Coachella-music

Music Festival Tips From Coachella and Stagecoach Performers

As they amp up for Coachella and Stagecoach, 10 festival acts reveal why they love these epic weekends, whose sets they’re excited to see, and what advice they have for attendees.

Emily Chavous Arts & Entertainment, Current Guide

Coachella-music
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY GOLDENVOICE

“At the end of the day, we’re fans of music, so we get to actually go and be fans. The last time we were at Stagecoach, literally, we finished our set and I grabbed a beer and went and watched all the other acts.”
— Brandon Lancaster, LANCO
Click to listen to the complete "Music Palooza" playlist and add it to your Spotify favorites!

ABBY ANDERSON

Stagecoach
Sunday, April 28
On Our Playlist: “Good Lord”

EARLY INFLUENCES: When you grow up in a musical family — all passionate about country, and everybody sings in church — it’s hard to get away from country music. Literally every Thanksgiving, we go out to East Texas to Granny Jo and Pe-Paw’s house, and we set up the back porch with speakers and put on a little concert between [bites of] sweet potato casserole.

YOUR SOUND IS: Joyful, soulful, and heartfelt.

MUST-SEE STAGECOACH SET: Rachel Wammack.

PRESHOW RITUAL: My band and I get in a circle, say a prayer, and then we clap our hands and say, “Amen!” seven times. We do a little, “Woo-woo!” thing and go out there and have a good time.

AbbyAnderson

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY BLACK RIVER ENTERTAINMENT

FESTIVAL ADVICE: Don’t wear flip-flops. Have a fanny pack. Be ready to lose your voice.

MUST-HAVE: Apple cider vinegar. I take a little swig of that before I go onstage. It helps me feel energized and cleans out all the crap I have to eat when I’m traveling.

THE DESERT IS: Beautiful. There’s so much beauty in plainness, in simplicity. And I don’t think there’s anything more simple than a whole bunch of dirt.


Sofi Tukker’s
TUCKER HALPERN

Coachella
Sunday, April 14 & 21
On Our Playlist: “Mi Rumba”

ATTENDING BROWN UNIVERSITY: Opened me up to so many different ways of being and to different music. All the people I met there from all over the world opened my eyes because I hadn’t traveled much.

BEST THING ABOUT COACHELLA: The art and the people-watching. It’s a fun place to walk around.

COACHELLA MEMORY: Royksopp was such an epic performance in the Sahara tent.

FESTIVAL ADVICE: Water and sunscreen.

MUST-HAVE: The Theragun for my muscles.

YOUR SOUND IS: Fun.

FESTIVAL STYLE: Colorful, comfortable, athletic, extra.

THE DESERT IS: Sexy.

A GREAT PERFORMANCE ALWAYS INCLUDES: Humping.

CREATIVE PHILOSOPHY: Make what you want to hear.

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PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY PUNKDAFUNK


Lanco’s
BRANDON LANCASTER

Stagecoach
Saturday, April 27
On Our Playlist: “Greatest Love Story”

ON LIFE IN A BAND: We get to go through it together. Last night in Birmingham we walked out to a sold-out arena, and it’s like, “Man, remember when we played and there were 17 people there, in the same city?” You can relive those memories and celebrate how far you’ve come with each other.

STAGECOACH MEMORY: I’d heard about it my whole life. I was a broke musician living in Nashville, and just couldn’t ever make my way out there. So the first time, to be a part of it — playing it — was surreal.

THE DESERT IS: Very different from Tennessee. Like being on Mars.

FESTIVAL ADVICE: Figure out who you want to see, what stage they play at and when they play, then get there early and get a good spot.

brandonlancaster

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY THE GREENROOM

WHILE ON TOUR: We love finding those magical, hole-in-the-wall places only that city has to offer, finding the heart of the city, and being a part of the city for the day so we feel even more connected to it when we play.

CREATIVE PHILOSOPHY: Be authentic, always.

MUSIC IS: The best friend. The dream you’ve always wanted. Whatever you need, music can be there for you.


DANIELLE BRADBERY

Stagecoach
Sunday, April 28
On Our Playlist: “Worth It”

STAGECOACH PLANS: I’m getting with a [set-design/production] company to build my show for the first time. I haven’t been able to do that before, and having help is a big deal ’cause I have so many ideas. We have a lot of fun stuff in the works.

YOUR SOUND IS: Vulnerable yet fun.

STAGECOACH MEMORY: Seeing all the other artists. A lot of them are really good friends, and we all hung out and watched each other’s show. And I remember getting onstage and seeing how big of a crowd that was. It was such an adrenaline rush!

FESTIVAL ADVICE: Explore the venue and see what it’s all about. Try all the cool food.

MUST-SEE STAGECOACH SET: Lauren Alaina.

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PHOTOGRAPH BY CAMERON POWELL

MUST-HAVE: A big speaker, ’cause I really love jammin’ to music before or after a show. I always make my band jam out to the stuff I listen to, whether they listen to it or not.

THE DESERT IS: Dusty. It is very much part of the experience, so it’s fun no matter what.


PATRICE BÄUMEL

Coachella
Sunday, April 14 & 21
On Our Playlist: “La Esperanza (Patrice Bäumel Remix)” by Claptone

YOUR SOUND IS: Fluid, diverse, and dynamic.

ON LIFE IN AMSTERDAM: Living in one of the most multicultural and happy cities in the world has made me more open, more tolerant, and more curious. It is a positive environment that has nourished my creativity and given me the confidence to live the artist life.

CREATIVE PHILOSOPHY: Look forward.

BEST THING ABOUT FESTIVALS: The energy of a big crowd.

BEST THING ABOUT COACHELLA: The beautiful sunlight of the desert and seeing my many Californian friends.

patricebaumel

PHOTOGRAPH BY RAMONA DECKERS

MUST-SEE COACHELLA SET: Aphex Twin.

A GREAT PERFORMANCE ALWAYS INCLUDES: Extreme outbursts of emotion.

MUST-HAVE: Noise-canceling headphones.

MUSIC IS: A language we all understand.

HOW YOU UNWIND: Walk my dog.

FESTIVAL ADVICE: Go big or go home.


COLE SWINDELL

Stagecoach
Friday, April 26
On Our Playlist: “Dad’s Old Number”

ON SONGWRITING: It’s the way my career started — all I lived for was writing a song every day, coming up with that line with your buddies that you’re like, “God, I can’t wait for people to hear that.”

STAGECOACH MEMORY: I’d heard about it for years, even before I got my record deal. You hear of the crowds — to play in front of that many people in one night, one setting, it’s just … [speechless].

PRESHOW RITUAL: We do a toast, take a quick shot, and go do what we love to do. We always say, “Win the night!” on three, because it’s our chance to win over people who have never seen us.

FESTIVAL ADVICE: You capture a lot of moments on your phone, and I do the same thing. When you see people you love, you want to have those memories. But try to live in the moment. Take pictures but also have fun and enjoy.

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PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY SCHMIDT RELATIONS

CREATIVE PHILOSOPHY: I think you’ve just gotta live, and that’s it for me.


HEIDI LAWDEN

Coachella
Saturday, April 13 & 20
On Our Playlist: “Next to You (ft. Heidi Lawden)” by Locussolus / DJ Harvey

YOUR SOUND IS: Genreless.

INFLUENCE: I had a lot of California band heroes, like Fleetwood Mac and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. But I was a child of the rave and influenced by the house movement in the U.K.

SECOND HOME: I fell in love with the desert before I even moved to California. I have a tiny cabin in Joshua Tree. As often as I can, I like to be out there.

DETOUR: I intend to take my family up to the top of the tram this year. I did it the first time I came to Palm Springs, and I felt like I was in a Bond film.

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PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY HEIDI LAWDEN

COACHELLA MEMORY: Walking into the Yuma tent with the air conditioning and the dance floor was a big “wow” moment. If all the festivals in the world could re-create this, we’d really have something.

MUST-SEE COACHELLA SET: Christine and the Queens.

PRESHOW RITUAL: I go into a big music wormhole. As soon as I confirmed Coachella, my brain started to go, That would be a really good track for Coachella, that would be a really good track for Coachella.

MUSIC IS: Essential for life.


TYLER RICH

Stagecoach
Friday, April 26
On Our Playlist: “The Difference”

STAGECOACH PLANS: I’m so used to Coachella and the surprises and people going all-out to make their performance memorable for the whole year. To me, Stagecoach is just Coachella Weekend 3. We’re trying to think outside the box.

YOUR FIANCÉE, SABINA GADECKI: We met at Stagecoach. I was watching Dustin Lynch from the side of the Mane Stage — I had just gotten off tour with him. I looked out into the pit and saw her down there, so we conveniently placed ourselves right in front of her, and I turned around and introduced myself. Our first date was about two weeks later, and we’ve been together ever since.

MUSIC: Brings people together.

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PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY JOHN SHEARER

PRESHOW RITUAL: Long, extensive warmups. Then, the guys and I take a shot of whiskey and get each other pumped up.

MUST-SEE STAGECOACH SET: Lynyrd Skynyrd.

FESTIVAL ADVICE: Don’t fight each other — fights ruin everything. Get there early, discover new music, figure out who’s playing ahead of time. Create playlists of artists you’ve never heard before. Learn their music. Go and watch them live. That’s how I’ve found some of my favorite bands.


TOMASA DEL REAL

Coachella
Friday, April 12 & 19
On Our Playlist: “Contigo”

COACHELLA IS: One of the most important stages in the world. People will realize that these artists, not only me but lots of us, make incredible music. We represent other people, we are from all over the world, and we speak differently. Finally, there’s a valid space for us to be introduced.

COACHELLA PLANS: I’m going to do my main show, and many artists will be featuring me. There will be surprises onstage. It will be epic!

YOUR SOUND IS: Rhythm and inspiration. A reflection of what I’ve listened to and what I love — reggaeton, perreo, dembow, or happy music.

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PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY INDUSTRIA WORKS

PRESHOW RITUAL: I try to have everything organized well in advance to avoid any last-minute surprises. I always drink a beer or michelada with lemon and salt.

MUST-HAVE: My cellphone, the charger, and my credit cards.

MUST-SEE COACHELLA SET: Bad Bunny. J Balvin. What excites me most is being able to be backstage because of all the artists that will be there.

CREATIVE PHILOSOPHY: I’m not afraid of changing and seeing what happens, having fun with my life. Your life is the most fun thing you can play with, why would you put it in a box and label it?

Interviewed by Nalani Hernandez-Melo and translated from Tomasa’s native Spanish


WHITEY MORGAN

Stagecoach
Sunday, April 28
On Our Playlist: “What Am I Supposed to Do”

YOUR SOUND IS: Classic yet aggressive.

STAGECOACH MEMORY: Hanging out backstage was an amazing thing that doesn’t really happen, ever, in music right now — to [gather] that many artists of the same level. It was amazing to sit back there. Billy Jo Shaver walks up and says, “Hey, what’s going on, guys? Sounded good out there.”

OFFSTAGE: I cook a lot of barbecue.

FESTIVAL ADVICE: Do your research and find out where everybody’s playing, because it’s a pretty large area and you could easily miss your favorite band if you’re not paying attention. I’m already looking at the schedule like, “All right, who’s playing on what stage what day?” ’Cause there’s definitely some stuff that I need to see. Drink a lot of water and don’t get too drunk. Dehydration will get you quick when you’re drinking nothing but whiskey.

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PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY SACKS & CO.

THE DESERT IS: I’ve always felt like the desert could be a very dark place, even when the sun is shining. It’s a place where not a lot of things grow and not a lot of things flourish, but the things that do really flourish. That’s the beauty of it.