Festival season kicks off Friday with Weekend 1 of the much-ballyhooed Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival running through Sunday in Indio, Calif.
From the weather to set times to coordinating schedules, there's a lot to keep track of -- which is why having a smartphone can be as handy for fest survival as chugging water, dressing in layers and wearing comfortable shoes.
Check out the list below for some of our favorite apps to help further facilitate your festival experience, from find your friends to saving you money; one even helps keep you hydrated. Expert tip: Be sure to download them before arriving at Coachella, where you’ll be competing with around 100,000 people for service (Verizon is purported to have the best coverage in the area, while AT&T has the worst).
Get the 411: Coachella 2013 Official App
This is the essential app to have, whether you’re going Weekend 1 or Weekend 2. There are a few other Coachella apps out there, but the official one (free and compatible for iPhone and Android) is particularly well-executed -- simple and intuitive. Its features include artist info, set times, a personal “favorites” list to help you pick and choose your sets and a detailed map that loops in your current location. This year's version also includes a handy grid that clearly maps out your selected set times and conflicts. Many of the features also can be used offline.
Find your friends: Glympse
In this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes—and getting split up from your friends at a festival. Which is where Glympse comes in handy. The safe, location-based social-networking app works allows you to send expirable notifications alerting contacts of your choice to your location. Your friends don’t have to have the app in order to receive your notifications, but if they do, you can view each others’ locations and follow trajectories on a map. Your pals and you will need an Internet connection to send and receive notifications, so it might still be wise to pick a meeting point beforehand. Glympse is free for iPhone and Android.
Find that song: Shazam
Whether it’s a catchy track from a band you’ve never heard of or an unknown B-side from a headliner, never let a great tune get by you again. Use Shazam to capture a song, live or recorded, as you’re listening to it to learn the name of the track and artist. The app also is a one-stop shop for all things music-related, allowing users to shop in iTunes, stream music videos, make playlists and share and discover new music with other users. Shazam is free for iPhone, Android, Blackberry and other devices; upgrade to the paid version ($3.99 per year) to gain access to other music-discovery apps like Spotify and Pandora.
Stay hydrated: Water Your Body
When you spend the day romping around to your favorite bands, it’s easy to want to reach for a beer or a Red Bull to quench your thirst—which makes it all the more important to drink enough water to combat dehydration. Water Your Body lets you track your water consumption and then plots it so that over time, you can correlate your hydration level with how you feel. The app also offers alarms to help remind you when it’s time to re-up on water; free for Android, $0.99 for iPhone.
Save money: GasBuddy
Going to and from Coachella means a substantial drive for most attendees, and today’s gas prices can put a real damper on what should otherwise be a fun road trip. Luckily, you can use GasBuddy to find the cheapest gas nearby even while you’re on the go. The app locates gas stations near you and then compares their current prices, which are constantly updated by GasBuddy’s community of users. You can even earn points toward a prize giveaway for every price you report. GasBuddy is free for iPhone, Android and Blackberry.
Combat boredom: Draw Something
From bathroom lines to set transitions, a substantial amount of time at Coachella can be spent in wait. If you’re lacking for company, popular interactive games like Draw Something and Words With Friends are a fun way to stay entertained and even engage your brain a little. Free versions of both apps are available for iPhone and Android.