April 13, 2011

Coachella 101: How to Survive your First Music Festival ~ Lindsay McClure

Bonus:  7 Types of People at Coachella


Get your s!@# together and go.

Every year as April rolls around, an influx of music-loving 20 to 30 somethings invade the rather quiet retirement communities of Palm Springs and Indio, California, to have one hell of a great fcuking time.

I can see it now.

A trail of cigarette butts line California’s Route 111 into Indio. The road is congested with camper vans, tie-dyed VW wagons, and the girl who is already 10 shots of Burnett’s Vodka deep on top of that same VW—yes those are breasts.

Since traffic is stopped you share a roach with the sunburned hipster to your left; despite the heat, he will leave his beanie on. You may say these are stereotypes, but come on:

This is the quintessential Coachella Music Festival experience. And I love it.

If this will be your first time at Coachella, you’re going with no expectations. So many different walking stereotypes come to the desert to listen to the ultimate multi-genre lineup that the fans truly make the festival so extraordinary. It’s a beautiful place: you can watch Crystal Castles, Cee Lo Green, and Flogging Molly all in the same day. Equally as impressive, hipsters and hippies confide in each other as they translate Arcade Fire lyrics.

(Click here for set times)

Digging back to our roots, Woodstock came and went—it was epic, raw, and real. Giving credit where credit is due, Woodstock was legendary and undoubtedly provided the tutelage for future music festivals like Coachella, Bonaroo, and Rothbury, to name a few.

Drugs. They are a large part of music—it’s a fact. It almost defines a generation, where acid dripped from the 70’s, cocaine rocked with Poison in the 80’s-90’s, and ecstasy rolls with Bassnectar in the 2000’s.  It’s a part of the experience that I am not in any way promoting, but you should be prepared when you are offered a few tabs from an Elvis impersonator.

Hey, it happens.

Coachella is an unimaginable experience and you will make it to be your own. You are granted the gift of leaving reality for a weekend, enjoying the company of both new and old friends, all while your pupils dilate to the pure rhythmic pulse of the music and festival itself.

Helpful Tips:

1. Don’t forget the important stuff. Make sure you have your wristband on at all times. Self-explanatory.

2. Wear your bathing suit. You will be in a constant sweat from the heat, booze and water hoses if you’re lucky enough to shower in them.

3. Bring a jacket. Don’t leave your hotel or tent without it. You are in a desert, so naturally temperatures can get up to the high 90’s during the day but also the low 50’s after the sun sets. Don’t be the guy or girl who plans to rage all night half naked—this is how you get sick. Sick = not a good experience.

4. Sunscreen. Probably one of the most important things to constantly have on and around you; it’s gold. Random people will loathe you because you don’t look like a Las Vegas buffet lobster. Go shirtless, have fun—don’t burn because you will not be comfortable if this happens. The only shade is in the tents, and even then sun comes in. Bring hats and comfortable shoes. Barefoot is fine because grass covers the field.

5. Get cash. The venue will only accept cash for any purchases—this includes food, water, and artist merchandise. You should easily bring about $60 every day and keep it in a safe pocket, or boyfriend’s wallet.

6. No cell phone zone. Because over 100,000 people will be at the venue, cell phone reception is pretty much a no-go. Make sure you and your friends have a time and place to meet up. If you need to charge your phone because you’ve been playing Words With Friends in between sets, there are some mobile stations you can use.

7. Don’t drink and drive. This is not a sober festival. I commend the golden people who choose to be sober and can safely drive their friends back to the hotel. However, if you are not sober, you know it’s not safe to get behind the wheel. This is obvious, but just to warn, you will see police at almost every intersection from the festival into Palm Springs. They are looking for people who are willing to put their friends in danger, end their festival and get a felony. Don’t be that person.

8. Lots and lots of water. Take this advice, if any. You need to stay as hydrated as possible; the sun will soak the water out of your pores and the mixture of alcohol and drugs will dehydrate you further. It is extremely dangerous and all too common—you can become very ill very fast. If you buy a water bottle inside, you can refill it at several stations throughout the lawns.

9. Don’t sweat the small stuff. You might not be able to see all 70 sets you hoped and dreamed of seeing. Go with the flow and make sure you see the artists you came to see. Coachella is an amazing experience. Take pictures and have a kick-ass weekend.

Songs to look forward to this year:

Mumford & Sons- The Cave

Skrillex- Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites

Animal Collective- My Girls

Ellie Goulding- Lights

Cee Lo Green- Fuck You

The Strokes- Reptilia

Flogging Molly- If I Ever Leave This World Alive

The Arcade Fire- Wake Up

Lindsay resides in Boulder, Colorado, where she’s studying Journalism and Environmental Studies as an undergrad at the University of Colorado.

She is a true Aries and her aura colors are violet/yellow. Lindsay spends most of her time with her best friend, a 5-year-old Siberian Husky/wolf mix, Nanuk. They can be seen climbing, running, and biking the paths of Boulder.

Lindsay believes in environmentalism, jelly beans and green tea.

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