Yeah, maybe if you're not there! Coachella was one of the coolest experiences I've ever had. Not an understatement and definitely not overrated.
Wow. I really don't know where to begin.
I met Alyssa a few weeks ago. She's from Austin, and so of course we immediately bonded over our Texas common roots. It's the best! She gets me in all the ways I want to be got. She's my newest LA friend, and now roommate!
It is because of this beautiful soul that I got to go to Coachella in the first place. I was planning on saving and going next year, but Alyssa texted me saying she had a friend surprise her with VIP tickets...and asked if I wanted to tag along.
What kind of question is that?! Of course I said yes...
We left Saturday morning. She had been to a few Coachellas before, and I'm just not the type to need a ton of time at the festival... We made our way to Palm Springs in a relaxed fashion, leaving LA around 10.
It put us there around 1, we hit World Market for some aloe drinks (what better way to prevent the sun from killing you than glowing with it from the inside out...) and various assortments of things we might need throughout the next few days, i.e. hats.
Because we learned that we were going to the festival five days before, we had only one choice of housing, and that was air bnb. Which was a life-saver. Once seeing the campsites with my own two eyes, I was never more sure of a decision I've made. Or more happy about it.
Coachella is in the desert. The middle of the desert. With dirt, dust, and high winds. Being in it all day long is rough enough, let alone sleeping in it all night when you're trying to do some tiny bit of recovering before you rinse and repeat in it the next day. The place was six miles from the park, and not too bad on the $$$. Plus, we were only paying for one night. Another perk of strolling in on Saturday.
We drove up to the park in pure unfiltered excitement. Beaming with anxiousness we rolled down the window and let the parking attendant know we had VIP parking. Before Alyssa could finish the sentence we were cut off and told that we had to get the special pass - at a resort fifteen minutes away.
We were incredulous. Not the hugest of roadblocks but when you're one hundred yards from Coachella... We drove away in slight defeat, but still excitement. Until we were also denied at the parking pass desk. The band had pulled all the parking passes, including ours. It wasn't there. We were stranded and didn't want to uber because of the huge pain it would be at 2AM. We were left out in the cold. Or the hot.
Until we saw the buses. Shuttle buses - genius idea! We left the car in the lot, walked up, asked if we could ride, were granted, and got right onboard. Within thirty minutes or so, we were successfully in the park.
Once we got there...VIP was incredible. There was a separate entrance which spared us from the lines and interrogation of the masses. It had more food/drink selections, and most importantly more bathroom selections (a true gift from above). It was a refreshing retreat when the crowds got too intense and the sun got too hot.
Fast forward to just around 2am after a bunch of fun was had, many songs were heard and pizza was on the horizon.
We had the MOST incredible brick oven pizza, and we were both extremely into it. We each had one in our hands and were walk-running while trying to shield it from the dirt with our bodies, while eating it simultaneously - scampering to the shuttle to try to beat at least some of the crowds.
Hard stop. A hand was in our face and we both almost toppled backwards out of distracted unawareness of the huge dude blocking our path.
"Where's your shuttle pass," he inquired.
WHAT!!! Learning lesson from this is, even if they initially tell you that you can simply walk onto the shuttle - if it's too good to be true, it totally is.
Nonetheless I suppose we looked pitiful covered in dirt with tomato sauce on our faces so he let us through. But otherwise, we would've been in a world of hurt.
Other than the parking/shuttle incident, there was only one other.
Coachella is in the middle of the desert. Not just a desert, but a large, dirt and dead grass covered field. And a ton of wind.
That is a recipe for absolute disaster for someone with an unfortunate lung disorder commonly labeled as asthma.
Day 1, and I knew there'd be trouble. It was tolerable, and I continued through the day hoping that if I ignored it, it would disappear. We were having too much fun, I couldn't peel us away for something so crazy as my lack of inhaler - I'm no idiot.
Yeah right what an idiot. As if I haven't had this condition for 23 years. Anyway...
I slept zero hours that night. Maybe 30 minutes. I could not breathe, and I was panicking with anxiety. However I did not want to make a trip to the ER; I didn't feel like stirring up trouble (or paying the steep after-hour fees) and figured I could wait until the morning. Once I woke up from my 'nap', I did feel slightly less inflamed, but insisted that we go get Benadryl at the very least.
It quelled the pain - until we were back in the park. It finally built up so much that I had to make a trip to the medic tent. Hey, at least it was free? Resourceful? I think so.
I sucked down some HEAVENLY albuterol for a good thirty minutes or so, and they sent me on my way. I was by no means totally better, but it'd be enough to carry me through the next few hours. It made me shaky and weak, but I could do it.
So my largest and most important advice is this - if you have any type of allergies or asthma issues, do NOT step foot into this festival without a bandana for your face, Benadryl, and an inhaler. The inhaler is an absolute requirement.
ANYWAY medical rant is complete now.
Other than those pointers, my suggestion is all the sunscreen you can apply, light clothing, and style. It is an inevitable amazing experience, take it all in and have an open mind.
Some of the bigger artists:
Guns N' Roses
Matt and Kim (got lucky and saw them twice in one week)
Rufus de Sol
others I can't remember - you see so many it really does become a blur. Poor me. :)
The music and environment is magical, and I am so lucky that I got to experience it with such a good friend. Here's to you, Alyssa! Thank you!