The SoundDiego Coachella Survival Guide

Heading to Coachella? These are your 10 rules to live by while you're there

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 2017:
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. Don't be a sucker: In years past, Jimmy Kimmel has sent a correspondent to the festival to mess with camera-hungry attendees by chatting them up about bands that don’t exist. They’ll be out there looking for dummies again. Don’t be one of them.
3. Be smart: 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.
4. 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.
5. Art it up: 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.
6. 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.   
7. BYOC (bring your own charger): Standing in the mile-long phone-charging station line is a drag. Really, the self-service stations aren’t much better, but they’ll save you some time.
8. Plan ahead: 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. Diversify: Make your way down to the never-ending dance party in the Sahara Tent 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. Switch it up.
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 'em. 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
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