Ready and rarin' to go for Coachella? If you packed days ago, drove up Wednesday or Thursday morning and didn't over do it at the parties last night, then you probably are. Goodie for you. But those of us preparing to battle Friday traffic in hopes of getting there before sunset tonight, well, we might need a little planning help. As a seasoned Coachella vet who's been to every fest except the first, we've done it all (often all wrong) over the years. We've forgotten our phone/camera batteries, brought inappropriate clothing, gone sick minus meds, etc. The heat and endless walking are much worse if you're not prepared, trust us. Here, we share our Coachella wisdom (with some photos from last year) for newbies and those who need a little reminding. Consider these Do's and Dont's before you make the trek (and once you get there) for a headache-free experience. Other kinds of aches will be unavoidable.
DO the Coachooser schedule planner on the Coachella website. There will be little booklets there, but you will lose them & find them (with other people's circled choices) throughout the weekend. Too confusing. Your print-out, even if you lose that, will at very least mentally prepare you for the experience.
DO be amibitious about what artists you'd like to see and DON'T be bummed if you don't get to all of 'em.
DO wear a good deodorant. PLEASE! (See photo)
DON'T do drugs Friday night, you'll burn out for the weekend. Fatties during Jay-Z don't count.
DON'T bring your kids unless you have VIP access and noise-reducing headphones.
If you DO bring the li'l ones, DON'T miss DJ Lance Rock at 2 p.m. Friday (we hear some of his colorful friends from Gabbaland might be making an appearance).
DO designate a meeting place for friends. Always. The Lion statue near the ID check in the VIP area has been ours for years.
DON'T get all excited when you see the windmills driving on your way to Indio. You still have a good hour 'til you're at the Polo Field (in traffic even longer).
Girls: DON'T wear stuff from that recent shopping spree at Forever 21, Target or Old Navy unless you want to see your dress doppelgangers everywhere. If you're fashion-conscious and care about such things, wear vintage.
Girls: DO wear waterproof makeup. It lasts longer.
Girls: DO bring a warm sweater for the evening. The desert at night gets cold and the weatherman indicates this may be the case this weekend.
DO bring a hat. If it's really hot, pour cold water into it. It keeps the head cool for hours.
DO watch where you're walking. People fall asleep on the grass. A lot.
DON'T spread rumors about “secret” or suprise guests. Johnny Depp will not be joining John Waters. Lady Gaga and Beyonce will not join Jay-Z on stage. Dr. Dre,either.
DON'T try to use your all access wristband from last year to sneak backstage/sidestage this year. Surely, the organizers are on to this and made 'em a different color. Or did they?
DON'T feel inferior if you don't have the rainbow of wristbands your uber-connected friends have. It's actually not that much more fun back stage or in the artist's area. (Unless you think watching Danny Masterson, Lindsay Lohan and their ilk standing around self-consciously is fun…) We've wasted too much time doing this in years past, so we know. Hopping a ride on a golf cart back there is kinda cool, but whatevs, you can use the exercise.
DO bring essentials like: wipes, sunscreen, money, ID, Advil, allergy meds, a camera, ear plugs and your cell phone. If you're a dude, have a female friend tote these for you or consider a backpack or man-purse.
DO wear different shoes each day you go. Even your most comfy ones will leave a throbbing impression and something new will feel refreshing, promise.
DON'T Twitter about Coachella while drunk/stoned/too-tired (beat-tweet).
If you do tweet, DON'T say the band is “killing it.” It's tired and it means nothing. People not at the Fest want to know more.
DON'T eat too much Spicy Pie. It's really yummy, but you'll regret it when you have to visit the port-o-potties again and again.
DO go with a good attitude. Yes there will be all sorts of obnoxious and annoying too-cool “coach-bags” (as Diablo Cody coined about fest fucks last year), but there's also a lot of genuinely interesting people to meet. We're all there for the music, yes, but this awesome assembage of humanity is something to marvel at too, not get pissy about. If you're the type who doesn't like crowds, stay home.
DON'T let photogs like yours truly take pictures of you looking trashy (or trashed) if you don't want them seen on Facebook, Twitpics or LAWeekly.com.
All photos by Lina Lecaro.