Whether I was ready or not, Weekend 1 of Coachella came around like an overwhelming tornado ready to snatch up bodies and throw them into the desert dust. It was my first time going to Coachella, or even Palm Springs. I was in for quite the ride.
Let me start by saying I was not prepared for this weekend at all. I knew who I was going with, I had my ticket, we had a place to stay, but I had very little understanding of what the heck was going on or how to survive this event.
Day 1 started out exciting. My friends and I got ready fairly quickly, and boy did we look good (no shame).
It was when I walked outside in the sun I understood this experience would be a struggle.
IT WAS SO HOT. So, so hot. I made sure to consistently sip on a water. I wasn't going to let dehydration ruin this weekend for me. Dehydration has no room in an event where the tickets are $500.
We walked down our street to order a Lyft.
The Lyft driver was kind enough to drop us off as close as possible to the nearest security check. We got in line, separated by boys and girls (so that no one felt uncomfortable being patted down).
Waiting in line is never very fun, but our excitement to get into the festival carried us over. Unfortunately, the line was just the beginning. We had to walk so much further (in the heat) to get to yet ANOTHER security checkpoint. I was not feeling this whole festival thing by the third line I had to wait in.
Finally, we got in right as one of our favorite artists was playing at the stage closest to the entrance. Upon entering the campgrounds, it took about 0.2 seconds for me to realize every human at this festival looked the exact same.
Girls wore the same black hat with the same sunglasses and wavy pants. Boys wore jerseys, bandanas, Hawaiian shirts, and camel backs. Everyone seriously looked the same. It was pretty funny.
In the festival, we saw a bunch of amazing artists. I was impressed with every set I saw. It was in those moments, as I was watching the performances, that I understood the whole appeal of these festivals.
After the party was over, though (catch that Billie reference), this appeal completely disappeared for me.
My squad regrouped at the last set of the night to head on out together. We followed the mass crowds out of the festival onto a pathway we believed would take us to an Uber.
My feet were so blistered that I had to keep taking my shoes off, but eventually a gravel road forced me to put them back on. My feet started bleeding. So did my soul.
We walked all the way to a parking lot when we were informed by staff that the Uber pickup was all the way on the other side. Of the whole festival. I am not kidding.
Our group of five girls was not doing well. We managed to walk all the way back, but we were so sober and so in pain. We were then told to follow a different crowd down a different path.
Once we did so, we were informed that we had gone the wrong way YET AGAIN. At this point, I was soooo over this Coachella sh*t.
Let me out of this place!!
We ended up catching a free ride on a bike carrier to a place where we could order a Lyft.
Oh, and I forgot to mention at this point in the night, it was freezing. The heat became an intense cold, and I got to say, the wind really made me realize that I would rather be dehydrated in the heat then be lost at this festival in the cold.
That night, I was pretty disappointed with the organization of the music festival. Seriously, what did I pay $500 for? Why didn't any of the workers know the correct way out? Shouldn't there be signs for this type of stuff? Why does everyone dress the same?
I went to bed thinking I would never return to another Coachella.
Saturday, however, made up for that. The artists we saw, once again, were absolutely amazing. We understood the distance and time it would take to get in… and get out. We ended up staying to the very end of the festival and took shuttles to a hotel, where we easily obtained an Uber. Thank God!! Now we know.
If it hadn't been for Bazzi, Juice Wrld, Billie Eilish, Tame Impala, and Kid Cudi, I would definitely not go back to Coachella next year. But the music of Coachella is some powerful stuff, and you never realize how beautiful it is to see your favorite artists in person until you actually do with thousands of other humans wearing the same outfit as you.
Like Billie told the audience, "We only have this moment right here, right now. Let's enjoy it."
Here's the truth about Coachella: It's a pain in the ass. But it's also so worth it. You should definitely plan ahead as much as you can, but remember the best part of the experience will always be the performances that keep you in the moment.
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