An unauthorized guide to the Coachella camping experience from Indy intern Jen Woo.
The best way to go to Coachella is to camp, as it allows for easy access to the venue, rows and rows of people willing to help out and hang out, and it is much more economical than renting a room that is purposely overpriced for the event. If this is your first year, let me share with you a simple way to remember some precautions from avid Coachella attendees:
C is for Cash. Bring your bankcard and a lot of cash, and keep it on you the entire time. It’s not uncommon for show goers to misplace their sunglasses, ChapStick, or sun block — and chances are your car is parked far, far away. All of these items can be purchased with cash only. Coachella does not take plastic, although there are some ATMs. Cash is a must-have if you plan on drinking. Alcohol can make it into the venue, but unless you are stealthy at disguising your booze, it’s likely security will find it. Wait until it dies down and keep in mind that Coachella allows beer, but not glass bottles. Be prepared, however, to spend $7 inside on a weak margarita out of a pump.
O is for Organize. Organize show times and meals. Plan ahead and get to the main events (like Jay-Z, Thom Yorke, and Gorillaz) at least an hour before so you can be near the front. Get your rest and get your meals in. Nothing can make Coachella more miserable than people who aren’t capable of balancing taking care of themselves with having a good time.
A is for Agua. Water, water, water, and more water should be packed. When you think you have enough, pack more because it’s likely that you don’t. Drink a lot of water all the time and bring a water bottle to refill.
C is for Charge it. Make sure your cell is fully charged because you never know when you’ll lose someone.
H is for Heat. If you feel your body giving in to any element of the desert take a break under some shade and relax. Don’t over extend yourself for a certain show when you know your body isn’t right. You will thank yourself for it.
E is for Energy. If you are camping, be prepared to deal with a lot of people staying up late and partying. Try to set up camp away from the lights and the port-o-potties. People tend to plan for convenience and stay close to the public utilities, but it means that drunken people will be passing your camp all night.
L is for Little. Carry as little as possible when you go to see the shows. This goes the same for clothing. Wear little to nothing as the temperature can reach up to 116 degrees with Saturday usually being the hottest day. It also stays relatively warm throughout the night, so a sweater is not needed.
L is for Layer. Layer on the sunscreen. The hot desert sun means you will likely be wearing next to nothing — so cover up that pale winter skin with some serious protection. Remember to apply and reapply sunscreen so you won’t have to suffer with a painful sunburn.
A is for Aqua socks if you’re planning on using the public showers. It goes without saying that they are not the greatest, especially with the amount of people using them. Your best bet would be to get a solar shower and avoid the public showers altogether.
And lastly, have a good time. Camping is a part of who we are. Humans have not always lived in structures—physical or social—so don’t be intimidated. Rather, indulge in it along with the thousands of others who will be there doing the same.