1) Miss Steely Dan
Steely. Fucking. Dan. Festivals are tough because of inevitable set-time conflicts, and to each his own, but you are completely blowing it if you miss Steely Dan. For any attendees claiming not to know who Steely Dan is, let me assure you that you know all the words to no less than a dozen of their greatest hits. Plus, every other act playing at the same time will either be back in LA soon or is heavily touring on this year’s festival circuit. Also, Steely Dan has partied harder and had more sex than most rock stars do in 10 lifetimes. Forget dad rock, if you were born in the 1980s one of these guys might seriously be your real father. Show some respect. Go see The Dan! You will not regret this life choice.
2) Don’t Drink Water
That brutal headache you get at 7 p.m.? The unshakable fatigue that sets in by Sunday? Half a pill of lord-knows-what stuck in the back of your throat? All that can been avoided if you just drink some more water. This seems like common sense, but every year I see people get their weekend ruined due to lack of proper hydration. Don’t act like you can’t afford it; water has been $2 a bottle at Coachella since 1999 and refill stations are located around the festival grounds. Shouts out to Paul Tollett for keeping water readily available so we can stay alive and keep coming back. That’s a hustle with heart.
3) Do Too Much
Again, common sense here, but don’t overextend yourself. Yes, this applies to attempting to see too many acts. Did you really pay $350 for a wristband just to spend most of the night navigating foot traffic to catch 15 minutes of a band from the back of a tent? Pick some stuff you want to see, make peace with missing the rest, and don’t be upset when things don’t turn out the way you expected. Way more importantly, “Don’t do too much” applies to drugs. Just because you bought it all doesn’t mean you need to do it all. The medical tent is not a fun place to listen to your favorite band. You can always do more next time, but you can’t do less right now! Sage wisdom that applies to bags of narcotics and Las Vegas buffet plates.
4) Don’t Do Enough
You will kick yourself if you spend all day at some corporate pool party, take a nap, and don’t make it to the festival until 10 p.m. You’re at Coachella! A lot of people would kill to be where you are. Make the most of it. Go early, check out a band you’ve never heard of, look at some trippy art and eat some pizza. It’s not rocket science. This advice also applies to drugs. If drugs aren’t for you, please enjoy the festival sober. If you like drugs, maybe have a beer if you’re of legal age or smoke some weed. It’s the freakin’ weekend — what would R. Kelly do? OK, on immediate second thought, scratch that. Don’t do anything R. Kelly would do, except for the part of that song where he mentions it’s the weekend and he plans on having fun. Hey, remember when R. Kelly sang that song at Coachella with Phoenix?
R. Kelly has done some morally reprehensible things in his lifetime, but that was awesome.
5) Neon Carnival
For those of you who don’t know what Neon Carnival is, it’s an afterparty for Coachella Saturday night that you literally have to leave Coachella early to attend. What a cool thing to do! You can miss the biggest names performing on Saturday night to go wait in line outside of an airport hanger for a sketchy party filled with lackluster carnival rides and cracked-out drug addicts. Maybe just stay at Coachella? If all you want to do in life is hear a DJ and ride a Ferris wheel, Coachella has significantly better versions of both. Neon Carnival is, without a doubt, the dumbest fucking thing on Earth. And I say that with a lot of close friends who decide to go every year. Sorry, I think you’re dumb for going. I hope our friendship is strong enough to survive this completely reasonable criticism. I’ve lost more friends to Neon Carnival than hard drugs and marriage combined. I wish they taught Neon Carnival awareness in Los Angeles high schools.
6) Spend All Weekend On Your Phone
Coachella has a lot of Wi-Fi this year! That’s awesome and should hopefully help with sending vital communications between friends. But please don’t spend all weekend on your phone. Nobody gives a shit about your blurry Instagram pictures from the beer garden or borderline unwatchable Snapchats of you and your crew dancing to house music. Just be in the moment and try to capture it with your brain, even if your central processor is running a little slow and sideways. Bonus: If you don’t spend all day on your phone, you’ll have some battery left at the end of the night when you actually need to meet up with your friends.
7) Expect A Daft Punk Surprise
Stop trying to make a Daft Punk surprise happen. It’s not going to happen. Without fail, people always show up with their fingers crossed that Daft Punk will do some kind of surprise performance. Maybe they’ll join a band on the main stage! Maybe they’ll be DJ'ing from that mysterious helicopter on the map! Maybe they’re really Steely Dan! Wait, that last one might be legit, it makes a lot of sense when you stop and think about it. Please, I implore you, don’t set yourself up for disappointment. You’re expecting miracles in the wrong place on this one. It would be like going to Benihana and leaving upset when they didn’t serve you a surprise Easter ham for dinner. It’s just not on the menu. Get over it.
8) Mindlessly Misappropriate Native American Culture
Irony doesn’t adequately describe how inappropriate it is for white girls to cavort around in headdresses on an area of land that was once inhabited by Native Americans. Also, you’re blocking my view. Also, you look stupid. Also, you’re shoving powdered drugs made by children in third-world countries up your nose. Maybe just stick to desecrating one indigenous culture at a time.
9) Bad Vibes
We’re all in this together, so try to smile and be polite to one another. There is no greater sin than showing up with a bad attitude and letting it spread. Nobody is forcing you to be at Coachella! You worked hard, earned the cash to buy the ticket, and made the necessary moves to be there. That, or maybe it just fell in your lap. Either way, don’t walk around all weekend acting like you just smelled a fart. Even if you probably did just smell a fart. Yes, there are crowds. Yes, you won’t get to do everything you want to do. Yes, that’s your ex over there and they’ve moved on quicker than you expected and they’re dating someone who looks better naked than you. None of that matters! You’re at the happiest place on the planet. Act like it. See you guys in the desert!