Here are a few things I learned as a first time Coachella go-er:
1. Rent a locker! – The great thing about Coachella is that it’s in the desert, so you can rock a bikini all day every day because it’s about 90 degrees outside. The not so great thing about Coachella is that the temperature drops about 30 degrees at night, so it gets into the 60’s, and let’s face it: no one wants to lug around a sweatshirt all day long. The lockers sold out before we even got there, so next year I’ll be remembering to rent one ahead of time. (http://lockersonline.com/)
2. Plan a meeting place – The most frustrating thing about the weekend was that there is barely any phone service inside the empire polo club where Coachella is held. Sure, your phone will say you have 5 bars, but you’ll be wondering all night why your friends haven’t responded to your texts, until you leave and all of a sudden, you have 20 texts at once from everyone wondering where you are and why you’re not responding to them. My advice? Plan a meeting place with a certain time to meet everyone when you get separated (and believe me, with 75,000 people, you will get separated at some point). My landmark was the ferris wheel.
3. Buy a shuttle pass – We rented a house in Palm Springs about 15 minutes from the festival, and Valley Music Travel provides a shuttle that leaves from the Embassy hotel 3 miles up the street and takes you to and from the venue and bypasses traffic. Its 90$ for the weekend, but worth not having the hassle of sitting in traffic or worrying about drinking and driving. http://valleymusictravel.com/coachella_shuttles.php
4. RSVP – Make sure you RSVP if you want to attend the pool parties! The Saguaro Hotel and Ace Hotel in Palm Springs are the typical party spots, but a little bit of a drive from the festival.
5. Find a place of abode – We rented a gorgeous house in Palm Springs from this company: http://www.ps4rent.com. I'd also recommend www.airbnb.com and www.homeaway.com for great rental sites.
6. Bring water - If you're going to camp, bring lots and lots of water! I camped last year and we all ran out of water our first day. It is a very long walk to the festival, and water is very expensive. Stock up.
7. Download the set list – Beware, there are numerous different stages and tents, so be sure to download the schedule ahead of time so you don’t miss any favorite band performances!
8. Pregame or Die (or bring a flask) – Another annoyance for us attendees is that you’re only allowed to drink inside the “Beer Garden,” so in other words, you can’t drink and watch a show at the same time (at least up close). My advice is to have a few drinks ahead of time if you want to have a nice buzz going while dancing to your favorite jams on stage. Or you can do what I did and bring a flask. I brought mine last year and they didn't take it. I poured my drink into it at the bar, placed it back in my purse, and brought it to the stage so I could drink and watch the show at the same time :)
9. Plan accordingly - Buy tickets, shuttle passes and lockers ahead of time! All 3 sold out, so a few of us were scrambling trying to get tickets and make sure our friends could get to and from the venue. Preparation is key.
10. Misc - Other randoms: bring a comfortable shoulder bag, stock up on water (you can bring unopened bottles), sunblock, and anything else you may need.