Have you heard of the place in the Californian desert where people flock to for two weekends in April? Coachella. The place where 90,000 people go to immerse themselves in music for 3 days.


Are you a Coachella newbie? This was a question posed to me by a die-hard fan on my first visit to the festival in 2014. I was standing in line to gain entrance to the Polo grounds and I must have looked different. I did look different. I looked like a deer in headlights. I was about to have my world rocked - and so were the 3 friends I was with.


Like any festival, Coachella has its scene – there are the diehard music fans that range in age from their 20's to their 60's. There are the "to be seen" scene. There are the celebrities who blend in very well without their bodyguards. Then there is me - the music fan that's not too hard core but enjoys the variety and the people watching.


Beyond the strong lineup and the surprise acts – there is another essential component to the weekend - the dress code. In part it’s boots, denim cutoffs, hats – the usual festival attire – but also belly chains, crop tops, crazy prints multiple layers, and lots of Navajo-meets-cowboy elements. You definitely see a variety of interpretation of fashion. Not everyone can pull off the look of a feather headpiece but a whole native headress in 85-degree heat? It’s a balancing act. 


As the sun slowly began to set each day, the place looked magical: mountains on the horizon, palm trees lit up in neon, a Ferris wheel in the background.


It was impossible to get bored, but very possible to miss your favorite band if you didn’t keep track of the acts via the app. Some of my favorite moments over the last 2 years were dancing to Pharrell Williams' song Happy, watching fellow Kiwi girl Lorde perform her act as if she was in her living room, watching the hardcore fans of AC/DC don their t-shirts from the eighties and rock out with the new fans and the most memorable seeing and feeling 80,000 people run to the main stage on the last Sunday singing along to Kaskade. 


My first time taught me a bunch of things: Be adventurous and explore the grounds, with or without your friends, don't take too much stuff, stay well hydrated and above all, always have an exit strategy and a marked palm tree to meet the rest of your party if you get separated.


My second time taught me: VIP tickets are worth the extra money. Have fun, be comfortable, but don’t look like a clown. Practicality is of the essence.





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