I went to my first Coachella last weekend and all I can say is wow...or better yet, "DAMN." From the food to the desert parties, to the performances and the people--it was the most lit experience of my life. I probably used the word "lit" 50 times last weekend alone. Because Coachella is the Mecca of all music festivals, I figured the best way to give you a true embodiment of my experience would be to break it down by category. (For the impatient reader, you can skip to the sections you care most about) I'll also be giving you some amazing tips on how to survive Coachella just in case you ever decide to make that trip.
First things first...getting there. You definitely want to plan out Coachella months, and I mean MONTHS, in advance. Although there were so many people selling tickets at the last minute, I highly recommend getting your tickets as soon as the last Coachella has ended. This is when tickets will be the cheapest. If your biggest fear is the unknown line up, I can already tell you that for Coachella 2018, Beyoncé is headlining. I would like to say that The Drake might also be a headliner, but after his awful experience this year, who knows if he’ll ever be back to The Valley. If you end up purchasing a ticket but you aren’t thrilled about the line up, just sell your ticket. Stub Hub is your best friend, especially if you're debating on going last minute. People were DESPERATE! Twitter and Facebook might as well been the official Ticketmaster for Coachella. Scalpers were asking for people to sell their wristbands (your ticket) at the end of every night throughout the weekend.
Alright, now that you've bought your ticket, let's talk about what you're going to wear. Below, you can find some of my favorite Coachella looks that I witnessed, as well as the three that I rocked that weekend. The fashion at this festival is unbelievable!! I feel like my choices were a success based on crowd reactions. One guy approached me and said, "Thank you for keeping Coachella alive," in response to my Day 2 outfit—a playsuit from PrettyLittleThing. The key to selecting your outfits for this event is to keep it original and keep it fashionable. You never want to have the same outfit as someone else and the chance of that happening is very rare (unless you don't give af). Keep in mind that you only have three days to put your best looks together. Accessories are a major key. One wrong accessory can make or break your outfit. Flower headbands were a no-go this year but chokers and big earrings were in style. There are so many directions to go with when creating a look at Coachella. The three most popular Coachella Babes are: Bohemian Chic, The Unicorn, and Sporty Spice. I've labeled which is which on each photo below. Additionally, festival make up is a major key. I chose looks that weren’t too extreme but still screamed, “I’m here for Coachella!” I didn’t want to look like a fairy, but more so a Unicorn. To my Coachella-Fellas, throwback jersey’s were an extremely popular go to. I would definitely recommend those as well as distressed/bleached cut off shorts and a pair of chucks that I wouldn’t mind getting dusty. Another fashionable alternative would be muscle tees or those distressed cotton t-shirts. If those are too "Urban Outfitters" for you, a bold floral print shirt or pants are a safe and fashion-forward alternative. Pair any of these items with a bandana headband and some aviators, and you’re good to go. Some fashion icons that would help guide your suitcase components would be A$AP Rocky, Cam Newton, and Bieber.
I really can’t put into words how amazing the food was at Coachella. Also, I am the greatest foodie that I know and it exceeded all of my expectations. Because the crowd that Coachella brings every year is so unbelievably diverse, they managed to have every type of food from every country, city, and suburb present. The main food items that I indulged in were: a giant corn dog, loaded garlic crab fries; jambalaya, bourbon chicken, and mac n cheese; a fruity pebbles churro sundae; Mediterranean salad plate with pita bread; and shrimp and chicken paella. I also have most of these delicious food finds pictured below. I will say, be prepared to pay a pretty penny for every item sold in Coachella. The average amount for a meal or plate of food was $16. Coachella feeds you well, but they are also making their money at the same time. The only free thing was water, so bring an empty water bottle to save your coins in this desert heat! I would also recommend taking out cash instead of bring your credit or debit cards to the festival grounds. This is for both money management and security.
I can confidently say that the best sets at Coachella were, without a doubt, and in no particular order: DJ Snake, Lil Uzi Vert, Tory Lanez, Kendrick Lamar and Kehlani. One thing about Coachella is that the environment of every set is what makes the experience memorable. I can’t even formulate words that explain the energy level of some of these performances. You may be wondering, ‘What about DJ Khaled?" DJ Khaled was so live (meaning the people in the crowd were so live) but he left his own set early. Who does that? Apparently there was some complaints from Weekend 1 for going over his set time, so he decided to be petty during Weekend 2 and cut it short. That’s the main reason why he didn’t make my list. At the beginning of his set he also promised “so many special guests” and he only brought out Kent Jones and Yo Gotti. It was beyond basic to say the least.
I didn’t even know half of the songs at Lil Uzi and Tory Lanez’s sets but it didn’t matter. That’s how I knew their performances were A1. Tory Lanez managed to crowd surf the entire crowd during his show, which included probably over 5,000+ people. Crowd surfing is something that you always hear of rock stars doing back in the day, but never have I ever had to hold anyone up by their foot—let alone see a performer do it in real life. That’s usually one of the stunts used for those 80’s and 90’s movies but this kid managed to make this feat a reality.
Lil Uzi also managed to make his way in the middle of the audience. I don’t know how he got there nor do I care. All I remember is one moment he was up on stage and the next moment I look up and he’s right next to me. Once he made his way in the middle, he decided to part the crowd like the Red Sea, and ran through everyone. Probably the craziest and most unreal thing I’ve ever seen an artist manage to do.
DJ Snake is the GOAT…as well as Kendrick Lamar. I think with Snake’s performance, I was most shocked at the crowd he brought. He might as well have been a headliner. He honestly should have replaced Radiohead now that I think about it. He has produced so many Number 1 singles that his performance felt like one giant block party. We left his set early to go watch Gucci Mane. Unfortunately, Gucci’s set was on swole once we got there, so we listened from the side. I honestly felt horrible for him. They ruined his audio multiple times and this was his first huge gig since he’d been released from jail. Needless to say, in hindsight, I would have stayed for DJ Snake’s entire set and saved Gucci for another concert.
I’m just going to combine Kendrick Lamar and Kehlani together. I respect Kehlani so much simply because she put on an entire show for her fans. Although she was given one of the smaller stages, she performed like she was on the main stage. Full choreography, background dancers, and not to mention, it was on her 22nd birthday. Kendrick, of course, put on the show of his life. His visual affects were unbelievable and naturally the crowd was struggling to remember the words to his new album through the cross fade. He wisely selected “D.N.A.” to open the show, which set the mood for the night; he brilliantly ended the festival with “LOVE.” I was high key upset that Rihanna didn’t show up and perform “LOYALTY.” You could feel the anticipation amongst the crowd. We were all yearning for more once we realized the night was over and I was almost in tears when I realized there would be no Bad Gal RiRi.
Below is a quick Coachella Survival Guide I threw together for those of you who are dying to go after seeing my footage, or because you’ve always wanted to go. Coachella is the most freeing experience I’ve ever indulged in and I will definitely be doing it again. I hope you enjoyed this read and feel free to follow my page for more of my upcoming shenanigans @msjannayvonne! Please remember: If you can’t stand the heat…don’t go to Coachella!
A Quick Survival Guide
Buy your ticket early! When they become available, make that purchase! Prices will only increase from there.
Fly into LAX and then get a rental car. It will make getting from place to place less expensive and more flexible.
Get the shuttle pass. This is the easiest way to get to the festival grounds and back. Uber/Lyft/ Taxi is too expensive, and let’s face it, no one is able to drive after those crazy nights.
Don’t stay at the resorts. They are over priced. The best option would be to find a cheaper hotel in the area and drive to the resorts that have the shuttle and leave your car there. They have free parking!
Take out cash for the weekend. If you use your card, I guarantee you will end up spending more money than you plan to at Coachella. The food is so great but it is overpriced. I took out $120 for the weekend and managed to survive.
No outside food or drink is allowed so I encourage you to bring an empty water bottle and use the water stations to refill them. To save money on alcohol, purchase the mini bottle of liquor and sneak them in. Security doesn’t pat you down.
Clothing: It is smarter to cover your body than to be exposed. The heat in the desert is so harsh that it almost feels cooler to be covered than to show more skin.
Attention all Black Queens: Do NOT wear a wig, you will pass out. Invest in braids, locs, weave (if its off your neck) or rock your natural hair. It is too dusty to manage long weave, it is too hot to rock a wig no matter how cute, and your hair will get wet at some point throughout the weekend. I guarantee it.
Leave enough time in your schedule to attend a Desert Party. They are beyond Lit.
Join a Coachella GroupMe. This was the best way to meet new people and to know what moves were poppin’ before you get there.
Bring a backpack that zips. You want to bring a jacket, it gets cool at night and you will need a place to store some of your items. Also bring a round blanket if you're not a stander.
On the first day, scope out the festival grounds. There is no cell service at the festival. If you know where different landmarks are, it will be easy to meet up in case you get separated from your group.
Bring portable phone chargers. They do have charging stations but they aren’t located in the most convenient spaces.
Download the Coachella app and Enjoy! The coachella app has all of the set times and is the best tool to manage your entire weekend.