A Coachella Survival Guide

Coachella Survival Guide - Sunset


Each April, music fans head to the desert for a festival like no other − the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Now in its fourteenth year, the three-day festival brings together today’s hottest acts. With Muse and recently reunited rap group Outkast headlining this year, it’s no wonder the tickets are sold out. Here’s your survival guide to help you look like a Coachella festival pro. 

Coachella Survival Guide - Festival in Full Swing

The Festival in full swing © EdenMorrison/Flickr


For first timers, Coachella is not in central Los Angeles but Indio, a desert town about twenty-five miles from Palm Springs. For those travelling from abroad to the festival, there’s no need to get behind the wheel. This year, Coachella is offering shuttles from Los Angeles Airport to the festival grounds and the most popular hotels. If cars are more your thing try Zimride, an economical rideshare site by Enterprise. Festivalgoers list their rides, and all you have to do is grab a seat. With attendance north of 80,000 people a day, for sanity and safety Coachella encourages you to carpool. Do so and you may even get some lifetime passes out of it. In 2007, the festival launched CARPOOLCHELLA, which awards a windfall of awesome prizes to those who carpool with four or more people, and write the aforementioned phrase on their car. 


The on-site campground is a favourite Coachella lodging option © EdenMorrison/Flickr


So, where to after the last band plays? Indio and its surrounding cities offer you many options to lay your head down after a rocking day in the sun. The most convenient would be the on-site campground. Adjacent to the festival grounds, Coachella-goers can pitch a tent, camp out of their car, or rent a luxurious Safari Tent. Think of it as glamping with amenities like showers, an internet café, and even a farmer’s market. But if you prefer the comfort of a hotel bed, there are plenty of options on offer, from the more budget friendly Westin Desert Willows to the funky Saguaro Hotel, both of which are on the festival shuttle path. However, the La Quinta Resort & Club is the closest hotel to the festival itself. And if none of those options catch your fancy there’s always Air BnB, for a home from home in the desert. 

Coachella Survival Guide - Festivalgoers

Festivalgoers taking in the live music © Fred von Lohmann/Flickr


For 2014, line-up highlights include an array of acts from every music genre imaginable. Expect to see newcomers like A$AP Ferg and Lorde alongside huge names like Calvin Harris and Pharrell Williams. Your hardest task will be deciding what to see next. When you want some down time from watching your favourite artists there are lots of other activities to keep you busy too. Why not fill up on a four-course meal, served family-style by some great chefs whilst relaxing in the beautiful Coachella Rose Garden? Or if you’re a records aficionado, stock up on some new music at the impressive vinyl emporium, curated by Coachella staff. But most importantly have fun and download the official Coachella Festival App to keep on top of everything.


Coachella at night © Joanna Kalafatis/Flickr


Header photo: Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival at sunset © EdenMorrison/Flickr


Virgin Atlantic operates direct flights to Los Angeles from London Heathrow. Book your flight today.


Are you a Coachella expert? Share your handy festival tips in the comments below.


Written by Lauren Garroni

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About Lauren Garroni

Lauren Garroni is a freelance writer and founder of the blog TheBreathless (www.thebreathless.com). Born on the East Coast and raised on the West Coast, she currently calls Laurel Canyon her home. When not participating in such Los Angeles clichés as hiking and Pilates, she can be found scouring flea markets for the perfect coffee table.
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