So, you’ve decided to gather with 100,000 of your closest friends at a Music Festival this summer. I did the same last year at Coachella and it was one of the most epic weekends of my life. As a first-timer, there were a lot of learning lessons and eye-opening experiences. I’ve taken some time and curated The Fat Girls Guide to Summer Festivals! Here’s my list of things to bring, wear, eat and so much more.
Before The Show
Listen to the YouTube Channel. There were over 150 artists performing on seven different stages at Coachella. Sometimes the artists I wanted to see were playing at the same time on different stages. So narrowing down the options and prioritizing was essential. Listening to the Coachella YouTube Channel also gave me a chance to hear new artists and add them to my list.
Download The App. If the festival you’re attending has an app, download it! The best thing about the Coachella App was that after you select the shows you want to see, it alerts you 15 minutes before each show begins.
Pregame. The liquor sold at Music Festivals is usually watered down and overpriced, so pregame at the hotel or in the Uber/Shuttle. If I wanted an adult beverage while I was at the festival I would wait until someone I wanted to see was playing on the Coachella Stage and then get a drink at the Beer Garden which had a great view of the stage.
What To Wear:
Sunnies. They don’t need to be expensive, but they do need to make a statement. Whatever your style, make sure to pack a few pairs of sunglasses just in case you lose a pair or (gasp) they don’t match your outfit!
Sunscreen. Even the melinanted must lather up! I got an SPF 50 spray sunscreen from 7-11 and made sure to reapply. Because, if it’s less than SPF 50 does it even count?
Closed Toe Shoes. My number one suggestion is to wear comfy shoes. I wore cute sandals and 100,000 people stepped on my feet. They didn’t feel so cute after walking around for 10 hours each day. I saw lots of Converse, Sneakers and even flat boots.
Layers. During the day the weather is in the hundreds, but at night it cools all the way down and gets pretty windy. Easy layers like a cardigan, scarf or hat can be thrown in your bag.
Bag Lady: Backpacks are good in theory but they are easy for someone else to get into without you knowing. They’re also a pain to take off every time you need something. I’d suggest a bigger crossbody style bag.
What To Bring
WATER! On the first day, I wasn’t sure if I could bring in an empty water bottle or CamelBak, so I didn’t. Instead, I paid $2 per water bottle while the smart people filled up their bottles and packs at free water stations. Don’t be like me, BYOB (bring your own bottle).
Cash. The ATM fees are atrocious, so I made a daily budget and brought that with me in cash every day. There is an option to pay with credit or debit cards for food and drinks, but there were two separate lines. The cash line was always shorter!
A Face Towel or Baby Wipes come in handy in the 100+ degree weather. It was between 105 and 115 the entire time I was at Coachella. If you’re self-conscious about sweating I’d suggest bringing a small towel or handkerchief that you can wipe yourself off with or even dab with a little water on to cool yourself down. A personal fan or spritzer are also great ideas.
A Blanket is a blessing. After enduring hours in the sun, a seat doesn’t suck. I brought a Pizza Towel to use as a blanket and found great viewing spots for sitting. I’d suggest sitting in the back or towards left or right side for an easier exit. I saw people stepping on a sleeping guy, so know they will step on your blanket. Don’t bring anything you’re too attached to.
Bandanas. I’ve seen people wearing bandanas at music festivals and I thought it was just for the look. It’s not. Those desert winds don’t play! My face and eyes were pelleted with sand nightly and I was happy that I brought a few bandanas ( a girl’s gotta coordinate!). I saw some people with goggles and I would even suggest bringing those because I swear I still have sand in my eyes!
Backup Battery. Coachella supposedly had charging stations, I saw none! I suggest bringing a USB battery pack for extra juice because if you don’t Snap it, did it really happen?
What To Eat
Stock up on snacks at the nearby grocery store and make sure to eat before you leave. I ate a sandwich before leaving the hotel and brought Cuties and a hummus pack to eat during the hour-long bus ride from Palm Springs to Indio. There will be plenty of food options at the event. But if you’re like me, your eyes are bigger than your bank account and you’re ballin’ on a budget. The sandwich and snacks will hold you over until early evening. Then you can treat yourself to some high-end fare.
The Crab Fries were BOMB!
How To Get There
If there is a shuttle, take it. Uber and taxis use the same roads as the public, while the shuttles usually have access to a back road which will get you there much faster. I opted for the “Anytime Shuttle” and while it was pretty convenient to get to from the Palm Springs hotel to the shuttle stop. It was a TREK getting from the shuttle drop-off point to the actual entrance of the festival. However, I spoke with some ladies who rented a car and drove from less than 5 miles from the venue. It took them over an hour each day to get there.
Tips & Tricks
Beat the Heat: I chilled by the pool during the day and headed to the venue around 3pm when it started to cool down. Still, the Antarctic Stage was a lifesaver when I was overheating. It was a cool dark room with fans blowing everywhere and seats directly in front of massive wind machines. It was the perfect place to cool down while enjoying a great new band.
Let’s Stay Together: I saw lots of groups wearing matching glow sticks headbands or hats. They looked cool and it was an easy way to spot who was in the crew.
Do you have any music festival tips? If so, please leave them in the comments below.