Coachella (n) | Coa-chel-la | (\kō-che-lə\):
A music and arts festival based in the valley of Indio, California. It is held annually at the Empire Polo Club.
A person experiences many “firsts” in their life. First day of school, first kiss, first concert.. You get the picture. Coachella was not my first music festival, but no amount of music festivals I’ve ever attended could prepare me for what I experienced in the Coachella Valley this past weekend.
My friend, Jasmin, and I drove from San Diego to Indio to meet with our two friends to carpool together into the camp grounds. It was a bit of a wait to go through security when we arrived around 3, but I’ll talk more about the details in my Coachella car camping guide.
I think Day 0 is the most surreal because that’s when you think, “Wow, I’m in Indio and Coachella starts TOMORROW.” It is exciting because you get to set up your tent (or arrive at your Airbnb) and start to get so stoked for the festival vibes that will occur once you wake up on Friday.
The only downside to Day 0 was the wind. Before a festival, you want to get a good night’s rest, well in a tent surrounded by other tents, that’s not really a thing, especially if it is so windy, you wake up every so often to make sure you didn’t fly away with your tent.
Day 1 was certainly a day of firsts, and learning experiences. Since we were all popping our Coachella cherries at once, we really didn’t know what to expect. Yeah, our neighbors had Coachella’d before, but it is nothing compared to taking on the festival by yourself. We already had a set plan of who we were seeing first, so that helped us figure out how to organize our time a little bit better. For example, the first set we were seeing wasn’t until about 3:30 pm, and since the sun wakes everyone up at about 5 am, that gave everyone time to wait in the shower line (yes, there is a line to shower).
Once inside the festival grounds, we made our way to the Coachella main stage where we saw Years & Years, Of Monsters and Men, A$AP Rocky, Ellie Goulding and so many more amazing artists. Throughout the entire day, the atmosphere was amazing.
Weekend 1 is normally when most of the celebrities come out to walk around the grounds and enjoy Coachella themselves. The only celebrity I saw Day 1 was Ellie Goulding herself. I follow Ms. Goulding on Instagram and when I saw her I actually forgot that we aren’t friends in real life. As she was walking by with her entourage, I said, “Hi, Ellie!” in which my friends slapped my arm as if I broke some kind of Coachella law. BUT Ellie actually turned to me, smiled and said “hi” back! *faints*
We were pretty much discovering what the grounds had to offer. There is food everywhere, we found the flushable toilets (Which I have a newfound appreciation for. Porta potties SUCK.), and the fact that the Sahara tent is where you go if you want to die. We tried to see DJ Mustard at the Sahara tent… One, don’t try to enter a large crowd of ravers wearing sandals. You will have your feet stepped on. Two, if you have a short friend, don’t even try to enter the crowd because you will spend all of your time trying to bring that friend up to the surface so they don’t get trampled on like your feet.
Here was our attempt:
Ironically, all four of us are actually present in this blur that was the Sahara tent experience.
Despite the craziness of Day 1, we managed to enjoy ourselves eating watermelon slices and sitting in the shade in between sets. At Coachella, you don’t have to run around to try to do everything, and you most certainly don’t have to be at the front for every person you want to see. I’d have to say I enjoyed the performances much more sitting further back away from the crowd than I did being trampled when I tried to get up close (DJ Mustard and Jack Ü, I’m talking about you). There are speakers everywhere, so there is no reason to be way in the front unless you have to see your favorite person rock out.
Now that we have finally gotten the hang of Coachella, we were ready to jump into Day 2. We weren’t eager to get in line for the showers since we knew the lines would die down around noon.
Day 2 was simply full of surprises, especially by the disc jockey duo Disclosure. They brought out Lorde AND Sam Smith. My friends nearly lost it. But if you saw me at Halsey when she brought out Brendon Urie from Panic! at the Disco… I legitimately lost it. Ironically, I got it all on tape and all you see is the camera being jerked around and all you hear is me, hysterically screaming and crying.
Day 2 was also the day that I learned that it is possible to over-exhaust Snapchat, and when you do that, all of your unloaded snaps will be deleted. *insert upside down smiley emoji here*
The fact that day 3 is the official last day of the most famous music festival around was bittersweet. I couldn’t tolerate not having indoor plumbing, and waking up to my feet being absolutely freezing, and the sun seeping through our tent. I was over the midday heat that was practically giving me heat exhaustion. I was tired of spending so much money on food. At the same time, I didn’t want it to end. I love the music and being a part of such an amazing experience.
I think Day 3 was my absolute favorite because we saw the most celebrities and a lot of our favorite artists were all on one stage. Jasmin and I spotted Anthony Quintal (AKA Lohanthony) and his entourage of teeny boppers, Troian Bellisario, Harry Styles, the Weeknd and Bella Hadid and Brooklyn Beckham.
Matt and Kim, the 1975, Sia and Major Lazer (!!!) were some of my favorite performances of the night. Especially Major Lazer. If you know me, you know that Diplo is my absolute favorite DJ. Pair him with the tribal sounds of EDM DJs Major Lazer and you have me dancing until I pass out, which was very close to happening during their set. It was phenomenal.
The night ended with a performance by Calvin Harris. I’ve seen him a few times in Vegas at the nightclubs here, but his Coachella set was out of this world. He even brought out Big Sean and RIHANNA.
Overall, Coachella was such an amazing experience. Yes, it is at a steep price, but it is definitely something worth saving up for if you are into any music scene.
Pre-sale tickets normally go on sale in June or July, so it is important to stay on top of that if Coachella is something you and your friends are interested in going. I hope my rather detailed experience has possibly persuaded you to consider going!
I don’t know if I myself will car camp again, but I’m already considering getting a ticket for 2017, as crazy as that may sound. It was certainly an experience of a lifetime, and to be able to go again and explore more than what I had this time around, that would just be a blessing.