A Pre-Guide to Coachella

A whole bunch of Pinoys have flown out/are flying out to California to see the Coachella Music and Arts Festival this year. This being my tenth, and probably last, Coachella, a number of friends have asked me for tips regarding the festival. Because of laziness, and for posterity’s sake, I’ve decided to put everything on two pages. So without further ado, here is my personal guide for preparing for Coachella!

Now is the time, my friends. This is that window when something at work or personal life suddenly comes up and friends of your friends can no longer make it to Coachella. When I run out of tickets this is usually the time I strike. Craigslist.com is always a good source, though if you want something less shady, asking your friends who are going if their friends are selling tickets works 80% of the time.

Also, don’t buy VIP tickets. VIP tickets get you: shorter lines, access to better food trucks, a less crowded beer garden and opportunities to run into celebrities. They also give you a VIP area that is extremely far away from the stage. Not worth paying double the price.

People always ask which is the better weekend to go to, and the misconception is that weekend one is better. From someone who’s gone to both, this is not completely true. There are pros and cons to both weekends. Weekend One usually has all the celebrities, and for sure has most of the surprises. Weekend Two, on the other hand, is less bro-y and more about the music, and you can have a more curated experience knowing all the setlists, best reviewed performances, and special guests. I wouldn’t have gone to the front to see the Tupac Hologram if I hadn’t known about it from Weekend One, and I wouldn’t have watched Sia’s life-changing performance last year if I didn’t read all the reviews about it as well.


Virtual Tupac. One of the most bizarre things that’s ever happened at Coachella.

This year will be the first year I’m going to Coachella Valley twice. The first weekend will be for Desert X and parties, the second weekend will be for Coachella proper. I feel in my heart that this is the way to go, hahaha.

Coachella takes place in the Empire Polo Field in Indio. There are lots of hotels and resorts nearby that are shuttle stops. Those are kind of fun, especially Friday afternoons, because everyone is pumped and the shuttles get really rowdy. However, once Sunday night sets in everyone stinks and is tired and just wants to go home. My reco is to rent a multi-bedroom house in the surrounding areas (Desert Falls, Palm Springs, La Quinta, Palm Desert) with friends and bring a car. Going home is always nicer when you can kickback with friends and good air-conditioning, especially when it takes you two hours to get out of the parking lot.


Desert X, an exhibit of massive installations featured all throughout the Coachella Desert. Something worth thinking about going to outside of the festival. 


  1. SOMETHING WITH SHORT SLEEVES – Sorry to dash your Williamsburg dreams but this is not the place for buttoned-up long-sleeved shirts. It gets crazy searing dry sunburn hot in the Empire Polo Field. Wear something thin and breezy during the day. Or wear nothing at all.
  1. SHORTS, OR EVEN… CARGO SHORTS – I know guys. Cargo Shorts: so Pulp Summerslammy. But when you’re in Coachella and you need immediate access to the pocket-sized programme, your powerbank, your phone, your lighter, your wallet, your keys… you will never be more thankful in your life that you’re wearing cargo shorts.
  1. SHOES YOU DON’T LOVE- Many people use Coachella as a venue for OOTDs and showing off their favorite wardrobe. Trust me: they usually regret it. There’s so much sand and grime and sweat that it would be wiser to wear clothes that are on the way out. This especially applies to shoes. The more athletic and comfy, the better. You should also be ready to have it so covered in mud that even the insides get squishy (though this applies more to Governor’s Ball in New York). DON’T YOU DARE WEAR YOUR FAVORITE PAIR. Hey look, that rhymes.
  1. SHADES- And again, not super expensive ones that cost thousands of Pesos. You can get nice $10 ones at Urban Outfitters or H&M. They’re apparently more trendy anyway.
  1. MASK ­– Sometimes the wind can get so bad that it feels like you’re in the middle of a sandstorm. Some smart kids deal with this by wearing a Bandido Bandana, which doubles as an awesome fashion statement. I get too lazy to tie it around my face so I use the Asian Surgical Mask.  
  1. POWERBANKWhich is a bit of a no brainer. Make sure you put your phone on low power mode from the very start! Instagram Stories/Snapchat take so much power, and we all know you’ll be using that all weekend.
  1. JACKET – Remember—the Coachella Valley is in the California desert, so it cools down as fast as it heats up… and it can get quite cold. I usually buy merch when I go so I double up on the T-shirts. But if you’re lamigin you should definitely bring a jacket.
  1. SUNBLOCK/SUNSCREEN – Where I shamelessly plug Belo Sunscreen because it’s has no weird coconut smell and is really great on the face! 

    Also, giving out Belo Sunblock is a good excuse to go up to cute girls.

  2. BACKPACK – You may look like you’re going to the festival with nothing, but trust me, a backpack/totebag/purse-type-thing will come in very handy for storing merch, your powerbank, a jacket and extra bottles of water.
  1. A CUTE SIGNBOARD OR A THING WITH LIGHTSThe hardest thing to do in Coachella is regrouping with friends. When someone says “I’ll go to the bathroom” or “I’ll get a drink does anyone want one?” this usually means that this is the last time you’ll see this person for the day. One way of finding your crew amidst the 100,000 people that attend Coachella is having specialized placards/flags/things that light up that are easy to spot. People sometimes use this as a venue for humor and creativity, using everything from the happy person raising one hand emoji to Drake’s reaction after Madonna’s kiss as their gangsigns. During his weekend two performance Drake saw the latter, and spent a good minute cracking up onstage.Screen Shot 2017-04-13 at 3.25.37 PM
  1. FLOWER CROWN – just kidding. Who even uses those anymore.

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