Coachella-Bound?

Make the most of your experience with these easy tips



This year’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival runs April 11-13 and 18-20 in Indio.

Chris Miller / Imagine Imagery

The desert cultivates creativity, artistry, and mysticism; it is no wonder it hosts one of the greatest festivals on earth, drawing people from all parts of the globe to experience its magic. Ascending from the hot, dry air and warm breezes, this year’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival runs April 11-13 and 18-20 at Indio’s Empire Polo Grounds.

Rounding the venue entryway and surveying the festival can feel overwhelming — giant speakers, stages, tents surrounded by palm trees, large-scale art installations, and endless people — but everything flows easily; getting from one stage to another is quick and seamless.

During the sizzling days, the event is low-key, as many festivalgoers are relaxing by a swimming pool. But if rest isn’t required, hotel pools across the desert, such as the JW Marriott, Viceroy, and Ace Hotel & Swim Club, are hot spots for sunlit poolside parties.

Just before sunset is the perfect hour to start dancing the night away. Stow a sweater in your bag in case the night is cool or for a little extra padding when sitting down. Bring an empty canteen, too, as there are free twice-filtered water stations to refill containers. Water is also available for purchase at $2 a bottle.

With so much excitement focused on headliners OutKast, Muse, and Arcade Fire, don’t miss seeing some of the lesser-hyped acts like Chvrches, Little Dragon, Bombay Bicycle Club, Cage the Elephant, and Poolside.

Parallel to the music is the notable on-site art. Last year, for example, a 30-foot-tall snail slowly slithered its way across the field; in 2012, a 140-foot-tall, LED-lit orchid sculpture blossomed beautifully, changing colors throughout each evening. Even the trash cans are worth seeing: The #ArtOfRecycling education program collaborates with artists to create colorful and dynamic bins that integrate into the overall installations.

While it’s hard to experience everything Coachella has to offer, go with the flow, wander the grounds, and hop on the Ferris wheel to take in the sights.

 

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
Photo by Chris Miller / Imagine Imagery

With so much excitement focused on headliners OutKast, Muse, and Arcade Fire, don’t miss seeing some of the lesser-hyped acts like Chvrches, Little Dragon, Bombay Bicycle Club, Cage the Elephant, and Poolside.

 

Plan Ahead

Essentials:

Empire Polo Grounds, 81800 Ave. 51, Indio. www.coachella.com

Venue gates open at 11 a.m. each day; the festival usually ends around 12:30 a.m.

Don’t forget:

  • Wristband (your ticket for the weekend)
  • Sunblock
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Lip balm with SPF
  • Portable phone charger
  • Ibuprofen
  • Sanitizing wipes

Before you go:

  • Write down and carry your friends’ phone numbers in case you lose your phone.
  • Bring cash, as the ATM fees are very high.

Getting there:

  • Uber rides: Charge your phone and cool down in the Uber Lounge while waiting for your Uber to arrive. Located next to the taxi stand at the corner of Ave. 49 and Monroe St.
  • Local taxis: Cabs are not permitted to stop near the venue to pick up riders. Pickup/dropoff is at the taxi stand in Lot 1D near the corner of Ave. 49 and Monroe St. American Cab: 760-322-4444; Yellow Cab of the Desert, 760-340-8294; Desert City Cab: 760-328-3000.
  • Biking: Festivalgoers can lock bikes on the entry/exit chain-link fences.
  • Any Line, Anytime Shuttle: Purchase a shuttle pass and catch rides to and from the polo fields all weekend. Service begins at 11 a.m. and runs 60 minutes after the music ends. Service from shuttle pickups to the venue ends at 8 p.m. www.coachella.com/festival-passes ($60 each).

When you get there:

  • Set up a meeting point with your group in case anyone gets lost.
  • Cell service can be dicey; time-stamp your text messages (i.e., “Meet me at the Do LaB in five minutes 7:38 p.m.”) so your friends know when they read your text if it is timely or not.
  • Stay hydrated.

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