Guide to Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival has been taking place on the lush grounds of the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California every April since 1999. 

Set amongst a backdrop of mountains, palm trees and celebrities, Coachella blends visual art and music to create a two-weekend event bringing attendees and artists from around the world. Award-winning art installations dot the festival grounds, which also offers gourmet food vendors, bars and boutique-like seating areas. Of course, you can also find a few stages hosting live music as well.

Become Familiar with the Coachella Stages and Tents 

Naturally, the bands that grace Coachella are definitely one of the highlights of the festival with Phoenix, Blur, Vampire Weekend, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Modest Mouse all playing in 2013. The legendary main stage itself is a piece of art and has featured quite a few big names including Paul McCartney, Madonna, Prince, and Red Hot Chili Peppers. And it was also there in 2007 that the famous French electronic duo Daft Punk did their last live performance. 

Coachella is famous for its ability to fuse all genres of music into one event and its offering of six different stages to do so makes it easy to experience a little bit of everything. The Outdoor Theatre has hosted Kanye West, Jay Z, Wu-Tang and Action Bronson in the past.

Hell, even Tupac made a post-mortem appearance in 2012 via a creepy and controversial hologram during a Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre performance.

Over at the Sahara Tent, the electronic-loving revelers are able to experience everything from trance to electro, dubstep to drum and bass. Acts such as Eric Prydz, Moby, Fedde Le Grand, Dirtyphonics, Dog Blood and Bassnectar have all played the stage in front of thousands of ravers. 

The Gobi, Mojave and Yuma stages have also spotlighted a wide variety of artists from all genres of music including Disclosure, Major Lazer, Franz Ferdinand, 2 Chainz and the techno legend Richie Hawtin.

Celebrities and Music Junkies Litter the Coachella Grounds

Image via Coachella Facebook

Coachella is known as the go-to event for anyone wanting to kick-start the summer. Movie stars, musicians and Victoria Secret models are all spotted in the VIP tents year after year while paparazzi create a see and be seen atmosphere. However, if you are a mere mortal like myself, Coachella is a place to experience art, music, food, drinks and fun with friends. 

The lush yet desert-like setting instantly triggers laid back vibes and constantly inspires the style of attendees. Girls are often seen in ankle boots, fringe vests, large hats and big shades with the guys rocking printed tanks and cargo shorts – creating one of the best looking festival crowds in existence.

But what do you expect when half of young Hollywood is in attendance?

Coachella Pre and After-Parties

And with A-list attendees having to trek to the desert of Indio, festival organizers and partners want to make it worth their while. Therefore, for both weekends, there are countless pre and after parties ranging from exclusive, invite-only to general admission guest list. However, sometimes it’s easier said than done when obtaining entry to one of these lavish desert events.

The masters of the Las Vegas pool party scene, Wynn and Encore, set up shop in Palm Springs to host their Desert Sessions event, which has entertained the likes of DJs Chuckie and Morgan Page. The event is for anyone who can get a ticket and includes drinking, dancing and of course, just being drunk in a pool.

Image via H&M Facebook

The Hard Rock event is one of the elite, invite-only parties and held at a secret location each year. Lacoste, Guess, and H&M also host events where you can rock your polo shirt and shorts while pretending you actually went to the Coachella festival. 

However, THE party each year that you want to get into is Neon Carnival hosted by Armani Exchange, although gaining access is tough. Priority is of course given to the celebrities and those obtaining VIP tables along the dance floor but some access is given to those who don’t mind waiting in line freezing their post festival asses off.

Yet once you’re inside, the wait, hustling, bribing or whatever you had to do to get in is totally worth it. Free booze, food and swag combined with carnival rides, DJs and a dance floor makes for the perfect end to what would have been an already insane weekend. Plus, watching Lindsay Lohan driving bumper cars without getting a DUI is hilarious.

Camping, Tee-Pees and the Unconventional Safari Tents 

The festival takes place in the Coachella Valley of Indio, California and the grounds are a two-hour drive from LA. LAX is the biggest airport in the region, which offers direct flights and Palm Springs International also has flights to many connecting locations.

Image via Coachella Facebook

The weather in the Coachella Valley is exactly what you’d expect of a desert – hot, dry days followed by cold nights. While the temperature in April may reach up to 35 degrees during the day it can however drop to 10 degrees at night. So keep that in mind when planning your outfits as well as your accommodations.

Coachella is one of the few festivals in North America that offers a camping option (choice of car, RV or tent) with amenities not even found at the most luxurious of Canadian-backwoods campground. Massages, a Wi-Fi café, a farmers market and even a silent disco can all be found on the camping grounds. 

Image via Coachella Facebook

If the star-studded attendees have inspired you to indulge in a more luxurious alternative, you also have the choice of staying in one of the festivals ready-to-go camping options. You can board in a premade Tee-Pee or a Safari Tent on the edge of Lake Eldorado, which is part of the festival grounds. The Safari Tent can barely be considered camping but if you enjoy an air-conditioned and hardwood floored tent and have $7,000 to spend then this is the option for you. 

Accommodations That Offer Travel Packages for Coachella

However, if sleeping outdoors in the desert doesn’t appeal to you or your friends then luckily the proximity of Coachella to Palm Springs has hotels ranging from three stars to five star resorts. The Hard Rock Hotel, Marriott, Westin and Rivera have all teamed up as partners with the festival in order to offer travel packages. This includes three nights accommodation, wristbands and shuttle buses. Not surprisingly, it’s a popular option for the majority of festivalgoers and packages tend to sell out extremely early. 

Passes are sold for each weekend separately, with the same artists playing both weekends. Shuttle options to local hotels and airports are also available, which makes attending this one of a kind event ridiculously easy.

The vibes and energy that are found on the Empire Polo grounds, which host Coachella Valley Music Festival for two weekends in April, are unlike those found at the majority of events. The scenery, company, style, music and art all work together to make an unforgettable experience. Since Coachella Festival is always selling out in record time, make sure to share this guide with friends to get a head start on planning.

Author
Olivia Weir

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