In just weeks, thousands of people will make the annual pilgrimage to the desert for the sold out Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. The music runs April 15-17 and April 22-24 at the Empire Polo Grounds in Indio. Whether this is your 1st or 15th Coachella, you should come prepared. My group has grown to over 21 friends who are ready for some magical times and music in the desert. This will be my 4th Coachella and I’m more excited than ever!

As a seasoned festival-goer and raver, here is my Coachella 2016 Checklist:

Double Check Your Hotel Reservation

With the festival just weeks away, it’s best to re-confirm your reservation with your hotel. If you haven’t booked a place to stay yet, HURRY. Rooms are still left in Palm Springs starting around $220 a night. If you want to stay closer to the venue, it will cost you more. The same advice goes with finding a house or room on Airbnb and other rental sites.

Activate Your Wristband

You’ll need to activate your Coachella wristband before you enter the festival. Be sure to do this at home before you leave home! This is a MUST. Also, bring a copy of your shuttle pass receipt just in case you lose your shuttle pass at any time during the weekend. This way you can show proof of purchase at the shuttle stop and get a replacement if needed.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking water (not just beer and alcohol) is necessary for you to stay hydrated at Coachella. According to Accuweather, temperatures will be in the mid 80’s for both weekends. As a former resident of Palm Springs, I can say the sun will take a toll on you if you aren’t prepared. You can also cool down with some tasty frozen treats and fruity beverages at the festival.

Keep Safe From the Elements

As I mentioned, the sun will be out in full force. Be sure to bring sunscreen, a handfan, hat/visor or a parasol. If you forget to bring any of these, you can purchase them on site at the festival. Trust me, nobody wants to go home with a sunburn, but a nice desert tan instead. You’ll also want a scarf or bandana to keep the dust out of your face especially if you’ll be walking on the path from the shuttles to the entry gates. That path is dirt and it gets very, very dusty. You can opt to catch a rickshaw ride but it will cost you $$.

Dress Comfortably

Wear shorts, tank tops, sun dresses…anything loose fitting is probably best for this festival. Also wear shoes unless you want your toes to be stepped on inside the Sahara tent. Also, don’t be afraid to take a few fashion risks at Coachella! I mean it is Coachella after all.

Wear A Fanny Pack / Small Backpack

You’ll want to wear a fanny pack or bring a small backpack to the festival to carry all of your stuff. You can always stash it all in a locker for a small fee. Also, you may want to write down your phone number on it – just in case it gets lost. Be sure to do the same with your wallet and cellphone! I would write down your phone number and name on a piece of paper – take a picture of it – and make that picture your home screen! This way you can be contacted if your phone gets lost. Smart move.. right??

Time Stamp Text Messages

Sometimes your text messages won’t go through – or they go through late. For that reason – TIME STAMP THEM. For example, “meet me at the Yuma Tent at 10pm in from of the left front speaker sent @9:45pm”

Make A Home Base

Pick a spot for your group to meet up at. Just be sure to not pick something that moves around the grounds like a moving art installation! I found picking a central spot near a bar/beer garden is always pretty easy, as there is shade and places to sit down.

Bring A Phone Charger

There will be charging stations at Coachella 2016, but you’ll want to bring a cord with you! I also advise purchasing a re-chargeable one that you can keep on you and use when your phone’s battery runs low. Try not to use your phones often and only when you need it, so that you can enjoy the full experience.

On the topic of phones, Selfie Sticks are NOT allowed inside the festival – so leave them at home, for everyone’s sake.

Bring Cash

Be sure to go to an ATM and get cash before you head to Coachella. That way you won’t have to deal with an ATM line or fees.

Buy Ferris Wheel Tickets EARLY

You need to ride the ferris wheel at Coachella at least once. The views from the top are amazing. My advice, buy some tickets as soon as you arrive because there will be a long line to purchase them in the evening!

Have Fun!

Explore the festival and see new acts. Discover new stages and get lost in the amazing artwork that blankets the grounds. Be free and have fun and share those good vibes with everyone around you.

I’ll see you there for Coachella 2016 Weekend 2!! I’m coming for ya Yuma Tent!!!

-Jared