This is my third time to Coachella, and I feel like it gets better and better every year ! This 2018 edition was better especially because of the line-up, I mean : The Weekend, Kygo, Beyonce, Eminem… it couldn’t get any better than this.
I did a Coachella Guide the first year I went to the festival in 2016 with all the informations and my advice for the festival, but it was in French at this time. I’m going to translate here everything in English (but if you want the French version well it’s here).
. When to buy tickets
The official sale is in early January (around the 5th, 6th depending on the year). This sale is usually made right after the official lineup has been released.
The other option is to buy tickets earlier than the normal sale. This pre-sales starts a month after the previous festival, between the end of May and the beginning of June). Although remember when you buy tickets during the pre-sale you don’t know the lineup yet. It can sound a bit risky because you might not like all the artists, however Coachella is a festival where you can discover new artists, and every year the lineup is really good, so basically there is nothing to worry about.
. How to buy tickets
The process of being tickets is really simple. When the sale starts, you have to go on Coachella.com. A page will appear and automatically you will be placed in a queue.
After that you will wait until you get though the plage and have the chance to buy you tickets.
In my case, my boyfriend Maxime and I opened a page at the same time on different advice, however Maxime got though the sale-page 15 minutes after the beginning of the sale and mine opened 45 minutes after. So it’s really random and it can cause lots of stress since you çan end up not having tickets even if you where on the website at the right time.
My advice is to be patient and to open the website on more than one device (computers, phones, tablets… everything you can) it will increase you chances.
Reminder : The festival lasts 3 days : Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and it happen not once but twice in April. They call it “Week 1” and “Week 2” the last one takes place one week after the first one.
The 2 weekends are exactly the same when it comes to the lineup, however the main change is the “suprise guests” (artists coming up on stage for one song or more which no one knew about it) it might not be the same. In 2016 for example during the Week 1 we saw Rihanna singing on stage during Calvin Harris show but she didn’t come back for the Week 2.
The Week 1 is always highly-publicized and more advertised than the Week 2, that’s why the Week 1 is sold out much more quickly than the Week 2.
. The price
Two types of tickets :
. General Admission (GA) approx price 399$ – Price includes : access the festival during the 3 days + general parking
. VIP approx price 999$ – Price includes access to the festival during the 3 days, access to the VIP areas of the festival (better food, private bathrooms, extra seating and couches, private garden…)
Shipping of the bracelets cost 25$. You might have some taxes too.
You can add some extras.
For example : Shuttle pass from Palm Springs to the festival (around 60$), camping with you car (99$), rent a tent (99$), VIP parking (150$).
There are also packages which include hotels but then the price goes up very quickly between 1500$ too 6000$
. How to pick up or get your bracelet
You have two options to choose : you can either have your bracelets delivered to you for 25$ (everywhere in the world) or you can pick them up at a “Will Call” (near Palm Springs).
If you are traveling from very far and not sure if you’ll be home to received your tickets before leaving for California I will recommend picking your tickets at the “Will Call” because the bracelets are only sent one to two weeks before the festival, which means you can miss out the delivery. You can pick up the tickets at the Will Call either a day before or during the first day of the festival.
. Accommodation : where to stay
You have multiples options to choose from :
. Camping :
For 99$ you get a spot in the camping site of the festival. The atmosphere is really nice, perfect for partying 3 days straight so expect not to sleep a lot. The camping space is right next to the festival so no worries regarding on how to get to and from the festival.
However you have to share the showers and toilets and you can wait a long time before getting a shower, one of our friend camped there in 2016 and he waited 2 hours to have a shower in the morning.
It’s the cheapest option.
If you pick this option you need to be extremely fast because most of the hotels around Coachella are sold out very quickly. It is the biggest weekends in Palm Springs (the city near the festival) so they don’t feel shy when it comes to the prices. Count a minimum of 250$ a night for a double room (and again you will be very lucky to find that).
Again, the faster the better. Try not to book it at the last minute as many people choose this option.
We picket this option every year and for exemple this year we found a lovely villa in Palm Springs. We paid around 800$ for 4 people so 200$ each for 4 nights. It’s definitely more interesting than staying in the hotel, plus you have your own kitchen so you can cook your own food and save a bit.
This section is especially for European people like my friends and I.
The flight from Europe to Palm Springs are always so expensive. The best option is to flight from Europe to Los Angeles (you can enjoy a few days in the city of angels in the same time). And from Los Angeles to Palm Springs you can rent a car, it is a nice two hours drive. (There is also shuttle if you can’t rent a car don’t worry).
We booked our flights from Paris to LA with Norwegian, the first price is 360€ (430$) and we booked our car on Carigami for 60€ per day (72$).
. Food and drink
It is strictly forbidden to access the festival with any drunks and food. Although you can bring plastic bottles.
Everyone is eating inside the festival, and there is plenty different choices and many different stands (burger, Mexican, asian, ice cream, fruits, vegan, vegetarian…).
Eating inside the festival 2 times a day can cost you around 20/25$ without the drinks. Bottle of water is only 2$ but you can refill water for free. If you drink Alcohol count around 8$ for a beer.
. What to take with you
As I said just above, take empty plastic bottles. It is very hot, the festival takes place in the middle of the Californian desert, so it is very important to stay hydrated though the day.
Speaking of warmth and sunshine, take sunscreen lotion to protect yourself from the sun, and some hat/cap. The last thing you want is to get a sunburn or sunstroke.
Bring external batteries because even if there are stands with available plugs to charge your phone, it’s usually crowded (expect in the VIP areas) and you don’t want to waste your time at the festival for that.
If you take a camera it has to be very small, because professionnal cameras are forbidden. And be careful with it because they can deny the access to the festival for that. For exemple my Sony Alpha 5000 was ok, but not bigger.
Take a jacket for the evening, it might be very hot all day but when the sun goes down it gets really cold outside.
. My personal tips
. Book a locker.
The lockers are located near the entrance and it is much closer than going all the way back to the parking. So you can put what you want inside (a square outfit, a jacket, bottles, makeup, external batteries…).
This is very handy if you don’t want to take big bag at all with you.
The price of these lockers goes from 54$ to 78$ depending on the size.
. Meeting point
Coachella gets very busy after 4pm, the time when everyone starts to arrive. So your phones won’t work anymore because of bad connection, and the wifi doesn’t work very well all the time. It’s easy to get lost so find a meeting point, that way if someone of your group gets lost you can find each other again without phones.
. Plan the evening before
You can create a small schedule the day before the festival according to your preferences.
Indeed there are 7 stages in the festival and more than 40 artists and groupes. Sometimes you have to male sacrifices if you want to see two artists playing at the same times. So you can separate with your group for a while, so you better plan ahead.
And one small advice : go and see artists you’ve never heard before. For example I discovered ZEDD in 2016, I knew only one or two of his songs, but I went to see him at Coachella and he became one of my favorite performances ever.
. Take a ride on the Ferris wheel
The famous Ferris wheel on Coachella is part of the decor, so don’t forget to not just take pictures of it from the ground and take a ride to enjoy the view. We did it during the day, but I’m sure during the sunset it can be even better. It cost approx 8$.
. Fashion style
You probably know it and have seen it in pictures but most of the people at Coachella is playing the game of having a bohemian, hippy, cool outfits. Coachella is a “music and art festival”, and fashion is art, so don’t be shy and have fun with your outfits. I personally love every year to watch people’s outfits. It’s awesome to seen men, women, kids, or elderly dressing up and having fun. Nobody is judging others, we only hear compliments from everyone on different styles.
However, be careful, try to wear something comfortable as well. Wear clothes and shoes in which you can dance for hours without problems. Also don’t forget to bring a scarf because it can get very windy and creates small sandstorms. With that scarf you can cover your month/nose and breath normally though it.
And finally, just have fun ! Enjoy these three days because it goes extremely fast ! It is an experience to do at least once in your life, and the memories you will male there are going to stay forever in your head.
PS : To everyone asking me know much in total it would be to go to Coachella. I have taken all the previous prices and put it together.
Please note these prices may vary depending on : the number of people you are traveling with, the accommodation, the amount of food/drinks you consume and your flight ticket, etc…
This is an approximation depending on what it costs me for a GA ticket, planning in advance with a groupe of 4 people.
. Staying at the campsite : approx 1400€
. Airbnb : approx 1600€
. Hotel : approx and minimum 2000€