I got to cross off a major experience off my bucket list this year: the Coachella Music Festival.
On Thursday April 10th, my friend Janna and I flew into LA to meet up with my friends Katrina and Melody. We drove through Palm Springs, Palm Desert, to get to Indio to attend Coachella Weekend 1. While my friend Melody was a Coachella Veteran – attending the festival four times since she moved to LA from Seattle, Janna, Katrina, and I had never been to the music festival.
While I’m grateful to see #Beychella Beyonce and Destiny’s Child take the stage on day 2 of the festival, I can’t help but reflect on all the other elements of Coachella that you AREN’T seeing on Instagram feeds and blogs.
Here are 7 Things You Don’t See on Instagram About Coachella
Last day of #Coachella2018! Vance Joy and Cardi B were amazing😭 By the way, I like to describe my #festivalstyle as summer/spring picnic vibes 😂 I’m all about the lightweight rompers and dresses in this desert heat! ☀️ how would you describe your festival style?! 📷: @palmtreesandpellegrino @rocketdogfootwear #coachella2018 #springtrends #musicfestivals #RDxME #sponsoredpost #rocketdogfootwear
1. The Real Coachella: The shuttle line can take 2 hours
What does it mean to attend a music festival of over 100,000+ people? A 2 hour+ wait to get on the shuttle to get home…
The first night of Coachella, the Weeknd put on an incredible hour and half long performance. He wrapped up around 12:45am and my friends and I made our way through the hordes of people to the shuttle stop. I was flabbergasted when we got in line for the shuttle at 1am and didn’t aboard the shuttle until 3am.
We stayed in La Quinta, only a 20-25 min shuttle ride to the music festival grounds. But there was only ONE shuttle stop in La Quinta so at the end of the night, the line was incredibly long because the shuttles could only take so many people at a time.
2. You see the creative ways people try to sneak in alcohol inside Coachella
On the third day of the music festival, security was going through everyone’s bags. They were taking out jackets and picnic blankets, shaking them out, opening sunglasses cases, and more.
We witnessed one of the security guards grab a bottle of sunscreen. She was shaking the bottle, smelling it, and closely examining it. At first, I was annoyed because it was just sunscreen and it was even sealed. The security guard unsealed the sunscreen and squeezed out vodka!! The entire crowd gasped, oohed ahhed, and applauded the efforts. We saw the guy who tried to sneak in the alcohol ask for his sunscreen bottle back. The security guard handed it back to him after she emptied out the alcohol.
3. What sucks about Coachella? The aggressive crowd
A crowd of over 100,000+ people (who may or may not be intoxicated), standing in the heat all day, and most likely tired by the headliner at 11pm got pretty aggressive at times. Before the Weeknd came onto the stage, I almost had a panic attack because I was so overwhelmed by the crowd. I almost cried because I was stuck in a crowd that was shoving and pushing. My heart rate was elevated the rest of the concert…
The next day, my friend Katrina and I decided to stand/sit a mile away from the stage to watch Beyonce and the crowd was still aggressive. A few fights and confrontations almost broke out because people were trying to walk through the crowds that had sat down or groups were trying to make their way closer.
4. What else is a struggle at Coachella? The cigarette smoke
Is it me or is smoking cigarettes becoming trendy again? I try not to let it bother me when people smoke around me… but when you’re in the middle of a crowd of thousands of people, it’s pretty difficult to get away from the people smoking sprinkled in the crowd. You’re kind of stuck where you’re at especially around the Main Stage area.
5. Coachella Cough
While we didn’t experience any dust storms while we were in desert, there was still plenty of dust as you made your way from the parking lots and shuttle stops to the entrance of the festival. I didn’t realize that I would inhale so much dust… I brought a bandana but didn’t use it because initially the dust didn’t bother me too much.
The dust plus being exposed to thousands of people = contracting the Coachella Cough by the third day of the festival. I tried to boost my immune system by putting Emergen-C packets in one water bottle for I entered the festival that day but it didn’t prove to be enough. My entire friend group was coughing by the third day of the festival and I was pretty sick the rest of the week.
6. How Much You Actually Walk at Coachella
If you’ve been to Disneyland or traveled through Europe, you’ll probably be okay with the amount you walk during the music festival. Coachella is spread out across 8 different stages/tents, beer gardens, pop up day clubs, art installations, and brand sponsored tents. Everyone kept talking about how much you walk and some people even told me they started working out just so they handle the amount of walking through the festival. But personally, I wasn’t surprised by how much you walk. We walked a total of 20 miles in 3 days.
One piece of advice I would share to anyone going to the festival for the first time is to wear comfortable, closed toe sneakers/shoes! I wore closed toe espadrilles one of the days and was also fine. I saw some girls in platform heels and regular sandals. While you look cute, your feet will hurt at the end of the day. Your feet will most likely also get stepped on as you navigate your way through the crowds! So that’s why I recommend closed toe shoes.
7. $2 Water Bottles but $9 Ice Cream Cones
It was 90 degrees each day we entered the music festival so I was grateful that the music festival kept water cheap! You aren’t allowed to bring water bottles (even if they’re unopened) into the music festival but you can bring a clear, empty water bottle. We actually had a hard time finding the water filling stations so I just bought 2 water bottles right when I entered the music festival each day. Once I finished one water bottle, I immediately bought another to ensure I always had 2 waters in my backpack.
While the water was cheap, food prices were comparable to a baseball/football stadium. Ice cream cones were $9, nachos (with chicken) were $15, and a slice of pizza was $8. I opted for the $4 Popsicle on the third day of the music festival. My advice would be to make sure you eat a good breakfast/lunch BEFORE you enter the music festival.
There you have it friends – the 7 things you don’t see on Instagram about Coachella!
It’s Coachella Day 2 but I didn’t show you guys my Coachella Day 1 outfit so here it is lolol ✌🏽 We saw Kygo, Sza, and The Weeknd at the Main Stage last night and they were amazing 😱 Also almost had a panic attack between the Kygo & Sza set last night cause I’ve never felt so squished and overwhelmed in a sea of thousands of people last night… but don’t worry guys I got some air and had fun!☺️💛 #coachella2018 #palmdesert #festivalfashions #musicfestivalseason #chella #desertstyle
What are other things did you experience about Coachella that you weren’t expecting?
Thank you to Bailey Blue Clothing for the Field of Flowers Romper! This romper is lightweight and perfect for the hot and sunny weather in Palm Springs! Thank you for reading!
Photos: Michelle Tellez