10 Coachella Tips for What To Expect During Your Festival Experience

If you’re preparing to attend Coachella for the first time, or just the first time in a while, there’s plenty to keep in mind to make sure it’s the experience of a lifetime. Spending three full days appreciating the world’s most talented artists is no easy feat! This internationally renowned event gets a lot of buzz as the festival of the year. So let’s get down to the nitty gritty of Coachella tips for what you should really expect during the unforgettable experience.

1. Coachella Fashion

Don't stress about what to bring for Coachella fashion
Chris Nguyen

One of the hottest topics surrounding Coachella is the fashion–tassels, crochet, wide-brim hats and bohemian vibes seem to overrun the desert according to the internet. However, once you’re actually at the festival, you’ll notice that most attendees dress pretty casual! You’ll see plenty of jeans, t-shirts and Converse sneakers throughout the weekend. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to come up with the perfect outfit, because only about 1/3 of attendees really go all out with their look. And there’s no reason to wear something cute and uncomfortable for the ‘gram if it’s going to bother you throughout the day. If you feel like showing up in an everyday outfit, you absolutely won’t be alone.

2. Parking

Unfortunately, it seems Coachella parking gets more and more unorganized each year. Once you get to the actual grounds, you should expect to be sitting in parking-related traffic for 1-2 hours, depending on the time you get there. Yes, you read that right. You’ll sit in a line of cars waiting to get in and eventually circle the entire grounds until finally being directed to an open lot. One of the best Coachella tips is to keep this in mind when booking your hotel, the closer the better for a reasonable commute. But don’t expect that a hotel 10 minutes away means you can leave 10 minutes before your favorite band starts or you will definitely be disappointed.

Coachella tips for big crowds involve taking some time alone
Wendy Wei

3. Crowds

Coachella’s max capacity has grown through the years and as of 2022, allows for 125,000 people each day. Between both weekends, 750,000 people will attend Coachella making it one of the biggest music festivals in the US. It’s a truly mind-boggling number and being in the mix of the crowd can be overwhelming. You’re surrounded by people all day long and you’ll never see the same person twice. (It’s also nearly impossible to spot a celebrity unless you plan to stare deeply into the eyes of every person you pass.) Even just leaving a stage in the middle of a set may take a full 10 minutes of bobbing and weaving through the crowd. Don’t forget to take some time to decompress throughout the day to clear your head. Find a Coachella “every one” tent if you’re feeling like you need some support. Social anxieties can rear their ugly heads in situations like these and your mental health should be a prime focus.

4. Walking

If you haven’t already heard, you’re going to do a lot of walking during Coachella. You’ll walk from your car to the entrance, from the entrance to the stage, from the stage to the beer garden, from the beer garden to the bathroom, and so on and so forth. With the Empire Polo Club totaling 78 acres, you can expect to blow past your fitness goals and reach around 30,000-40,000 steps per day! The most important thing you can do for yourself is wear the right shoes. Don’t buy a new pair that’ll undoubtedly give you blisters while you break them in. Pull out the old, trustworthy, worn in sneakers that you can always count on. Who cares if they don’t perfectly match your outfit? If your feet hurt for eight hours straight, your entire experience will be ruined. Comfort is key!

Coachella tips include wearing comfortable shoes for walking
Brandon Hoogenboom

5. Hot & Cold Weather

Coachella takes place in Indio, California, located in the Coachella Valley desert. In April, temperatures can reach up to 87°F. You’ll want to choose an outfit that won’t leave you dripping with sweat during the day. At night however, lows of 60°F mixed with a desert breeze might have you shivering in those distressed shorts. So how to dress for this problem? First of all, keep in mind when you’ll be arriving each day. If the first artist you want to see doesn’t go on until 5pm, dress more for nighttime as the sun will go down soon after you arrive. One of the biggest recent Coachella tips has been to use mylar emergency blankets, a futuristic-looking warmth trend. Bringing a denim jacket or light sweater to tie around your waist is also an option. It may slightly cramp your aesthetic, but don’t underestimate the power of a desert chill and end up losing your voice the next morning!

6. Being Alone

On Instagram you might see plenty of friends posing in front of Coachella’s iconic Ferris Wheel. But what you won’t see are each of those people enjoying the festival alone at some point during the weekend. While you and your friends might have plenty of overlapping musical tastes, there’s bound to be an artist you’ll want to see that your friends don’t care for. Instead of skipping the performance, venture out on your own to enjoy the incredibly talented lineup of acts. Discuss a plan with your friends beforehand to meet at a specific place and time after the set is over. Phone and wifi service is spotty, so the clock is more reliable than a text. Hold each other to being reliable and sticking to meet-up times so that everyone can have fun both alone and together.

Woman standing in front of Ferris Wheel at music festival
Daniel Xavier

7. Expensive Food & Drinks

One thing you’ll just have to expect at Coachella is overpriced food and drinks. You’ll be shelling out cash for $12 slices of pizza, $15 beer, and $17 carne asada fries–yikes. Try to keep this expense in mind and work it into your Coachella budget from the start. There’s absolutely no way to get around it because they don’t allow you to bring in outside food. While some food vendors cost more than others, everything is supremely expensive for what you get. Try not to focus too much on each individual $1.50 bite of pizza… oof.

8. Friendly People

Enjoy the Coachella lineup with friends or alone
Wendy Wei

From the outside, it may seem like Coachella is filled with tight cliques of influencers and music snobs, but that’s actually not the case! A lot of people are super friendly and approachable. Don’t feel shy asking someone to take your photo or making small talk as you wait for a performance to start. A majority of people are there to do the same thing you are–take in some live music by their favorite artists and have fun while doing it. Most people are super nice and you’ll probably have a lot in common since you both have the same interests. Don’t be afraid to make a new friend!

9. Dehydration

One of the most important Coachella tips to remember is to stay hydrated. Being in the dryness of the desert for three days is enough to throw off your body, not to mention the marathon-like physical activity of walking for miles and miles each day. You’ll want to drink water throughout the day even when you think you’re not thirsty. Free water refill stations are located throughout the grounds so that you can fill up whenever you need to (though lines can get long). If you’re narrowing down what to bring to Coachella, Hydration backpacks are popular if you don’t mind the look, or you can bring a plastic flask to tuck into your bag. Luckily, bottles of water are reasonably priced at $2 each if you’d prefer to just buy them.

10. Cough-chella

The desert dust is one of the biggest downsides to attending Coachella, as unpredictable winds can drum up dust storms in an instant. Any festival veteran knows that bringing a bandana or face mask is one of the more essential Coachella tips to avoid breathing in too much dust. Things especially get bad walking to your car at night, with thousands stomping through the dirt on the long walk to the parking lots. Face masks are easy to find so plan ahead and bring an N95. While they aren’t required for pandemic reasons, they’re a lifesaver in helping to prevent the dreaded “cough-chella” that occurs for about a week after the festival is over. Coughing, sneezing, and runny nose are common symptoms of your body trying to deal with the amount of dirt you inhaled during your unforgettable weekend. Even with masks, there’s still a chance you’ll be a little sick after the dust has settled. Plan for a few recovery days on Monday and Tuesday just to be safe.

Revolve Festival H Wood Coachella party 2022
Maya Irons

Bonus: The Parties

There are a variety of parties that happen during weekend one like Revolve Festival, Neon Carnival, and the Bootsy Bellows party. You’ll probably see all of your favorite influencers posting about the exclusive, invite only events. If you’re feeling extra FOMO by not being able to attend yourself, don’t worry too much. Going to both the festival and the parties is a challenge, as many parties happen at the same time as your favorite festival performances. It’s also physically demanding to attend a party at 1pm, go to the festival at 5pm, and then another party at midnight that goes until 4am. You may be better off getting a full night’s rest than forcing your body to do more than it needs to! If you’re still aching to experience the party life, there are plenty of brands like The Do-Over, Rolling Stone, and Pandora who host open events where only an RSVP is required. All in all, you won’t be missing out on much with your festival wristband giving you access to dozens of amazing acts and experiences.

Do you have any essential Coachella tips to share? Leave a comment with your Coachella Festival experiences and don’t forget to pin us on Pinterest.

Coachella 2022 sunset and Ferris Wheel
Maya Irons

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