Coachella – First Timer’s Review: The Good, Bad and Ugly!!
Ok, I’ll start of with a confession. There was neither bad nor ugly! Just good times!! I love music festivals! The Coachella Music & Arts Festival has been a bucket list item for me for quite sometime. It is such a huge festival that it takes place over a period of two weeks. It draws people from far and wide. I met people from all over the world who had traveled a very long way to experience it.
The timing and price tag for Coachella had always kept me away but everything finally lined up perfectly to allow me to attend the festival this year. We purchased our tickets back in June ’06 without knowing the artist line-up. It didn’t really matter to us. By a sheer stroke of luck one of main headliners, Beyonce, pulled out due to pregnancy and Lady Gaga took over the spot. Many were upset over it but we had a direct connection to Lady Gaga and it got us upgraded to VIP from our General Admission tickets! Sweet deal!
If you have been following me on Snap Chat and Instagram stories, you may have caught a glimpse of my Coachella experience. The sober parts that were few and far between! There was so much more that wasn’t covered. Keep reading for my list of dos and don’ts – the survival guide for Coachella.
THIS WAS MY EXPERIENCE:
Tickets for Coachella can be considered pricey by many. After my first time experience, I can confidently say that it is absolutely worth every penny for the 3-day music festival. You will receive some of the best performances from a roaster of 150 artists! The experience is more than just the music.
There is an advance ticket sale option available mid June that comes with payment plan options. Tickets sell out immediately and you will be playing a waiting game on the online purchase which can take up to 4 hours. I bought my tickets using American Express and they surprised card members with a survival kit two weeks before the festival. The kit included: a bandana, credit card holder, cellphone power bank and info on how to RSVP to their exclusive day party at the Platinum House which featured live performances, DJ sets and complimentary food & drinks. Amex was also offering $10 back for a single purchase at selected festival vendors on each registered card.
Music is life! This is the reason for the festival. With 150 artists on the roaster you are guaranteed to find multiple artists you love. I was most looking forward to seeing Kendrick Lamar in action. I was rather impressed by fellow ATLien Future’s set! He brought out Migos – who were performing pretty much everywhere I went! It was their time to shine. Drake also appeared on stage with Future. DJ Khaled always pulls an impressive amount of artists on stage and his set did not disappoint! Lady Gaga was amazing as expected! She debuted a new song, The Cure, at the Coachella main stage. Attending the festival gave me a great opportunity to be introduced to bands I was unfamiliar with e.g. Dreamcar and many more. Overall it was an amazing time!
I absolutely love the boho-chic style which happens to be music festival appropriate. I tend to gravitate more towards it and enhance it by adding my African flair. A quick google search on festival style will lead to tons of pages. It can be overwhelming but you get the general idea pretty quickly! Great style but mostly for rail thin girls. I am not thin, don’t have the Beyonce gap in my thighs and would not rock a crop top! *sigh* Most of the suggested styles are super cute but would not work for me! I was also on a strict budget – saving up for an amazing cause! I had to make do with what was already in my closet.
Coachella is a celebrity magnet! You can easily run into anyone there! The VIP section harbors most of them. Besides seeing many artists that I love perform on stage, the after parties gave a closer look. The Revolt Party I attended on two nights was filled with celebrities with little or no security detail. After a private performance by Migos, I found myself standing next to Rihanna! Yes her! I was stunned but since everyone was playing it cool, I too, was too cool for school and kept my enthusiasm to myself sadly. She seemed easy going and to be enjoying herself. She’s even more gorgeous in person!
FOOD & BEVERAGE
There are a ton of food and drink vendors at the festival grounds. My favorite food was from the hot dog stands right outside the grounds. It’s far from fancy but was a treat after an evening of drinking and dancing! The Heineken Beer Gardens, Rose Garden, The Cantina and the Craft Beer Barn were great places to cool off and catch drinks while interacting with festival goers.
There were several art installations at the festival grounds that were worth checking out. The Antarctic offered an audio-visual sensory experience. American Express gave festival goers a chance to star in their own mini music video at the American Express Experience Tent. This was fascinating and tons of fun!
If you’re not camping on the grounds or willing to drive, you will have to find a way to commute to the festival grounds. Ride share options, Uber and Lyft were available. There was a huge surcharge due to demand. There was a dedicated Uber Zone located within walking distance of the festival. We did a lot of walking at the festival. I wished I had brought cash to get a ride on one of the many Pedicabs to save my soles…
Free wifi was available courtesy of #girlboss with access spots throughout the venue. There were also several phone charging stations at the grounds.
FOR A GREAT EXPERIENCE AT COACHELLA;
– Download the Coachella App – this is how you activate your wrist band, receive set-time updates and alerts when your favorite artists are performing, receive push notifications and many more cool features.
– Stay hydrated! It’s in the desert and temps run high! There were several water refill stations on site.
– Carry your festival kit: sunglasses/goggles, a bandana/dust mask & power bank for your phone. Wet wipes for a quick refreshing clean off. I suggest bringing your own tissue. The potter potties can be lacking and do get gross. The bathrooms in VIP are much nicer if your can get access.
– Carry a bag pack or cross body purse. It is the most convenient way to carry your belongings while moving around festival grounds with ease.
– Wear comfortable shoes. You will be doing a lot of walking! Closed toe shoes recommended due to dust. I learned this the hard way. Take the Pedicabs as much as you can.
– RSVP to all the parties (brunch, day & night) whether you will attend or not! The guest list is enforced! The Revolt party was amazing! Great mansion & celeb hotspot.
– Befriend your first Uber/Lyft driver and have them be your on-call designated driver. You will pay in cash. The lines at the Uber Zone were very long! There is also a very high surcharge due to demand.
– Bring a great attitude! It’s hard to be unhappy at Coachella really. If nothing else let your eyes feast on the eye candy filled festival. There are many beautiful people here. A TMZ broadcast joked that Coachella is where relationships go to die as temptation is high. While I don’t quite agree with the notion, be prepared to feast your eyes! Or marvel at the crazy fashion choices!
– Bring a camera with a removable lens. No audio recording devices or drone/remote. Your smart phone can record pretty decent video. Pro-tip: Shoot in landscape for best results.
– Bring selfies sticks – not allowed.
– Bring drugs/drug paraphernalia – I did see some drug use and was offered some. Use your best judgment.
– Bring flags
– Wear huge hats – be kind! You don’t want to be the douche-bag blocking peoples views with your obnoxious hat!
See you all next year music lovers!! Queen Beyonce is already confirmed as a headliner and tickets will sell out without a doubt!