As far as last minute plans go, a trip to the desert for Coachella is not a bad one! With a girlfriend in from Melbs, we had planned all sorts of Californian adventures including a desert trip to check out Palm Springs and chill out with some friends at Vestal’s Coachella camp grounds (which in itself had it’s own mini festival with music, food, drink AND pool floaties – an activity I publicly and repeatedly found that I am noooo master at…). Literally the day before we were meant to drive out we managed to grab two GA Coachella tickets through StubHub, which eliminated my perceived perception that securing weekend one tickets could only be done in pre-sale – a year in advance ORRR being quick enough to hit refresh on your browser in the first few seconds they go on general sale. So word to the wise, if you miss any of the sale deadlines in the future, there’s hope!
Armed with a tent, blow up mattress, heavy blankets, light blankets, protein bars and water, we arrived at Vestal for some much needed sun, drinks and poolside laze before trekking into Coachella. That almost desert mirage of a front entrance that is the Ferris Wheel, is not an easy feat to reach. The walk from dropoff down the maze to the entrance can easily take half an hour and that’s not due to lines, that just the distance… so if you are a novice like me, wearing those heeled boots for the multi-terrain walk is not the most ideal choice.
I didn’t realise how physically huge the festival itself was. Most images that come out of the weekend tend to be taken around the stages and art installations, so it wasn’t until I finally made it past the Ferris Wheel that I realised there was so much more to do and see, with areas I would likely never make it too. Apart from the various stages, array of food (vegan, gluten free options available) bars and shopping, there are so many other activities to get involved in including the Sephora beauty bar, art creation, dodgeball, hula hooping, limbo, pie eating contests, the H&M centre, a postcard mailing centre, yoga and pilates (if you are so inclined), just to name a couple. There were people running around with bubble machines, hammocks amongst the trees and as the sun went down, a display of light to silhouette the palms and installations lit up the grounds. Think of every music festival you’ve ever been to… then at steroids… its mega.
Catching Florence and the Machine as she interpretive danced her way across stage, eventually breaking her foot (LOVE HER).
Trying to figure out if that really was Madonna macking on Drake and if so why did she sound so average, I thought she was good live?
Playing in the bubbles.
Running around the caterpillar turned butterfly.
EATING – the food was awesome.
Dancing in the 100 thou strong crowd and NOT getting trodden on.
A couple quick things I leant for next time:
- You can definitely do Coachella last minute as I did, however preplanning your trip and your days is key to getting the most out of your weekend.
- If you decide to camp, bring a warm blanket for those hours when the desert chill kicks in but be prepared to potentially wake up on fire as the sun comes up – there is no escape.
- Stockpile water for the heat and next day hangover hydration. Bring powerbars for that unexpected need for food when it’s not around.
- If the fashion side of Coachella is particularly important to you, ensure you find somewhere to have a proper shower. This may mean opting to stay at one of the many hotels or motels in Palm Springs as opposed to camping. We stayed at Vestal Village camp which was awesome and had onsite showers however I did sneak over to a local friends place to wash my hair and do my makeup each day.
- Be prepared to be washing dust out of your nose continuously for a few days after.
- Use the Coachella App to map out your day, explore what activities and food is available and utilise the Find My Friends section because once you loose someone, you ain’t getting them back easily with the limited reception available.
- Make sure your phone is fully charged and you have a back up battery ready. There are a couple of charging stations and some tents that have wifi but don’t rely on it.
- Bring fold up sandals or more comfortable footwear small enough to fit in your bag for that long entrance walk and the 11th hour hobble to back bed.
Looking forward to next year!
Ash Stewart || Max Collett || Matt Willett || Sam Moore – Desert Squad MVP ||