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Coachella 2017. And how to handle it

Coachella 2017. And how to handle it

story by: Anna Sarjeant

​Coachella's the world’s most talked about festival, it’s the three-day Californian festy more than 90,000 music lovers choose to attend. Pulling in 191 of the world’s biggest music acts every single year, it’s 72 hours of dance and debauchery, entertainment, exhibit and excess.

Not one for the faint at heart, here are the essential hacks for Coachella.

The what-to-wear is important, not just because you’ll want to look like the best dressed festival-goer in Coachella history, but also because you’re in the Mojave Desert, where the sun burns hot and sandstorms - like celebrities - sometimes arrive unannounced. 

Take two pairs of comfy shoes and two pairs of comfy socks; you’re going to be walking a lot. And when we say a lot, we mean up to 12 hours per day, with a two-mile walk from the parking lot to the main stage alone.

Take shorts for the day, long pants for the evening and always expect rain – hence why we recommend two pairs of both sock and shoes – this might be the desert, but get caught In a downpour and you’ll be sandy as well as soggy; and that’s never a pleasant combo.  

Personal food, as well as all liquids, is forbidden. You’ll have to buy what you need inside. Unless you’re diabetic, in which case you’ll need a doctor’s note and your food will be stored inside a designated diabetic tent. If you thought you were sauntering in with a pocket full of cashew nuts, you’re most definitely not.

Fortunately the food inside is as vast and varied as the music, with everything from vegan to vegetarian, sushi and slushis. Queues, albeit long, move quickly but try to carry as much cash as you safely can, with simple fare ranging from $7 - $9, you’ll always want petty cash to-hand. There are ATMs across the venue, but their soul-destroying lines will detract from the real reason you forked out for Coachella – the music. Don’t spend US$375 on queues!

Seen as Indio is a hot desert city, alcohol will likely be consumed and outrageous dance moves dropped all day, you’ll want, need (and if you’d prefer to avoid the first aid tent) have to consume an enormous amount of water. Fortunately water posts abound, so take an empty bottle and fill up regularly.

At Coachella you won’t be able to stand tent-side with a beverage to hand. These are two separate activities with separate venues for each. Holders of VIP tickets get the option of both but if you’re GA, organise your drinking and music accordingly. No one wants to forgo a main stage musician for a Budweiser….or a Budweiser for a main stage musician, depending on your priorities.

As any avid Bear Grylls fan will tell you, shelter is key to survival – especially in the desert.

Camping is the primary option for festy-goers, if not for the convenience alone. However, a hotel in Palm Springs is also a popular choice, especially if you’re someone who likes a deep clean after a long day getting dusty in the desert. Palm Springs is approximately 35 minutes from the grounds, with regular shuttle buses and taxis ferrying to and from. Taxis are relatively expensive, more so if you oversleep the morning of departure and suddenly need to get to LAX within the hour. Not as random as it sounds, according to Coachella taxi drivers this occurs every year without fail, with some attendees forking out over $400 hitching a lift to the airport, and that’s before the $100 tip!

Is key, as they say. Or at least every former attendee at Coachella will say. And when it comes to a festival packed with a hundred-thousand music lovers, you’ll want to go old-school and have a designated meet-up point for the lost children, AKA your friends (and possibly you). Sounds retro, but mobile phones tend to die early or lose service - and who wants to waste precious festival time sitting around a charging station? Sometimes, just sometimes, your parent’s way is still the best way.

The iconic ferris wheel is an ideal meeting spot, with relatively queue-less bathroom facilities close by too. And about that mobile – turn it to flight mode and save your precious battery, or if you’re okay losing slick camera functionality, dig out your old Nokia 3310– we bet it’s still in full working order and no doubt the battery will last a week!

Dirt. An inevitable part of any festival. All that mud, sand, spilled beer and sweat, we’re sorry to say but it’s unavoidable. Clever hygiene hacks include hand sanitizer and an endless supply of wipes. You’d be wise to take a bag, and a locker-sized backpack will prove particularly useful, especially for stuffing with sunscreen, sunglasses and lip cream – all of which you’ll need to fend of the sun’s incessant rays. Try to keep direct sun off your head by wearing a hat, it’ll also prove worthy by day three, by which time your hair – whatever length – will be dry, matted and greasy. Cover the worst and party-on.   

There you have it, the definitive Coachella guide – print off and put it in your backpack pocket, you’ll be needing it come April. Your very survival depends on it.

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