11 Tips for Coachella Weekend 2

posted by Laura Baker-Finch on April 17, 2014

Coachella 2014 by Laura Baker-Finch

Indio, California -- We were at Coachella for Weekend 1 to give you second weekenders an inside look at what to expect, and how to properly prepare. 

Scroll down for our Coachella tips covering everything from getting to and from the festival each day to the best spot to spend a relaxing Sunday Funday to who you have to see.  


1. Security gets stricter each day

Day one, my bag was opened but no contents were touched. Day two, the contents of the same bag were jiggled around, I was patted down, and my hat was checked. Day three, the same contents in the same bag were all removed, opened, shaken, and smelt (seriously). Needless to say you shouldn't take the lack of security on Friday to mean you can bring in prohibited items the rest of the weekend.  

2. There are no taxi ranks at the shuttle stops, call one on your way 

Instead of driving or waiting in a long line (and paying crazy fares) for a cab outside the festival, my Coachella partner and I decided to buy the $60 shuttle pass to the festival. We (wrongfully) assumed when we returned to the shuttle stop from the festival each night we would be greeted by a taxi rank to take us the rest of the 5-minute car journey to our residence. That was not the case. We were greeted with an empty parking lot and a few rude phone calls with non-local Uber drivers. If you plan to take the shuttle to get yourself closer to your bed from the festival, call a cab once the shuttle has left the festival to meet you at the stop. 


3. Find an air-conditioned oasis at the Heineken House 

It can get pretty damn hot at Coachella, it is in the desert after all. If you find yourself overheating so much not even a coconut water and Sahara Tent shade can cool you down, head to the Heineken House located in the Terrace. Once inside, you'll be treated to air conditioning, WiFi, fusion-inspired donuts, live art, djs (Weekend 1 had a surprise set from Dixon), and, of course, Heineken. Sure, some of the other brand-sponsored locations had AC, but they lacked live music and, c'mon, you're at a music festival, after all. 

4. There’s one bar where you can get a shot

Coachella has numerous beer gardens but festivalgoers must remain within their fences with their beverages. While fine for overlooking the Coachella Stage and Outdoor Theatre, sometimes you want a quick drink so you can get to the barricade or roam over to the Gobi or Mojave tents where the beer gardens are less prevalent. When the latter is the case, head to the beer garden next to the Ferris Wheel and make your way to the oval-shaped cocktail bar by the food trucks. Here, not only are there multiple alcohol choices (mm, Whiskey), you can order them in shot-form - sort of

On the first day the bartenders were required to put an ice cube in the cup and by the second they were told all drinks must have mixers in addition to the ice. Here is where you need to get creative. Order a shot, sympathetically express that you are aware of the rules imposed on them, and ask for an ice cube plus a splash of water or club soda. Voila! A Coachella shot. 

5. Some bars accept credit cards

Whether you took our advice and brought cash to Coachella or not, there's still a chance you'll run out at some point - festivals aren't cheap. But, if it's alcohol you are after, find the bars with credit card signs on their computers, or Square readers on their iPhones. We spotted them in the beer gardens in front of the Ferris Wheel and between the two main outdoor stages, but don't take this as reason to not bring cash. The machines were finicky and you often had to go in a separate line. However, it outweighs paying ATM fees when it comes down to it. 

6. Best photo op is at the Absolut Little Sun Bar 

There were quite a few photo opportunities at Coachella and, for the sake of research of course, we tried as many as we could to find your best option. Whether you’re taking your own selfies with the giant, roaming astronaut or getting an album collage of your face at Spotify Social, there were many ways to get a festival keepsake. The best we found? The Light Write Photo Experience in the Absolut Little Sun Bar. 

While you soak up the AC and get a (vodka) cocktail in the shade, go into the dark photo booth enclosure for the most creative photo experience yet. You’ll get your photo taken then be given handheld, flower-shaped lights to make any patterns, words, or blurring you want while the photo is being developed. 

7. Bring a bandana

Unless you want to be crying dirt and coughing up dust for the days following Coachella, pack a bandana. The dust storm and wind on Saturday of Weekend 1 was so bad, there was dirt in my tissue days after the festival came to an end. Not only is that sort of admission disgusting, it can't be good for you. Cover your nose and mouth with a bandana or mask (the kind doctors or painters wear will suffice) when the weather calls for it. To be safe, just keep it in your bag. 


8. You have to see Banks 

You’ve probably heard of Banks by now, whether from SXSW buzz, magazine covers, countless Artists to Watch lists, or her appearance on a few notable festival lineups. That being said, up until the end of 2013, not many people had heard of the LA-based, electro-soul singer. Coachella only marked Banks’ second festival appearance ever, but she commanded her packed Gobi Tent crowd like a pro. 

Her dark R&B tracks sound at once sultry and vulnerable, matching Banks’ on-stage presence. The crowd was singing along, hanging on her every word but Banks appeared in awe of it all, singing covers because she was nervous and thanking her fans profusely. What truly makes Banks’ Saturday mid-afternoon set a must at Coachella Weekend 2, however, is the fact her voice will run chills up and down your spine. It’s better than recorded, if you can believe it. 

9. Chill out on Sunday Funday in the beer garden 

Let’s face it, three days is a long time to be (drinking) in the sun and staying up most of the night. By Sunday, don’t be ashamed if sitting in the grass sounds better than getting to the barricade. Luckily, Sunday’s afternoon schedule bodes well for a chilled-out Sunday afternoon. 

Enter the beer garden between the Main Coachella Stage and the Outdoor Theatre during the 1975, grab yourself a beer or cocktail from the Absolut Little Sun Bar, and snag your spot on a picnic table in the shade. Until the sun sets all you’ll have to do is keep those sunglasses on and move from one side of the Beer Garden to the other to see Zoé,  Blood Orange, The Naked and Famous, and Neutral Milk Hotel. All sets ideal for sitting in the grass, meeting new friends, sing-a-longs, and light dancing (no fist-pumping required). 

10. The special guests were better than the reunions 

Coachella had some notable reunions, namely Friday-night headliners Outkast, but even the famed hip-hop duo was overshadowed by the weekend's collaborations and special guests. They brought out Janelle Monae and played through the hits the crowd was dying to see, but even Prince and Diddy sat backstage instead of making an appearance. Let’s just say that Beyonce and Jay Z’s appearances are going to be talked about for longer than “Hey Ya!”

Unfortunately we don’t know whether all the same special guests will make a round 2 appearance for Coachella’s second weekend. So keep your ear out for rumors and make sure to see these performances, just in case. 

11. Arrive early for Pharrell (Saturday) and Lorde (Sunday)

Not only were Pharrell Williams and Lorde not headliners, they weren’t even on the Main Stage. But that didn’t stop these two solo artists from drawing some of the biggest crowds of the weekend. We got to the Outdoor Theatre for Pharrell during his first song, but the crowd had already grown so big we were almost in the Gobi Tent. We couldn’t even see the big screens on either side of the stage let alone the stage itself. It didn’t lesson our enjoyment of the set, but it would’ve been nice not to question whether all his crazy special guests were actually real. 

Keep these tips in mind at Coachella this weekend, and don't forget to peep the Weekend 2 Set Times and our Festival Guide to Coachella

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See Also: 

The Coachella 2014 Weekend 2 Set Times are Here!
Coachella 2014: Top Weekend 1 Collaborations
Staff Picks: Record Store Day 2014