Rolling Stone each throw shindigs with special performances, free drinks and freebies. Admission is easy and usually only involves a simple RSVP, but lists fill up fast!
Coachella tickets sold out in record time this year: Six days. In 2010, the festival did away with single-day tickets and began selling only three-day wristbands at $269 (plus surcharges). Only problem is that the limit is six tickets, allowing scalpers to get their hands on a bunch at a time. Tickets started popping up on eBay for $400 and up. You can always try to hop the fence, but the Coachella folks do not mess around when it comes to their security, so we don't recommend it.
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