Lace and suede are flying off of the shelves of your favorite clothing stores. Vanessa Hudgens is somewhere picking out body jewels and buying hair extensions. There is a floral/hippy epidemic on your Instagram/Twitter/Tumblr that is particularly obnoxious. Obviously, this can only mean that we are in the midst of Coachella Season. It's happening. Be cool.
For the next 2 weekends, Indio, CA, home to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, will be overrun with music lovers and party-goers from all over the globe. Weekend 1 and Weekend 2 are both identical 3 day festivals, with 12 hours of concerts and events, and after-parties that stretch into the wee hours of the morning.
This year, the musical lineup consists of artists like Drake, The Weeknd, AC/DC, Hozier and Florence and the Machine. If you've managed to score tickets, I know you're probably counting the days. But, whether this is your first year or your 5th year, there are a few steps you should take to make sure you remember this weekend for all of the right reasons.
Prepare for weather
Drink tons and tons of water. It's the desert. You're going to be hot, sweating and dehydrated. There will probably be a lot of chugging, make sure most of that is water.
Apply sunblock and chapstick regularly. Or you will burn. Not fun.
Bring comfortable clothes for the heat and layers for night. It will be scorching during the day, but it will get a little chillier once the sun sets. Make sure you bring whatever you'll need to be comfortable. A hat will also be a life saver.
Stay clean. There are showers available, though you will have to wait for them. If you're camping, it may not be convenient to find a washroom, but always take pride in your appearance. You never know who you'll meet.
Have a schedule. Plan which sets you want to go to, when and where you and your friends will meet, and allow time to get from place to place. This way, when things get crazy, you'll be organized.
Pack smart but thoroughly. Bring allergy medicine, pain reliever and any other meds you need, in their original bottles so they're not confiscated. You should also pack a scarf for sand storms and ear plugs so you don't go deaf from the blaring speakers. The port-o-potties will likely run out of supplies, so come with your own toiletries; including wet wipes, face wipes, hand sanitizer and tissues.
Research bands ahead of time. You already know which headliners you want to see, but don't sleep on the smaller acts. When the set list is released, spend time figuring out which bands you want to see and which you'd like to pass on.
Bring more cash than you think you need. There are merchants and food vendors that are going to be taunting you all weekend. You also don't want to find yourself in the middle of the desert with no cash.
Download any apps that will make your life easier. The Coachella app will keep you organized when planning your day. A car finder app will also be a lifesaver when you're not quite sure where you parked.
Camp on site or rent a house. Skip the hotel, at least for your first year. Camping on site is a right of passage, but renting a house lets you live in style and make the best of your downtime.
Drink at night when it's cooler. You'll be dehydrated in the hot, hot sun all day. Save the binge drinking for the evening. Not only will you be less likely to pass out, you'll also be able to party longer.
Save your cell battery. You should definitely bring a portable charger. But, just in case that dies on you too (been there), save your cell battery. Once it's gone, you're going to miss it.
Label everything w/ contact info. That way, if anything is lost (like your camera, phone, etc), people will know how to return it to you.
Don't bring anything expensive. Losing your expensive pair of designer sunglasses or your favorite bracelet in a crowd of hundreds can be devastating. Leave anything you'd be sad to lose at home.
Pace yourself. Coachella is a 3 day festival, with 12 hour days. Slow and steady, guys.
Buy merch early. The lines will get ridiculously long as the day goes on. Buy any merch that you want when you first arrive.
Be social. Branch out and make friends. This is no the place for wallflowers and hermits. Make this the weekend that you let loose and make memories.
Be zen. You will be waiting a lot, whether it's to get into the venue, for the bathroom, for food, to leave… so there's really no point in being in a bad mood. Treat it like LA traffic. Zen out and enjoy the experience.
Explore. There will be so much to do and see, it may be overwhelming. Take time to walk around and take in the scenery. Take tons of pictures, just in case you don't remember much later.
Listen to new music. Festivals are the perfect place to expand your musical palette. You have access to some of the world's greatest talent. Soak it up. After all, despite the parties and the craziness, this is why you came.