Thursday, April 15, 2010

Coachella Tips

Going to Coachella this year? I'm not. Ever since they booked Jack Johnson, the wife and I have wiped our hands clean of the event. Before that we loved it. We'd rent a house in Palm Springs, share it with friends from the Bay Area, SoCal, the East was a reunion including fun around the pool, grilling outdoors, plus a grand musical extravaganza. But, alas, they blew it for us. Here are some photos I took during our final Coachella:

A few tips I compiled for a friend who is going for the first time this year:
  1. First thing to do is check the Coachella FAQ at to see what you can and cannot bring onto the grounds -- trust me, you will not want to have to find your way back to your car after navigating to the gate. It's a hike.
  2. Make sure your tickets are for the right day (OK, I admit it, I made this bone-headed mistake once).
  3. Bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat. It's the desert and it's hot and sunny and there's not a whole helluva lot of shade, especially if you are at the outdoor stages most of the day. One Sunday a few years ago temps reached 107 degrees F. Srlsy.
  4. Bring sweatshirts/layers -- even though it will be hot, and you won't want to carry much around with you, once the sun goes down it will get chilly, and you will feel it after being in the sun all day. 30 degree day-to-night temperature drops are not uncommon.
  5. Make a schedule -- understand that there's overlap and you likely won't get to see every act you want to see, so make sure you get to the stages of the bands you really want to see 15 or more minutes before their set times so you can get a decent view.
  6. Plan to get to the venue well ahead of the first set you want to see. If you are driving (as opposed to biking or cabbing), understand that the roads in Indio get jammed up for this event. One year it took us 3 hours to go 20 miles (from Palm Springs), most of that time was the final 2 miles. That was the exception, not the rule, but something to be aware of. Once you park it will be another 20 minutes to walk to the gate, then however long you have to wait in line, so build that hidden additional time into your plans.
  7. As soon as you park, MARK THE LOCATION IN YOUR iPHONE. If you or someone you are going with does not have an iPhone or another phone with GPS, get one. Srlsly. The parking lots are really dusty and if the wind kicks up it makes it really hard to find your car. Even sober.
  8. If you have extra batteries for your phone or camera, charge them up and bring them along. Long days, few outlets. I used a Mophie Juice Pack Air rechargeable battery/case for my iPhone last month at SXSW and it came in very handy.
  9. Don't drink alcohol until the sun goes down-- you will be tired enough after hours and hours in the heat, plus all of the walking around the grounds. Hydrate yourself during the day.
  10. Wear the most comfortable shoes you own that will also provide some measure of protection when you get stepped on by someone's steel-toed boots. "Gellin'" is not just for the awkward yuppie meatheads in the TV commercials.
  11. Pace yourself, especially if you are attending all 3 days of music.
  12. Bring cash for food, water, merch, brownies...
  13. If you are going with a group don't be afraid to split up, but make sure there are designated meet-up times and places. Once it gets dark it can be awfully hard to locate people. Don't count on cell phones working well. Besides poor reception, many a battery will be dead by nightfall.
  14. If you are not dying to see one of the headliners, getting out of Dodge before the big crowds leave can get you home a lot faster than waiting until the end.
I hope these tips come in handy, and that you have a great time. If you have any other tips, please leave a comment. Oh, and if you see Jack Johnson, ask him what he was doing headlining an "alternative" music festival and what his songs are doing on "alternative" rock radio playlists. Thanks!

1 comment:

jac said...