Get there early. There are some terrific well-known acts at the end of each festival day, but this year’s lineup really shines when (pun intended) the sun is still out. The afternoons are chock full of on-the-rise acts (many are young, while others are side-projects of veteran artists), and almost all of them give strong live performances that bring something new to the table. Instead of getting buzzed with friends at your hotel, use the day as an opportunity to step outside of your musical comfort zone and discover new artists. We particularly recommend the Mojave Tent on Friday and pretty much all the tents on Sunday afternoon.
Pack a scarf. A scarf is the pocketknife of Coachella—you can drape it over yourself if it gets cold; use it to blot sweat when it’s hot; pick a bright color or pattern, and it becomes a way to make it easier for friends to find you. Most importantly, you’ll need a scarf as a dust mask when you walk back to your car through clouds of dust kicked up at the end of the day, not to mention the odd wind/dust storm that might overtake the festival grounds. Did we mention there was dust?
Rent a locker. There are a lot of overpriced rip-offs at Coachella, but locker rentals are not one of them. At $53 for three days, the price is a little steep but the lockers are roomy enough to share with friends to help cut the cost, and they’re a lot more convenient, comfortable and safe than lugging around a backpack full of hoodies, Nalgenes and sunscreen. The locker area is also conveniently located near a phone charging station. Rentals for Weekend 2 are still available.
Be safe rather than sorry. That illegal thing you’re thinking about bringing into the festival, hidden in your shoe or underwear? Don’t. Wherever you think security won’t check, they probably will. But they’re not the ones to worry about—if they find something on you, they usually just throw it away. Inside, the festival is crawling with undercover cops eager to use a litany of probable cause excuses to search you and throw you in handcuffs.
See Blur and Grinderman. Last week’s clashing set times between Blur and Grinderman—the two hardest-to-see bands playing the festival—were a major faux pas. Luckily, organizers flipped the set times for Blur and the Stone Roses for weekend two, opening the opportunity to catch ‘em both. As two of the strongest sets of the entire festival last weekend, you won’t regret being able to check both of these artists off of your bucket list.