Coachella 2015: Tips for ladies headed for April’s desert music fest

Ladies: If you are planning to travel to this festival’s desert locale next month for the very first time, you may find the following tip list beneficial.

Coachella Festival scene.
Coachella. Music fans will gather in April for this California desert music fest. Bring sunscreen. Lots of it. (Author photo from 2012 festival)

LOS ANGELES, March 17, 2015 – The Month Before Coachella, previously known as March, is here and is already half-way gone. But with this month comes the hysterical anticipation of yet another trip to the aforementioned Coachella, one of the world’s greatest music festivals.

Arriving at Coachella. (Author photo from 2012 festival)
Arriving at Coachella. (Author photo from 2012 festival)

If you are planning to travel to this festival’s desert locale next month for the very first time, then you may find the tips below beneficial. It was pretty hard to narrow this list down to just five tips. But honestly, my best advice is just to use common sense.

Specifically, don’t sell drugs (there are undercover cops everywhere on the festival grounds); don’t bring anything fancy (especially sunglasses); and keep your eye on the weather forecast for Weekend 1 (April 10-12) or Weekend 2 (April 17-19) so you know what to expect.

Here are my Top 5 Tips for ladies traveling to Coachella this year:

The Wristband

It’s hard to check the mailbox every day and not see your Coachella wristband in there. I understand your pain. First, the shakes start, and then before you know it you’re scratching yourself like Tyrone Biggums. Don’t stress, it’ll show up. And when it does, make sure your wristband, shuttle pass, etc. is all there and accounted for.

To start: Open. The. Box.

If you have bought your tickets from a third party, make sure that everything in your package is present and authenticated as soon as you get it. After that, mount it on a wall or hide it in the top shelf of your closet if you have roommates.

But whatever you do: Do. Not. Lose. That. Wristband.

The Wristband is truly your Golden Ticket to The Chocolate Factory. Coachella has it clearly stated under their “Rules & Policies” that any wristbands that have been tampered with or removed will be voided. Keep your wristband on the top of any To Do lists, and whatever you do:

Do. Not. Leave. It. At. Home.

The Coachella App & List of Set Times

Download. The. App. It’s probably the best way to receive up-to-date set times, and notifications of any changes that have been made to the lineup. The app is usually released a few days before the festival starts, and will help keep you on track so that you can see everything you set out to see in your three days there.

After downloading the app, set your game plan, then change it up, tailor it and switch it up some more until you are satisfied. This is your experience, and you deserve to see whatever your little heart desires. Part of the beauty of Coachella is that you truly are left to your own devices.

If you are traveling with friends who want to see the exact same thing as you, then great. If you want to see something they don’t, then set up a meeting spot for later and chuck them the deuces. This is your time to experience Coachella, so do just that.

Map to Coachella.
Map to Coachella Festival 2015. (Screen grab from the Coachella web site.)

The Last Shower

Enjoy it, dammit, before you leave home, because if you are tent/car camping it’ll be like water for chocolate. There will be no Sade playing in the background with candles lit. It’ll be just you, and about 15 other ladies or gents showering in a big trailer. There’s one for the boys, and one for the girls, although the line for the girls’ trailer moves painfully slow.

Privacy comes in the form of stalls (think college dorm life). Until your turn comes: You. Will. Stand. In. The Sun.

Get in line as early as you possibly can, or prepare to wait, with your towel and toiletries in hand, in a long line that keeps going forever. Remember that this is a festival, and long lines just come with the territory. So enjoy that last shower at home, because if you don’t you’ll be begging for one by Day 2.

The Coachella Sun

The sun hates you. No, it really does. It doesn’t care that you have to walk an average of three to four miles a day, or that you forgot to bring a hat, or put on sunscreen. The Coachella sun is a sun like no other—and, well you are in the middle of the desert. Do your best to protect yourself from that bitch, because she does not care about you or your plans.

Coachella Ferris wheel.
Yes, there is a Ferris wheel. The ride can be comfier in the evening. (Author photo from 2012 festival)

Hats are allowed on the festival grounds so take advantage. Umbrellas and parasols, on the other hand, are prohibited. Don’t forget to wear Chapstick or Blistex with sunscreen protection for your lips.

Sunscreen for the face and sunscreen for the body are key to your survival. In the past I have used Neutrogena® Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch® Sunblock SPF 100+ ($13) for my face and Banana Boat ® Sport Performance® SPF 50 ($14). I am not in any way pitching a promotion for any brand, but I can honestly tell you that both suggestions are worth every penny. You. Will. Sweat. So make sure you find a sunscreen that is water-resistant and that has a very high SPF. It’s either that or being served up on the menu extra-crispy.

The Outfit

Again: You. Will. Sweat.

I understand the need to be a fashionista for a selfie at Coachella—I really don’t—but please believe me when I say that you will just look ridiculous. Be comfortable, especially when it comes to your shoe selection. I have actually seen girls arrive on the festival grounds in cute stacked wedges, and an hour later limp to the nearest open bench barefoot—wedges in-hand. Don’t be that girl.

Instead wear athletic shoes. No one will be looking at your feet, and if they do then they must be miserable because there is just way too much awesomeness around to be checking out someone’s shoes like that. You are there to enjoy yourself, and not to worry about what other people you’ll probably never see again think about you.

Which brings me to outfits *rubs temples*: You. Will. See. Some. Thangs.

Dress for the hot desert days and the bitterly cold desert nights. I strongly suggest athletic gear, or something that you can breathe in. Nothing too tight. Instead, keep it loose, unrestricted, and flowing. Again, personal comfort is key.

*Bonus Tip*

For Ladies Traveling Alone

Coachella camping.
Camping at Coachella. People are usually cool, but be aware of your surroundings at all times. (Author photo from 2012 festival)

Not to leave the men out in the cold on this one, but ladies, please be safe out there. Be alert and aware of everything and everyone. I have traveled to Coachella solo dolo and was able to do car camping with a great group of both males and females that I had never met before.

Even though I had the best time ever with the group, however, when it came to being on the festival grounds, I was on my own. Always be aware of your surroundings and go with your gut when it comes to meeting new people.

And there you have it. I strongly suggest that all festivalgoers visit the forum section on, where everything from line-up information to answers for lodging/camping questions can be found. Coachella veterans are more than welcome to share their tips and experiences in the comment section below.

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram at @jerkjackson where I’ll be documenting my journey to, at, and from one of the greatest music festivals in the world. See you in the desert!

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Aziza Jackson
Aziza Jackson is a native Californian born in Los Angeles and raised in Los Angeles and Oakland. Equipped with her AP Stylebook, Aziza has braved the tough wilderness of rural Alabama, saving lives, and kissing babies all while writing about, advocating for, and connecting with east Alabama residents through the wonderful world of public relations and community outreach. She has served as a compelling storyteller, austere copy editor, social media guru, rigid gatekeeper, creative project manager, marketing whiz, and human encyclopedia in some special cases. She also writes for The Oakland Tribune, and in her spare time likes to write her bios in third person. Don't judge her, it's her journey. "Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it and, above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light." --Joseph Pulitzer