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My Very First Coachella

It’s been a little over three weeks since I experienced my first Coachella Valley Music Festival (just “Coachella” for you cool kids). Obvi, I survived and thankfully didn’t end up with any serious injuries. More than what I can say for at least one person in our campsite. I researched what to expect and what to pack quite diligently in an effort that I wouldn’t be totally unprepared. I’m proud to say that most of my preparation was useful, while what was not directly useful likely warded off any “if you don’t have it, you’ll need it” issues.


Here’s what I learned to expect and to pack (aside from the obvious necessities) from going to my very first Coachella party:

Don’t plan on showering. At all. Bring baby wipes, dry shampoo, and body spray. The lines to the showers at the campsite are literally hours long. And people started lining up at some point before 8 am. Yes, because at 8 am, I really want to be hungover and standing in line with a bunch of other hungover, smelly people waiting to take a shower for over an hour with the hot desert sun beating down on me.

I showered Thursday night so that I’d be all fresh and clean before heading to the campsite Friday. Now before you judge me (don’t act like you’re not), understand that I didn’t shower Friday morning because I am NOT a morning person. I probably saved Nic’s life by allowing myself to sleep as long as possible.

Bring an easy up tent and be sure to stake it down (or take it down each night). You will regret not having an easy up, if you’re camping at Coachella. The sun rises at a ridiculous hour and it starts heating up shortly after. It also makes for a great communal area if you are with a group, like we were. We set our sleeping tents up directly behind our cars and then our easy up tents behind those. When everyone did this, we had a 2×4 area of easy up tents in the middle and we could sit around and chat under them. The second part of this tip’s importance is illustrated in the photo below.


I suppose I should say, “stake it down really well”. Our easy up tent was staked down and tied to another easy up tent. And as you can see from the picture above, that fact did not prevent 50+ mph winds from ripping it out of the ground and flipping it over our tent. The wind literally bent the arms of the easy up! Thankfully this happened on Sunday night, and we were leaving Monday.

On Monday, there was a graveyard of easy up tents which looked just like this one below.


Bring layers and a light blanket. It gets effing cold and windy at night! The aforementioned 50+ mph winds make what would normally be decent weather straight frigid. If you’re planning on hanging out at your campsite ’til the wee hours, a light blanket will keep you from shivering your way through really meaningful and life-altering conversations. And if you’re planning on being up ’til 4 am at the silent disco, it gets chilly. Sunday night was so cold that I had jeans, two sweatshirts, and a scarf (also used for face protection from the wind and dirt flying around) on. You really don’t know what the California desert will bring at night weather-wise, so it doesn’t hurt to bring extra layers.

The breakfast sandwiches at this breakfast stand next to the general store will change your life. And cure your hangover.  Just trust me on this one. Oh, and they’re cash only.


Bring lots of trash bags. Because your campsite will look like this.


Bring lots of water. And then bring even more. While Coachella’s vendors sell water for $2 a bottle (and have since like, ever), it’s a pain to keep returning to the general store anytime you’re parched. I bought a case of water for myself and that still wasn’t enough to last me through Monday morning. Granted, everyone in our campsite shared water, beer, food, etc., I still would have preferred I purchased more water.

Have a blast! I was lucky enough to meet up with so many of my friends and make so many new friends. That’s the best part of music festivals, aside from the obvious (festival food and watching the bands).

nata nic and steph coachella

Reunited and it feels so good!

I’m so so so looking forward to going to Coachella — assuming I’m lucky enough to get tickets again! Who has been to Coachella, or another music festival? What are your necessities for survival?

About In Natalie's Shoes

I’m a twenty-something food fanatic. By day, I’m working for a non-profit, by night I’m dreaming of becoming a domestic goddess, creating adorable crafts to gift and engineering delicious home cooked meals for the fabulous dinner parties I’ll one day throw. I love to travel, locally, regionally… heck, even internationally, I don’t discriminate too much when it comes to a new destination. I am a little obsessed with taking photos of the food I eat, whether I make it or pay to eat it. It is my firm belief that a girl can never have enough purses or too many shoes. I plan to fill this lovely little blog with my adventures in food, travel, and craftiness. I hope you enjoy!

11 responses »

  1. Good to know!! I am working Reggae on the River this summer and have (had) no idea how to be prepared! Glad you had a fun time!!

    • Oooh! Are you a fellow Californian? Or just visiting for the festival? Either way, I’m glad you could make use of my festival experience 🙂

  2. I always freeze gallons of watee to use as ice for first few days and then drink. Might not last as long in cali but still useful im sure

  3. Looks like some serious fun! Makes me so mad how much vendors charge for food, I always over pack for things like that so I don’t have to pay 10x the amount to survive.

    • I anticipated this, too! I brought a gazillion granola bars, chips, and crackers, since none of them would melt in the hot desert sun. Surprisingly, the food wasn’t as expensive as I had thought it would be. It always helps to save some money for important stuff, like beer, though! 🙂

  4. So fun! I always wanted to go to Coachella! I’ve been to a lot of music festivals and these tips would be perfect for all of them. 🙂

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