We’re in a season of multi-day music festivals – Planet Afropunk Live in Miami, May 20-22; The Roots Picnic in Philadelphia, June 4-5; Lollapalooza in Chicago, July 28-31; and Riot Fest in Chicago, Sept. 16-18, to name a few – and my experience at Coachella was a master class for the ages.
Let my journey help you navigate your upcoming experience, especially if you’re a first-timer.
Coachella has seemed like a generational and cultural milestone since the first time that I saw it on Instagram. I remember imagining one day that I too would have the chance to go and every year I would look at the line up, plan to go and then something unexpected would happen.
This year was different. I was in attendance but the journey to get into those coveted gates along with the experience itself was not exactly what I expected.
My friend Lauryn and I packed up our oversized camping bags, searched Amazon for hours for what seemed essential for the grand event and wrote out which artists we wanted to see. We thought that we were more than ready for this event. The fact that neither of us had camped before did not seem to alarm us because we had our best friend, YouTube, guiding the way on what essentials we needed.
Our Coachella starter kit and experience, especially if you’re staying among nature, could help you effectively plan for your entertainment experience.
- Power strip
- AA and AAA Batteries
- Baby wipes
- First aid kit
- Hand sanitizer
- Electrolytes packets
- Perishable foods/ snacks
- Paper towels
- Card games
- Fanny Packs
- Portable phone charger- Dion
- Toilet Paper
- Travel Jane
Neither of us accounted for the time that it would take us to get our credentials (3 hours) or the time that it would take two non-experienced people to build a tent (1.5 hours). Our first night we were absolutely freezing despite our countless blankets from Walmart. Once the sun rose for our first fun-filled day at Coachella, the teeth chattering chill at night turned into drenching sweat dripping from our foreheads.
The conflicting and extreme weather differences were not going to stop our fun since all we needed to do was take a shower to feel refreshed. As we entered the communal showers, I felt like I was transported back to college; I was disgusted. There was dirt everywhere and a smell that just let us know to avoid touching the walls at all cost. We slipped on our shower shoes and wondered, “Is this water even getting us clean?”
Fresh out of the shower, it was festival time. We had on our “Coachella best” and we were ready for our photo-op but naturally the camping grounds were not near the stages. The two-mile walk began and about two minutes in, the heat was too much to bear. It was imperative that we had to find a ride. As a white sprinter van turned the corner, it was a moment of happiness that I can’t put into words; I have never been so grateful for A/C in my life.
The first performer that we saw was Ari Lennox. As we wiggled our way through the crowd to get close to the stage, it hit us both that we were at Coachella. Despite the fact that we had different expectations for our first time at Coachella, we were happy that we were able to experience it.
The weekend was filled with many moments of wondering why anyone would want to spend the weekend in the desert with unbearable temperatures, but when we saw our favorite performers it all made sense.
If I ever go back to Coachella, you would definitely find me glamping in an R/V because this girl was not made for authentic Coachella camping.