The Coachella Music Festival has attracted crowds since 1999. With well over 100,000 people attending each year, the festival’s popularity continues to grow. It will commence in the desert at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, so the weather will likely be warm, but not unbearably hot. Attending Coachella for the first time might be a bit daunting due to the event’s sheer size, but if you plan ahead, you’ll have an unforgettable experience. Instead of camping out in your car or a tent, book a stay at a cozy Coachella vacation rental so you can easily enjoy a hot shower and comfortable bed at the end of each day. Check out these tips for navigating Coachella.

The Lineup for Coachella

Coachella has many famous artists perform on the stages like Beyonce, rapper Eminem and urban contemporary/R&B artist The Weeknd. More top acts include indie faves Fleet Foxes and The War on Drugs and St. Vincent and Portugal. The Man. Techno fans have enjoyed Detroit Love, Alison Wonderland, Chromeo, and Soulwax, and David Byrne and Chic so far. If you're a Coachella regular, you might have seen A Perfect Circle and Jamiroquai.

Where to Stay for Coachella

Vacation rentals are definitely the accommodation of choice when you head to Coachella in any year. If you’re traveling with friends, your vacation rental in Palm Springs, Indio, Palm Desert, or Rancho Mirage gives you all plenty of room to relax when you come home from a day of music under the sun, and many vacation rentals in this area have pools to help you cool off. You can choose between cozy condos and lavish estates that are often triumphs of mid-century modern style – and don’t worry, everything in the desert has air conditioning.

How to Get Around Coachella

If you’re going to Coachella, you’re going to get stuck in traffic – it’s just an unavoidable fact of life about a festival hosting 125,000 people at once. Driving to the Empire Polo Grounds may provide the convenience of having your car with you, but the major road closures are likely to make the drive frustrating. If you do want to drive, consider joining “Carpoolchella” – you’ll help out other music lovers in need, and you could win prizes. One of the best ways to negotiate traffic is to buy a shuttle pass and take advantage of the constantly rolling shuttles throughout the area. Look for a vacation rental near a shuttle route, and be aware that shuttle passes sell out quickly. Taxis and Uber are available, with a special parking lot devoted to Uber pickups. If your vacation rental is near the Polo Grounds, consider bringing a bike or renting one from Festicycle.

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Eating at Coachella

Don’t think you’re going to be eating stale carnival hot dogs at Coachella. Over the years, the food vendors have upped their game to the point where you could spend the whole fest at the food tents and go home happy. General admission and VIP admission typically offer access to different food options, but you should find plenty of choices no matter what. Head to the Beer Barn or the various beer tents to stay hydrated (after a fashion), and pick up some of your favorites to grab a seat on the grass and listen to music – or challenge yourself to try something new. In recent years, top faves at the fest have included chicken tikka poutine from Badmaash, amazing dumpling choices from Bling Bling, tater tots loaded with Asian-inspired goodies from Sumo Dog, and tandoori chicken from Outstanding in the Field.

The Rules of Coachella

Any fest of the size of Coachella needs some basic rules to keep everyone safe and happy. One of the most important things to know is that, while Coachella stretches across two weekends, the fest organizers work hard to keep the weekends identical (although sometimes there are slight changes in the lineup). Always wear your pass, and expect to go through security lines when you enter the festival.

Coachella has a long list of items you can’t bring into the venue; among the no-nos are the obvious ones like animals, umbrellas, audio recording devices, weapons, and toy weapons, as well as less obvious forbidden items including chairs, promotional items, kites, glow sticks, and tarps. Things you are allowed to bring in include small blankets, cameras (but no detachable lenses), earplugs, cellphones and laptop computers – not to mention chapstick, sunscreen and water bottles, all three of which you should have with you at all times (this is the desert, remember). Consider a collapsible water bottle, since it’s easy to carry, and no metal or glass bottles are allowed.

What to Pack for Coachella

Yes, the aforementioned chapstick, water bottle, and sunscreen are a must, but that’s not all you need in your Coachella kit. Tie a bandana around your neck or onto your belt loop. You’ll need it when the dusty winds start to blow, and you can always soak it with water to cool down during the heat of the day. You probably wouldn’t wear a fanny pack anywhere else, but in Coachella, it can be the perfect choice for schlepping your charger, cell phone, and sunscreen while keeping a weight off your back and your hands-free. Grab a pair of sunglasses for watching the daytime acts, but don’t forget a light jacket, since it can get nippy when the evening headliners are playing. An extended battery or a solar charger for your cellphone is a must if you don’t want to waste time waiting for an available spot at the charging stations, and the most important thing you can pack for Coachella: comfortable shoes.

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