Everyone in the world, whether they ever plan on attending or not, has an opinion on Coachella.
They’ve seen the videos of Daft Punk’s pyramid and Tupac’s hologram. They’ve seen the documentaries wherein Billie Eilish meets her idol, Justin Bieber. They’ve seen the endless flood of Instagram posts where flower crowns are more common than masks in the COVID era.
Regardless of what opinions those outside impressions may catalyze, Coachella is known around the world. Then as a result of that ubiquity, Coachella is how a lot of people make their entry into the world of festivals, and in truth, it’s a very solid way to make an entry.
Coachella really gives a taste of everything. It has camping to give an idea of what pure camping festivals are like. It has a very diverse lineup, so people of different tastes will have a reason to come. It’s also logistically sound after happening at the same venue since 1999. Especially since that venue has flat terrain and is easily accessible by major roads and highways.
In light of the fact that Coachella 2023 will probably be the debut festival for many, we here at EDM Maniac put together a quick guide for those who are heading out to Indio for the first time this year.
1. Embrace The Bottle
Unlike other events where water bottles can be $8 or more, Coachella sells water bottles for $3 at every food and drink stand spread throughout the entire festival. We fully support hydration packs and reusable water bottles, but we also know carrying those around can be a grind, especially when it’s hot. Coachella makes icy cold water as accessible as possible.
2. Pizza Is Fuel
Coachella’s food options are some of the best in the world of festivals, but if you need a quick bit of fuel, pizza is the move. The line always moves fast, and it always tastes good.
3. Michelin Star Festival
But if you’re not just looking for a quick bite, take advantage of the incredible food options. Top-tier restaurants like Kazu Nori come to Coachella every year. If you have an extended break between sets, make it a point to try some high-quality eats.
4. Get There Early
Coachella is probably the best festival in the world to discover new music, so get there early and check out some music!
Every artist is on the lineup for a reason, and every genre from African beat music to punk rock is represented. In the early hours of the festival, there is no hassle getting parking or getting through security.
And if it’s too hot, you can always chill at Do LaB, Heineken House, or the indoor stages Yuma and Sonora. Yuma and Sonora both have bars inside the stage, too.
Those looking for somewhere cool to chill are also in luck because this year will also feature the return of…
If this is your first time at Coachella, you are in for a treat. Despacio is essentially a second Yuma. The difference is it’s smaller, and there is a custom 50,000-watt sound system specifically made for playing vinyl.
The system was designed by James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem and David and Stephen Dewaele of 2manydjs, who are playing on the lineup this year. The entire time Despacio is open the Dewaeles will be in there spinning vinyl. If you want to hear some crazy deep cuts, this is the place to be.
6. Know The Layout
One benefit of Coachella happening at the same place for all 22 editions is they have the layout dialed in. The stages run along the perimeter of the venue, so the best way to navigate the event is to use the central hub to your advantage.
Cut through the center of the event instead of going all the way around. You’ll naturally avoid the crowds, and the real bathrooms are in the central area as well so it makes it easy to stop by the bathroom between sets.
7. Wait For The Techno.
If you’re a house and techno head, be ready to wait in line to get to Yuma, a.k.a. Coachella’s onsite nightclub.
It’s something we’ve noted in Festival Report Cards about Coachella, but with house and techno as popular as they are it’s only natural an intimate space like Yuma will have a line. Especially with amazing artists like Adam Beyer, Keinemusik, and Sasha & Digweed on the lineup.
However, once you’re in there it’s easy to stay as the stage has its own bathrooms and bar. Also, VIP ticket holders have a separate entrance that never has a line.
8. The Party Starts On Thursday
Music starts Friday, but Coachella opens on Thursday. As campers make their way into the grounds, the festival takes on a life of its own.
During the day people are walking the streets of the campground getting their bearings for their temporary home. Meeting neighbors. Building community.
At night the people are at the Dome, which is the music stage in the campgrounds. Music begins at 8PM, and then at 12AM the dome becomes a Silent Disco (there may be some renegades happening at campsites, but you didn’t hear that from us).
9. Sweater Around The Waist
Coachella is in the middle of the desert. That means no matter how hot it is during the day, it can still get chilly at night. Plus, high winds are also very common in deserts, and when it gets windy at night it gets cold. You don’t want to be forced to spend $90 on a Billie Eilish sweater with no front pocket (like I did last year) just because it’s too cold.
I am kinda glad I bought the sweater though. It’s cool and comfy.
10. Bring An Open Mind
Coachella gets a bad rep from a lot of people. However, here at EDM Maniac, we have team members who have attended as many as nine times before because it is truly one of the best festivals in the world (and we have been all over the world).
Yes, for a lot of people, it’s their first festival. That means they may still be a bit uncomfortable fully expressing themselves. They may be made a bit uncomfortable by people who are fully expressing themselves. Or they may not know quite how to act just yet.
Yes, Coachella is a huge mainstream cultural center, and a lot of people may not be there for the music. They may be there for content opportunities or just to take Instagrams of their outfits.
But we keep coming back because those who show up to have fun and enjoy the music will have the best time.
At the end of the day, Coachella is basically just a big patch of grass with a bunch of stages on it. It’s an open canvas, which means that far more than other festivals that work to dictate your experiences with a sensory overload, Coachella gives you the chance to spread your wings and be yourself.
We hope to see some of you out there, being yourselves in the desert.
Featured image provided by Coachella on Facebook.