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Coachella Survival Guide 2014

Here are 10 rules to live by at Coachella 2014:

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Yeah, it’s that time again -- the back-to-back weekends of Coachella have returned.
    Indio has some amazing acts this year, along with nearly 100,000 fans a day. Whether it’s your first time in the desert or you’re refining a yearly pilgrimage, SoundDiego wants to help.

    Here are 10 rules to live by at Coachella 2014:
    1. Hydrate. Heat stroke is no fun. This seems like a simple one, yet every year the first-aid tent is a sad tale of broken festival dreams. You’re allowed to bring a plastic, refillable water bottle into the festival, or once you’re inside, trade 10 empty bottles for a fresh, cold one. (And you can always buy them for $2 a pop.) There are no excuses for failing this basic golden rule.
    2. Go see the Pixies. Talk about an upgrade! When set times were announced on Tuesday, ticket holders rejoiced after seeing that the seminal Boston quartet had been quietly added to Saturday’s lineup. The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas was also added, but we won’t scold you for missing him.
    3. Don’t talk to anyone holding a microphone about bands. At last year’s festival, and more recently at South By Southwest, Jimmy Kimmel sent a correspondent to mess with camera-hungry attendees by chatting them up about bands that don’t exist. They’ll be out there looking for suckers again. Don’t be one of them.
    4. If you break rule No. 3 -- and we strongly advise against that -- make sure you only answer questions about bands you actually listen to. Even if you have to say, "I have no idea," 10 times in a row, do it.
    5. Use sunscreen. This seems about as basic as it comes, but I still see people on Saturday and Sunday looking like John Candy in Summer Rental. It’s the desert. Do your skin a favor and put it on.
    4. Check out the art. Sure, bands are the big draw out in Indio, but festival organizers always do an incredible job providing attendees with the best in high-concept installations. New things are added every year, and they’re listed in the program. Plus, it just wouldn’t be the same without things like the Tesla Coil or gigantic, mechanical snail out there.
    5. Don’t get too wasted. This isn’t a lecture, just a call to use some common sense. Have fun but remember that Coachella is a long, physical experience under the hot sun. Go beyond your limits and it can get dangerous. Not to mention that every person there has a smartphone and is just waiting to capture an idiot doing something stupid. Don’t be the star of their movie. Even if you bypass an emergency situation, you definitely don’t want to end up like this.
    6. Go see the Knife. That one goofy friend of yours might be trying to drag you to the Cult but don’t let him. He’s going to bring up the Electric album over and over again, and maybe even start singing "King Contrary Man." Resist. Go see the Knife for no less than a half-hour, and then, if you absolutely have to, make your way over to the Cult. They still won’t have played "She Sells Sanctuary" or "Love Removal Machine," and, really, that’s all you need to see.    
    7. Bring your phone charger into the festival. Standing in the mile-long charging station line is a drag. Really, the self-service stations aren’t much better, but they’ll save you some time.
    8. Don’t underestimate the upside of getting a locker or bringing your own hand sanitizer. You just don’t want to end up asking questions like, "Where the hell did I leave my backpack?" or "What did I just stick my hand in?"
    9. Check out the Sahara Tent. Make your way down to the never-ending dance party at least once over the weekend. It’s a completely different world and a total people-watching paradise -- and it goes the other way as well. If all you do is hang in the Sahara all weekend, "roll" over to some of the other stages and check out a few bands. Diversify.
    10. Comfortable shoes. I know it’s difficult for some to ignore fashion, but nothing will put a damper on the Coachella experience faster than a pair of incessantly barking dogs. It doesn’t matter if they’re Crocs, Moon Boots or bunny slippers --  if they make your feet happy, wear them. At this point, if snowshoes made my feet feel the best, I’d rock them without thinking twice.
    Safe travels and see you in the desert! 
    Blogger Scott McDonald covers music in San Diego for a few different publications and is the editor of Eight24.com