Looking for the most important Coachella tips for your upcoming trip? Here’s all the Coachella advice you’ll need to make your Coachella the best one yet.
Coachella is one of the friendliest festivals I’ve ever been to, but it was also the one that needed the most preparation. As my first American festival, even the drinks culture was different (read on to find out how) and the fact we could go on a road trip through California beforehand made it pretty damn cool.
Anyone who’s going needs all the Coachella tips and advice they can find, especially if it’s your first time, and even more so if you’re a Brit heading over the pond.
I had a great time at Coachella Festival, and here are 27 Coachella tips you need, to make sure it’s as fun for you too.
27 Coachella Festival Tips
1. What is Coachella Festival?
“The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (commonly referred to as Coachella or the Coachella Festival) is an annual music and arts festival held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, located in the Inland Empire’s Coachella Valley in the Colorado Desert. It was co-founded by Paul Tollett and Rick Van Santen in 1999, and is organized by Goldenvoice, a subsidiary of AEG Live. The event features musical artists from many genres of music, including rock, indie, hip hop, and electronic dance music, as well as art installations and sculptures. Across the grounds, several stages continuously host live music.” – Wikipedia
2. Where is Coachella Festival?
Coachella Festival is held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, located in the Inland Empire’s Coachella Valley in the Colorado Desert.
Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
Empire Polo Club 81-800 Avenue 51,
Indio, CA 92201
3. What are the Coachella 2024 dates?
Coachella 2024 will be held on the weekends of April 12-14 and April 19-21. It’s one of the biggest festivals in April worldwide.
4. How do I get Coachella tickets?
The cost of a Coachella 2024 ticket is $499. You need to be signed up well in advance to get a Coachella ticket, and then be on the ball in the January before to make sure you pay for one. Unfortunately you’ve missed your chance for Coachella 2024 now, but there’s always Coachella 2025 to prepare for!
You can find out more about getting a Coachella ticket here. Keep in mind that you’ll also need to buy a camping car pass for $149 for Coachella 2024 if you’re driving too.
5. How can I do a road trip to Coachella?
Doing a road trip to Coachella is awesome. Well, if you’ve gone all that way you might as well make the most of it right? We flew in to San Francisco, travelled down the Pacific Coast Highway to LA, and then across to the festival.
6. Wander by yourself – make some friends
People are so friendly at Coachella. Never been high fived so much in my life. It’s the perfect opportunity to make best friends for the night. I made loads!
7. When do I get my Coachella wrist band?
Your Coachella wristband will be sent in the post a few weeks before. The Coachella wristband box is excitement in itself with guides to the festival and an elaborate design. It was so cool in fact, I felt the need to write a whole post about the Coachella wrist band box that first time I went.
8. Is there free water at Coachella?
You should already be drinking 8 glasses of water a day, plus the fact you’ll be exercising a lot more by walking around, plus the fact you’re in a desert, plus the fact you’ll be drinking.
You need to drink as much water as possible at Coachella.
There are free water fountains, you’ll just need to find them…
If you’re camping at Coachella, it’s the perfect opportunity to bring in a good few litres of water with you.
9. Where can I find the Coachella schedule?
You can see the line up for Coachella here, but the actual set times etc aren’t released yet. They will be a few weeks before the actual festival.
10. Put your phone down
Guaranteed your video will be rubbish anyways. It’s also distracting for others – you might as well watch it on YouTube if you wanna watch on a screen. Why not step away from the screen and be with your friends – live in the moment, keep it safe in your pocket / bag, with your mate’s phone number as the screensaver.
More tips on how not to lose your phone at festivals here.
11. Is there a Coachella live stream?
Yes! There is a Coachella Live Stream, and I’ll be watching that rather than going to the festival this year. So far there are 72 confirmed artists, and an always-on 3D-180 & VR live stream on the Coachella YouTube channel.
12. What should I wear for Coachella?
Oh gawd, the question a million websites and magazines are trying to answer right now. Every year Coachella fashion is a huge issue, with some saying it makes the festival, and others that it ruins it.
Either way, for a lot of people the Coachella fashion is one of the highlights of the whole thing. Crochet is ‘typically Coachella’ but if you’re looking for inspiration just take a look at Vanessa Hudgens at Coachella, or any of the other celebs that ensure Coachella is ‘front page news’.
I’d recommend you take as little as possible into the main grounds with you – festival backpacks can be annoying for you, and others. Go for a festival bumbag instead. Oh, it’s America – fanny packs!
READ MORE: The Festival Accessories You NEED This Year
13. Are there lockers at Coachella?
There are a few different sizes to choose from and you can share with your friends. Make sure to go for the combination lock option so it’s easier to share and you’re not waiting around for the key. Book in advance as they do sell out.
Also, you can use the changing area and bring a pair of jeans for the evening – it gets cold in the desert at night!
14. Take time to relax, get a cocktail and people watch
Top Coachella tip: make sure to take some time out and relax. You need to watch this spectacle going on in front of you, as well as be part of you. It’s honestly incredible.
15. When should I arrive at Coachella?
Thursday. We got through the car camping security line pretty quickly but the guys in front of us were having their car pulled apart – they did look like they’d already started on their ‘supplies’ though, to be fair.
16. Is there a Coachella map?
Here is the map for Coachella last year, expect the latest Coachella map to come out soon. I’d recommend printing it off and pocketing it before you go. That way you might have a clue where you’re going!
17. Where do I find the celebrities at Coachella?
If you get to the acts you want to see early, then look for the VIP pit – they’ll be in there. Also, they’re just walking around, mingling with us commoners. You just need to be clued up and open eyed enough to spot them. Coachella is a total celeb fest, but you need to keep looking around and seeking them out!
18. What are the Coachella food options?
There’s a whole bunch of food options at Coachella, from health drinks to dirty burgers. You can take a look at the Coachella food options for this year here.
19. Tell me about drinking at Coachella…
Drinking at Coachella is great, if you’re over 21. You have to get another wristband at Coachella, that reveals whether you’re old enough to drink. Every day the colour changes and you need to go and queue up for another one.
I was 27 when I went so no worries, but from the looks of all the searching and from being checked at every bar there was no chance of getting booze in to the festival if you’re under 21.
20. Coachella is a marathon, not a sprint
Don’t go crazy on the first day, you’ve got a whole festival to get through!
21. Advice for your first time at Coachella
– Make sure you turn up well in time for any act you really want to see. Coachella gets pretty hectic, especially as the night / weekend goes on, get a good spot as you’re only going to get pushed further back.
– Be calm and patient with others, it’ll be a lot of people’s first festival ever.
– Texting / messaging can be tricky with so many people in a field. If you do text, text something affirmative like ‘Meet at the fairground wheel at 7pm. I’ll wait till 7:30pm and I’m off to see Beyonce’ etc. If you just text ‘Where are you?’ or ‘See you in 20 mins’ then by the time they receive it, it probably doesn’t mean anything any more.
– If you wear contact lenses, or just have dry eyes, bring dry eyes solution. That desert dust is a killer.
READ MORE: Loads of Tips and Advice for Your First Time at Coachella
22. Drugs at Coachella?
You will get searched more intensively than any festival I’ve been to. The year I went they made you pull out your bra and shorts to show there was nothing in your waistbands, and searched the bag every time. Despite that, there were loads of mashed up people.
As a Brit, it was obvious to see that there were a lot more drugs at Coachella, than the boozy culture of British festivals.
23. Is there a Coachella playlist?
Yes, just search ‘Coachella’ on Spotify and you’ll find the latest playlist.
It’s a good idea to listen to all the acts on the line up before any festivals, and to make your own Spotify playlists of who you want to see. Obviously the big headliners are one of the main draws to Coachella, especially with the surprise celebrity guests, but check out some of the newer smaller bands too.
24. Wear sunscreen, take after sun, stay in the shade
Coachella Festival is absolutely scorching. In the day the highest recorded heat reached was 50C. There are barely any trees for shade and the sun is relentless from about 9am to 6 at night. You need to be ready to deal with the heat at Coachella, or it will deal with you.
Have a cold shower every morning, hang out in the shaded tents and drink as many ice cold smoothies as you can. Also, get a tarpaulin for your campsite.
Our next-door neighbour gave us one to cover the space from the gazebo to the car, giving just enough space for two of us under there, and the cool box. The other two of our group of four could find solace in the shade from all the other gazebos all around us. You need as much sun protection as you can fit in your car, you can never have too much.
25. Buy ice at Coachella
The ice man comes around the campsite with huge bags of it for $10 a pop. Make sure you keep stocked up on this and when it comes to carrying it back I liked to carry it on my head to give me that extra cooling factor.
Suck on ice, put it in all your drinks, buy some to put your feet on and of course to keep your cool box as cold as possible too.
26. What do I bring to Coachella?
I have whole post on what you need to bring to Coachella, have a read through that.
Generally you’ll see it’s similar to other festivals, but you just need to be ready for the extreme heat in the day and the surprising cold at night.
Make sure you bring a hat and some sort of dust mask for the sand storms (I was still coughing it up a week later) and don’t bring anything you’re not prepared to lose or have ruined. Also, good comfy shoes are a definite necessity. And bring baby wipes into the grounds for the toilets – those toilets get real feral, real quick.
27. Don’t get drunk
Just as a warning, you get spotted drunk or otherwise intoxicated at Coachella, and you will be chucked out. They try to keep it classy here, and with the whole alcohol age limit thing, they have to be stricter.
If you or any of your friends have taken it a bit far, don’t let the security guards see you! They’re everywhere!
28. Don’t expect to look fabulous
Big brands come and sponsor tents and in the day you kinda hang around waiting for it all to cool down. Some people camp (like me) while others stay in nearby hotels in Palm Springs and just come in to look fabulous.
If you’re doing Coachella properly, like I’d say my friends and I did, then you will not look like those celebs and Instagrammers do at Glastonbury. It’s far, far too hot for that.
28. Just chill
Coachella is the most chilled festival I’ve ever been to, so go with it and just chill out while you’re there. There’s no reason to run around between stages desperately trying to see everyone – just pick a few acts and be happy with them and make some friends with all the other cool and chilled out people around you.
29. Print the schedule out
Obviously you’ll add the Coachella app to your phone, but it can help to print out a few copies so you’re not just wasting your phone battery looking up who to see next.
30. Get a tarpaulin for your campsite
Our next-door neighbour gave us one to cover the space from the gazebo to the car, giving just enough space for two of us under there, and the cool box.
The other two of our group of four could find solace in the shade from all the other gazebos all around us. You need as much sun protection as you can fit in your car, you can never have too much.
31. Drink ice-cold smoothies
The arena doesn’t actually open until 11am but you’ll find a few stalls selling ice cold smoothies in the campsite. Unfortunately you’ll also find the rest of the campsite in the queues too so be prepared to wait. I strongly recommend you get one of these every day – I swear the vitamins and ice cold liquid saved my life.
32. Hang out in the covered tents
Any acts playing the main stage during the day have got it bad. It’s just too hot to stand and watch them. If you stick to the five or six other tents that are covered you’ll find that any breeze naturally drafts through.
I was so excited to see Blood Orange last year, who was playing on an outdoor stage, that I forwent the rest of the Rudimental set in a tent.
As I stood watching him with the sun scorching my face off I was full of regret.
33. Have a cold shower every morning
One of the many best things about Coachella was the fact they had plenty of showers so everyone could use them every day, and were actively encouraged to. The longest I waited was about five minutes, in the hot sun.
Once I got in there I stripped off as soon as possible and turned the tap to freezing, just to remember what it felt like to be cold.
Top Coachella tips
Your Coachella experience requires careful planning, which is where all my Coachella advice comes in. My posts will help you secure tickets, pack for Coachella, and find the best things to do at Coachella too.
Coachella is not just a music festival; it’s a cultural phenomenon, and with these tips, you’ll have one of the best experiences ever!