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April 25, 2012

I recently spent four days in Indio, CA at the Coachella Music Festival. Having never experienced anything like this before, here is a list of what I learned about myself and the process of camping at a big music festival.

10. Don’t be “drunk girl”: I’m not a huge partier. I like to have a good time…getting my drink on and my smoke on. But I know my limits, and try very hard not to be the subject of any embarrassing stories the next morning. Coachella is a bit out of my element. If something was to go wrong, there are no clean bathrooms to hide in (only disgusting port-a-potties), or cabs to take me home to my bed. I had to be very careful to drink lots of water, and consume in moderate amounts, which I did successfully. Unfortunately, some people don’t know their limits. I saw one girl, passed out, being carried out of a crowd by medics, and another girl puking off the side of a picnic table while her friend held her up by her arm. I felt bad for both girls, but if you can’t hang with the big dogs then you get thrown in the pound…or some other analogy that actually makes sense.


9. Baby Wipes = Shower: Going into the weekend, I assumed this would be the case. I will admit that showering was an option, and I chose to refrain from taking one. I just didn’t want to waste my time waiting in the line to take one (which was always super long), only to rush through a shower where I wouldn’t feel all that clean anyways, to walk outside in the dirt to go stand in large sweaty crowds in the sun all day. There are only four parts of your body that need to be washed everyday, and baby wipes kept them clean enough. It was better than nothing, which was some people’s approach (I know, I could smell them). 


8. Facial hair is interesting: During the festival I had the pleasure of spending some time with a guy with an awesome mustache. It was a full mustache that came to a point at each end and twisted up. No doubt this mustache was fantastic, and everyone at Coachella agreed with me. Everywhere he went people asked to take pictures with him, or would just approach him and start talking to him. So if you want to open yourself up to meeting new people, grown some interesting facial hair.


7. The hippy mindset gets old fast: When in the desert, camping along side thousands of strangers, you immediately let go of the idea of personal possessions. You inherited a mindset of sharing and giving. So when someone asks to borrow my sunscreen or have some of the snacks I brought, without even thinking I would happily say “absolutely!” That was great…for the first few days. By the last day, the magic of giving starts to wane, and you start to become a little more possessive of your stuff. Especially when an Icelandic traveler guilts you into giving her one of your last joints.


6. Drugs make everything more fun: Going into an event such as this, there are two ways to look at, optimistically or pessimistically. For fun, lets look at it through the eyes of a pessimist. Camping at Coachella is four days of uncomfortably sleeping on the ground, eating shitty food, having to use awful port-a-potties, and standing uncomfortably close to smelly, gross strangers. Also, the line up was 67% DJs and house music. However, throughout the weekend I learned that if you are on drugs, all of these things either don’t matter, or suddenly become amazing. The music and light show a DJ puts on caters perfectly to an over active drugged up brain. For people who take drugs, the world becomes their playground, which is why Coachella is the best place for them to be.


5. How to talk down a guy after a drug induced hallucination: I think this fits nicely right after #6. Yes, during the weekend I learned how to talk someone down after they had a hallucination. What I learned works best is to apply logic. Without going into too much detail, this person had hallucinated that earlier in the evening cops had put out a warrant for their arrest for public intoxication. They were very confused and figure out the reality. I calmly told them that I hadn’t heard anything about that, but I couldn’t imagine it was true for two reasons: It’s okay to be intoxicated at Coachella. They sell beer in the festival, and he didn’t have to drive because he was camping. Also, if they did care about public intoxication they would have just given a ticket, not put out a warrant for their arrest. With just a little bit of logic I was able to help this person ground himself in reality. Drugs are crazy.


4. Technology is a hassle: Going into the weekend, I did not prepare for having to charge my phone. I didn’t really need it most of the weekend, except for the time. I guess it’s mostly my fault for becoming so reliant on this device that I don’t even own a fucking watch. Fuck you technology for being so addicting, and so inconvenient. Come on, it’s the 21st century. My phone should be able to charge using solar power, or tiny hamsters on wheels…not electricity.


3. Simplify: When planning for the weekend, for some reason I equated it to camping in the mountains or something. I brought everything I thought I would need to survive four days away from civilization. What I quickly realized was that Coachella camping is nowhere near wilderness camping. There were showers and food trucks walking distance from our camp sight. All that ended up happening was I had to carry around all this stuff that I didn’t use once. I also assumed I would need massive provisions in the festival, so the first day I brought in a backpack with everything I thought I might need, including a towel and two water bottles. This was a terrible idea. It was hard to maneuver through crowds with that big ol’ thing on, and it started to make my back hurt from carrying it around all day. By day three I had finally figured out that all I needed was whatever fit into my pockets: cash, ID, phone, dum-dums, and the schedule.


2. You can bring the dead back to life: Tupac hologram y’all. Enough said. 


1. It’s About Survival: Someone said this about Coachella before the weekend began, and I didn’t know what it meant, until after. I spent so much time planning and prepping to make sure that every little part of the weekend was comfortable and planned out. The reality of the situation is that you are there to party your face off and see lots of live music. All that planning didn’t matter in the end, because when you are there you just have to make sure you don’t die. As long I remembered to drink lots of water, eat, and sleep, I was golden. I had an incredible weekend and I can’t wait to do it again with all my acquired experience.