I've been to Coachella a grand total of ONE time before, which means that I am definitely not an expert and probably not qualified to give advice...but I'm not going to let that stop me! So here are a few tips to help you get through three days of music and fun in the sun with your health, sanity, friendships, and car still intact.—Kate
1. Check the weather and dress appropriately.
The Coachella grounds are all outside and once you're there, it's not easy to leave. A bikini-top and short-shorts is super-cute at 2 p.m. and super-cold at 2 a.m., so stash a sweater and pair of tights in your backpack if you plan on being in it for the long-haul. Also, remember that even if you've had your sunshine-ready outfit planned for weeks, if the forecast says it's going to be cold and rainy—this happened last year—you best pay attention. No matter how cute you look, if you're shivering and covered in goosebumps, you'll be too miserable to enjoy it.
2. Dress appropriately in other ways, too.
Coachella might seem like a fashion fest, but it's not. It's a music fest, which means that ultimately function should trump form. Vanessa Hudgens probably has a team of people waiting to carry her when her feet start to hurt, but I am going to assume that (even though I don't know anything about you) you do not.
For example, this jumper is super-cute, but it will not be your best friend when you're trying to pee and simultaneously not touch anything while locked inside a Porta-Potty in the dark.
Avoid ultra-long skirts or pants that drag on the ground; ridiculous shoes; any garment that's going to present problems in the Porta-Potties; bags that you have to carry and can't throw over your shoulder; and anything that might accidentally expose your boobs while dancing. And for god's sake, just wear underwear if you're wearing a skirt.
3. Seriously, I am so serious about the shoes.
If you insist on wearing heels, at least stash a pair of flats in your bag. Last year I went out the wrong exit and had an unexpected three-mile walk back to the car. [Note to Katie McCurdy: We are not doing that again this year.] Had I not been wearing flats, I would probably still be out in the desert, dead, my bleached bones slowly disintegrating back into the sand.
Also, you'll be weaving through crowds, so wear closed-toe shoes to protect your pretty lil feet from moshing bros.
4. It's all about the hand-sanitizer and small tissue packets.
Possess these two things, and you will be the most popular person in the bathroom line.
Look, we even sell some cute ones!
5. Have a plan for getting to and from the festival.
Coachella is in the middle of nowhere. You can't really walk anywhere from the grounds, and catching a cab is next to impossible, if not totally impossible. So:
• Know the shuttle schedule and where it will pick you up/drop you off.
• If you have a car, discuss in advance who's going to stay sober and drive so that it's not 3 a.m. and you suddenly realize that every single one of you is wasted.
• Snap a pic of the parking lot marker nearest to your car. Without it, you will be quite literally lost, and contrary to what you might think, you are not going to remember "E24" and neither will any of your friends.
6. Don't leave your friends.
Even if your friend got too drunk/high/whatever and is being really obnoxious and yelling that she's not going with you and is instead going with that dude she just met who has corn-rows, a Camaro and a shit-ton of weed, DON'T LET HER. Same goes for the wasted idiot who won't get in the car and insists he's walking the 25 miles back to Palm Springs.
No matter how annoying these people are at this very minute, remember that they are your friends and a definition of a friend is someone you care about and to whom you don't want anything bad to happen.
Don't be afraid to confront them about it the next day, when everyone's calm and sober, and tell them that their being so dumb cut into your fun. Chances are, they'll see you're serious, apologize, and then not do it again. If they DO do it again, remember this when you're deciding who you want to go to Bonnaroo with.
7. Don't get too fucked up.
Even though Coachella seems like a magic neverland floating high above reality, it is not. It's still the real world out here, so beware of creeps, weirdos, and people with camera phones. Also, do you really want to be the person your friends have to babysit all night? No, you don't.
You don't want to be this guy. Or this girl—see, her friends didn't leave her, but they still couldn't get there in time to save her from herself.
Your phone is probably going to die from gramming everything in sight. Even if it doesn't, 80,000 people in one spot, all texting "WHERE R U?!??" at the same time means that networks might get overloaded and it's going to be hard to get your texts to go through. Knowing where you're all going to meet when the show is over means that you can find your friends and get to the after-party that much faster.
10. Get everything you need before you go.
Sure, you can buy food, cigarettes, lip-balm, whatever at Coachella, but it's expensive and often a waste of time. You didn't come to Coachella to wait in line for a veggie burger, you came to Coachella to see music and have fun. Now go!