Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is one of the largest and most recognized music festivals in the world, continuously setting records for festival attendance and gross revenues. It is held every April for two consecutive three-day weekends at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California. Located in the beautiful Coachella Valley, this festival invites visitors from all over the world to celebrate music and art alongside the Colorado Desert’s scenic views.
Let’s take an inside look at what makes Coachella so popular, including must-know information and insider tips from visitors. If you’ve checked out this year’s lineup and decided you can’t miss out, use this guide to help prepare you for one of the best weekends ever.
Coachella Fast Facts
|Founded by:||Paul Tollett and Rick Van Santen|
|Organized by:||AEG Goldenvoice|
|Genres:||Rock, indie, hip-hop, EDM|
|Venue Size:||330 Acres|
|Attendance:||250,000 (two-weekend total)|
|Dates for 2018:||April 13-15 & April 20-22|
|Address:||81-800 Avenue 51 Indio, California 92201|
A diverse lineup of genres, including established artists, emerging artists, reunited groups, and some of the biggest names in music today. This year’s headliners are The Weeknd, Beyoncé and Eminem. The lineups for both weekends are identical.
Original, large-scale art installations displayed throughout the festival grounds, created by established and up-and-coming artists.
Sustainability initiatives contribute to the betterment of Coachella Valley, including a recycling store, wooden solar signs, energy playground, and recyclable art.
On-site camping for four full days, with the option to build your own oasis with car and tent camping or the convenience of using fully-equipped premium camping, at the serene Lake Eldorado.
Delicious food vendor options for every taste and budget, including vegan options.
Hotel travel packages and shuttles for easy access to the festival.
Directions to Coachella
From Palm Springs:
On East Alejo Road, turn left onto North Indian Canyon Drive and turn right onto East Vista Chino to exit Palm Springs.
Continue along Vista Chino for 4 miles and turn left onto Date Palm Drive for 6 miles.
Turn right onto I-10 East, continue for 24 miles and exit towards CA-86.
After 1 mile, exit towards Dillon Road.
Turn right onto 48th Avenue and another right onto CA-111/Grapefruit Boulevard/U.S. Highway 86 for 1 mile.
Turn left onto CA-111/Grapefruit Boulevard for 1 mile and take a slight right turn to arrive at Coachella on 1st Street.
From Los Angeles:
Head Southeast on West 1st Street toward North Main Street.
Turn left onto North Los Angeles Street after 0.3 miles.
Turn right to merge onto US-101 South toward I-10 for 0.1 miles.
Merge onto US-101 South after 0.7 miles and keep left at the fork to continue on San Bernardino Freeway for 1.2 miles.
Continue on I-10 for 123 miles and take exit 142 for Monroe Street towards Central Indio.
Follow Monroe Street to 51st Avenue for 4.2 miles to arrive at Coachella.
From San Diego:
Head East on Broadway for 0.7 miles and turn left onto 11th Avenue.
After 0.3 miles, keep left to continue on CA-163 North.
Follow the signs for North Escondido for 11.1 miles.
Merge onto I-15 North for 45.4 miles.
Keep right and take exit 58 for CA-79 S/Temecula Parkway towards Indio for 0.2 miles.
Turn right onto CA-79 South/Temecula Parkway and continue south for 17.7 miles.
Turn left onto CA-371 East for 20.7 miles and turn right onto CA-74 East for 24.2 miles.
Turn right onto CA-111 South for 5.6 miles and turn right onto Washington Street.
After 2.1 miles, turn left onto Avenue 50 for 3.5 miles.
Turn right onto Monroe Street for 0.5 miles and make another right onto 51st Avenue for 0.2 miles to arrive at Coachella on the right.
Coachella Insider Tips
Coachella Parking Map
Lot 1 is the VIP Parking lot. To get there, take 10 Eastbound and exit at Monroe Street. Head South and turn right at 49th Avenue. Turn left onto LOT VIP Parking to arrive.
Lot 2A is the Companion Parking and Tent Camping Parking lot. To get there, take 10 Eastbound and exit at Jefferson Street. Continue to Indio Boulevard and make a left at 50th Avenue. Follow the directional signs to LOT 2A on the left. Note that the Friend & Family, Ride Share, and Taxi Drop Offs are here on Thursday.
Lot 13 is the Car Camping lot. To get there from 10 Eastbound, exit at Jefferson Street to Indio Boulevard. Make a right and follow the signs and traffic personnel to the check-in lanes. This is the official drop off location for friends and family, open from Friday through Sunday. If you’re arriving on Thursday, use Lot 2A as Lot 13 will not be open.
Lake Eldorado is Coachella’s premier camping location accessible only to those who are camping there. To get to this exclusive area, take 10 Eastbound and exit at Jefferson Street. Continue to Indio Boulevard and make a right. Turn left at 50th Avenue and a right at Madison Street. Follow the directional signs to Lake Eldorado on the left.
A taxi and rideshare lot will be open Friday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. at 49 Avenue and Monroe. Follow the Yellow Path to and from the festival to get there.
Pedestrians can access the festival on the corner of 49th Avenue and Monroe Street and at the corner of 52nd Avenue and Madison Street.
The parking lots open at 9 a.m. Thursday. Day parking is free and open from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. on festival days. Make sure you move your car before the lots close or it will be towed!
There is no overnight parking, but there are a limited amount of Camping Companion Parking passes available for those who are staying in another car or tent camping spot and need to park their car overnight. Campers can only purchase one additional Camping Companion Parking pass per camping pass, and if you drive out of the lot you will not be allowed back in.
We suggest carpooling to help save money and lessen the worry about parking several vehicles. Save yourself the long walk of dragging your gear by loading it all into the car that you are taking to the camping lot.
Make sure you have your wristbands on before entering the parking lots and be prepared to have your car thoroughly searched.
Other Ways To Get To Coachella
To encourage sustainability, Coachella offers the “Carpoolchella” initiative. If you carpool with four or more friends, you are automatically entered for a chance to win awesome perks like VIP passes for life, “Guest” backstage passes, VIP upgrades, and more!
If you’d rather not use a car, there are shuttle and bus options which offer the easiest and fastest arrival and departure. The Any Line, Anytime Shuttle is a shuttle pass that is good for all three festival days. Ride any Coachella shuttle line during operating hours for the flexibility to travel between the fest grounds and local areas.
The LAX Airport Shuttle is a great option for those who are flying in and plan on camping or staying in a hotel. It offers a one-way trip between LAX and onsite camping at one of the participating resorts: Renaissance Palm Springs, JW Marriott in Palm Desert and La Quinta Resort. If you need to get back to LAX, you can purchase another trip separately.
The No-Cal, San Diego and Phoenix Shuttles are perfect for people who live in neighboring cities and are attending Coachella. These shuttles depart Thursday from San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, Sacramento, San Diego, and Phoenix, and return Monday. Roundtrip and one-way tickets are available.
You can also have friends and family drop you off at the designated location. Use a ridesharing service or taxi to get there.
It has been reported that security can take a lot of time depending on the time of day in which you enter the grounds. The sheer volume of festival attendants leads to long lines that can take up to 1-2 hours, especially the later you wait to enter. We suggest you get in early!
Empire Polo Club Prohibited Items:
- Chairs, coolers
- Audio recording devices, drones, detachable lens cameras
- Drugs, weapons
- Flags, totems, umbrellas
- Hard water bottles
- Outside food or beverages
- Selfie sticks, tripods
- Tents or sleeping bags
Coachella makes camping easy with several campground amenities for your convenience. There are free showers, a general store, portable toilets, free water refill stations, mobile phone charging stations, free Wi-Fi in lounge, food and beverage vendors, a farmer’s market, and supermarket shuttles.
The car camping option allows visitors to purchase a pass to camp next to their car in a lot. The spots are 10’x 30’ and you can pile as many people in your spot as you can comfortably fit. Once you park, you can’t leave the lot for the entire weekend (Thursday-Monday) as cars are not allowed to go in and out. Make sure you arrive with your group to camp together since saving spots is not allowed.
Tent only camping spots are 10’x 15’ grass spots that come with one overnight parking spot to leave your car. You can fit as many people you can in the spot.
Lake Eldorado is an exclusive camping option for those who are looking to add a little more flair to their camping experience. The lake offers a serene setting for a sense of remoteness with the convenience of being in proximity to the general store and food vendors. The site includes Tee-Pees that are 16’ in diameter with two cots, sleeping bags and pillows. There are also Safari tents that are fully furnished and air conditioned with security and a concierge for the ultimate luxury experience.We suggest you pack light, but make sure you bring the essentials:
- Portable charger, fan, speaker, lamp
- Water bottles, Pedialyte, juices
- Nonperishables such as protein bars
- Cleansing wipes/makeup remover
- Dry shampoo, hair gel, brush
- Inflatable mattress and air pump
- Plenty of blankets (the average low in Indio, CA is 55 degrees)
- Tent, sleeping bag, canopy
- Foldable chair
- Portable grill
- Cooler and ice
- Bug spray, sunscreen
- Airy clothes, comfortable shoes, hats, sunglasses (average high is 81 degrees)
- Bandana to cover your mouth and nose from the dust
- Picnic blankets
- Battery-powered flashlight
- Fanny packs, backpacks
- Towels, napkins, toilet paper
It can be a bit tricky to figure out where your camp is located, especially since the camping grounds are so big. We recommend using your phone to drop a pin for your camp’s location. You can also bring a distinguishable flag to put up at your camp so that you can easily find it.
Camping can be a fun experience that brings groups together with shared memories. Make the best out of it and enjoy!
Coachella Food & Concessions
A festival like Coachella requires a lot of activity, whether you’re dancing, walking around, or standing. It’s important to stay hydrated and healthy with proper nutrients, especially beneath the hot desert sun.
Visitors state that there are countless of delicious food options throughout the grounds, although it can be expensive. Alcoholic beverages are also sold, but are also priced higher than one would typically pay. Whether you’re a picky eater or a vegan, you won’t have to go far to find something yummy to munch on at the festival.
The Coachella Experience
Festival-goers have reported that the overall Coachella experience was positive and highly recommended. The festival grounds have plenty of open space and grass to lay a blanket down and rest, perhaps enjoy a meal.
Because the grounds are so big, make sure you wear comfortable shoes and bring layers of clothes so that you are warm when it cools down at night.
Visitors have stated that the bathrooms can get filthy just after the first day, so we suggest you bring toilet paper, hand sanitizer and cleansing wipes. The average wait time to use the restroom is about five minutes and there are plenty throughout the grounds.
Be sure to take the time to appreciate the art scattered throughout the festival! They are unique pieces created solely for the event and typically make a statement on something of importance.
The production for the stages is top-notch, with high-quality speakers that can be heard from the campsites and bass that can be felt running through your body. The massive LED screens can be seen from anywhere in the crowd, making for an immersive music experience.
Traffic entering and leaving the venue can take hours so make sure you plan accordingly.
10 Closest Hotels Near Coachella Valley
Indian Palms Country Club & Resort
48630 Monroe St, Indio, CA 92201
80651 Highway 111, Indio, CA 92201
Super 8 Hotel Indio
81753 Highway 111, Indio, CA 92201
Embassy Suites La Quinta
50-777 Santa Rosa Plaza, La Quinta, CA 92253
Fairfield Inn & Suites Palm Desert
74764 Technology Dr, Palm Desert, Greater Palm Springs, CA 92211-5803
Hampton Inn & Suites Palm Desert
74900 Gerald Ford Dr, Palm Desert, Greater Palm Springs, CA 92211-2081
Homewood Suites by Hilton Palm Desert
36999 Cook St, Palm Desert, Greater Palm Springs, CA 92211-6066
Comfort Suites Palm Desert I-10
39585 Washington St, Palm Desert, Greater Palm Springs, CA 92211-1153
Motel 6 Palm Desert - Palm Springs Area
78100 Varner Rd, I-10 at Washington Street, Palm Desert, Greater Palm Springs, CA 92211-1117
Courtyard Palm Desert
74895 Frank Sinatra Dr, Palm Desert, Greater Palm Springs, CA 92211-2055
The full 2018 Coachella lineup below, separated by genre:
Electronic Dance Music
Kygo | ODESZA | Deorro | Louis The Child | Illenium | Alan Walker | Alison Wonderland | REZZ | Snakehips | San Holo | Petit Biscuit | Troyboi | Cash Cash | Whethan | Ekali | Party Favor | Busy P | Barclay Crenshaw | Giraffage | Slow Magic | Kittens
R&B | The Weeknd | Beyoncé | Eminem | SZA | Vince Staples | Tyler, the Creator | Post Malone | Migos | Cardi B | Miguel | Daniel Caesar | Kali Uchis | Blackbear | French Montana | 6lack | Russ | Kelela | Alina Baraz | BROCKHAMPTON | Wizkid | Aminé | Kamaiyah | Dej Loaf | KYLE | Jacob Banks | Belly | Jorja Smith | Flatbush Zombies | Princess Nokia | Noname | Sudan Archives | Jidenna | LION BABE | THEY. | MHD | Westside Gunn + Conway
House and Techno
Maceo Plex | Black Coffee | Jamie Jones | Justin Martin | The Black Madonna | Motor City Drum Ensemble | Chris Liebing | Detroit Love | Yaeji | AC Slater | Joseph Capriati | Talaboman | Hannah Wants | Avalon Emerson | Moon Boots | HITO | Jackmaster | Pachanga Boys | Bedouin | Kolsch | Omar-S | Michael Mayer | Peggy Gou
Soulwax | Jungle | Dreams | Perfume Genius | Marian Hill | Moses Sumney | Ibeyi | Elohim | Tom Misch | The Blaze | Benjamin Clementine | Hundred Waters | John Maus | Helado Negro | Cuco | The Marías | Mild High Club | Buscabulla Indie/Pop | Vance Joy | BØRNS | The Neighbourhood | MØ | LANY | Jessie Ware | LP | PVRIS | AURORA | Sir Sly | Hayley Kiyoko | Sigrid | Chloe x Halle | MAGIC GIANT | Declan McKenna
St. Vincent | The War on Drugs | Haim | Portugal The Man | David Byrne | alt-J | Fleet Foxes | King Krule | Bleachers | First Aid Kit | Tash Sultana | The Drums | Angel Olsen | LÉON | Alvvays | Django Django | Benjamin Booker | Big Thief | Oh Sees | Japanese Breakfast | Knox Fortune | Fazerdaze | Cherry Glazerr | The Buttertones | The Regrettes | Boogarins | Señor Kino | Priests | Ron Gallo | Snail Mail | Bane’s World | Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever | B Boys
A Perfect Circle | FIDLAR | Greta Van Fleet | The Bronx | X Japan | Highly Suspect | Nothing But Thieves | Otoboke Beaver Funk & Disco | Jamiroquai | Chromeo | Chic featuring Nile Rodgers | Los Ángeles Azules (Cumbia) | Jean-Michel Jarre (Electronica) | Kamasi Washington (Jazz) | Tank and the Bangas (Funk/Soul/Spoken Word) | Skip Marley (Reggae) | Carpenter Brut (Hard Electronica) | The Delirians (Reggae/Ska)