Your Coachella Survival Guide


After attending Coachella 11 years strong, I have finally made a checklist of necessary items for survival. When I first started attending, Coachella was only two days long and one weekend. The wristbands were paper, definitely didn’t scan and I am pretty sure 115,000 people didn’t attend. After going both weekends, I have realized these few items are definitely crucial for having the best experience possible.

Bandana – Weekend 1 that polo field is still pretty green but by weekend 2, the dust level is close to that of Burning Man, especially if the wind kicks up. To avoid mud pies in you lungs, black boogers and eating sand, I definitely recommend something to cover your face while walking from stage to stage.

Eye Drops – This isn’t Burning Man and your steampunk goggles don’t go with fringy festival fashion, so especially if you wear contacts, bring something to cleanse your eyes.

Dollar Dollar Bills Ya’ll – For the most part, vendors take credit card, but it is always good to have cash. The nice thing about this festival is that they aren’t charging you $8 a pop for a water bottle, only $2. I think that is pretty fair, but make sure you bring quite a bit of cash, that desert sun will get you if you don’t keep hydrated and you want to make it to see the last act without passing out. You should be drinking a bottle of water before you even remember you are thirsty, especially if you are drinking or doing bath salts or whatever you crazy kids are doing these days.

Food – The food vendors at Coachella are far superior to most concerts, venues and festivals, and I have been to quite a few. Most people will agree that having a fresh pressed juice stand doesn’t come standard at most we attend. Because Coachella is so big, you are probably walking AT LEAST 5 to 6 miles a day, so you need your energy. Although it can be pricey, don’t skimp here. If you are properly fueled every day, you won’t feel so much wear and exhaustion before the weekend is over, you may even make it to an after-party on Sunday night.

Earplugs – The sound here is incredible. Protect those ears so you can be going to Coachella and still able to be hearing the music when you are 75 years old.

A good bag, purse or backpack – This is crucial to keep all of our items in. You don’t want to have a bunch of stuff in your arms while you are trying to dance to your favorite band… Do you?

Jacket or something warm – It seems crazy to walk out the door with a jacket while the temperature is getting close to 100 degrees, but when that sun goes down you certainly are going to want something to cover it up with. Don’t be that awkward person with your arms crossed.

Sunscreen – Don’t ruin the rest of your weekend because on Friday you forgot to cover your skin with sunscreen. The sun if fierce in the desert! It will destroy that porcelain skin of yours. Another plus to sunscreen is that it will moisturize your skin in this extra dry climate.

Any sun protection, any at all. – Sunglasses, hat, towel.., Seriously, anything.

Comfortable shoes- Very obvious item on this checklist, if you need this explained to you, maybe sit this festival out.

Battery Pack – Yes, there are tons of charging stations, which are great if you are stopping for a bite to eat or just take a break for the love of your feet, however phones never die when it is convenient, so a Mophie case or portable battery pack is crucial. You don’t want to miss the perfect lighting at sundown for a photo with the rainbow art installation or heaven forbid your chance to get a selfie with Paris Hilton.

Friends – Festivals can definitely test friendships. Don’t go with a group of people that can’t get split up, that is part of the fun! I can definitely say that I have gotten lost and wandered off on my own at many a festival. And on the other hand, make sure that you are with people that are not stubborn and will go where you want and vise versa. No matter what, you probably can’t see every act you want to, there is just so much here! I go both weekends and I haven’t successfully seen everyone I am interested in or even all the art… I commend you if you have.

We hope this helps.. Can you think of anything we missed? Make sure you stay tuned on the Culture Vulture blog for more festival survival guides to your favorite places such as Lightning in a Bottle and Burning Man.