Unfortunately, Coachella had to postpone this year’s performances to 2021 due to Coronavirus. But that shouldn’t stop you from adding this amazing festival to your bucket list and start planning ahead. I went to Coachella for the first time in April 2018 & I had the best time ever! The festival lineup is usually announced just three months before the festival, but that doesn’t stop everyone from buying their tickets well in advance.
Before you buy tickets for Coachella 2021, I want to share with you everything I learned from MONTHS of planning for Coachella. There are so many things you may overlook that could throw off your entire trip, so I’ve created this beginner’s guide to one of the best music festivals in the world.
What is Coachella?
Coachella is a Music and Arts Festival that takes place in Indo, California at the Empire Polo Grounds every April over the course of two separate weekends. Some of the world’s most famous artists and bands perform at this festival every year across five main stages. Coachella makes it a point to represent all musical genres.
The festival is located approximately 2.5 hours east of Los Angeles Airport. Thousands of people make their way to Coachella every year, and tickets always sell out. The location of this festival is very unique which adds to the whole experience. Not many people can say they went to a music festival in the desert!
Purchasing Tickets: General Admission or VIP
General admission tickets in 2019 went for $399. If you buy during the pre-sale, you will be able to pay off your tickets in 7 monthly payments. The sooner you start saving for your Coachella 2021 trip the better because things will start adding up. Tickets usually sell out within a few hours, so make sure you log in quickly and know what you want.
There is also an option of buying a Festival Pass/Shuttle Combo for $474. You can find out the drop off locations for the shuttle on Coachella’s website. If your hotel or campground is one of them, I highly recommend purchasing the combination pass.
If you’re feeling fancy, a VIP Coachella ticket will cost you $929. There were certain instances that we wished we had bought VIP tickets. Having the VIP wristband allowed you access into designated VIP areas with clean bathrooms and certain beer gardens/restaurants that were inaccessible to those with General Admission wristbands. The lines for the bathrooms and food there were significantly shorter.
If you end up buying general admission, make sure to plan ahead when you want to eat between sets. Give yourself at least an hour to get food or drinks because of the lines. If you forget to eat, you will get hungry at the worst possible times. I definitely missed at least three artists I really wanted to see because I was stuck waiting in line for food. Make sure you bring an empty water bottle into the festival. There are free water refill stations all over the festival grounds and you will want to stay hydrated.
Avoid ticket Reseller viagogo
I made a mistake of purchasing tickets from a reseller called Viagogo after tickets on Coachella’s website sold out. We ended up paying $650 each for General Admission tickets when it should have been just $430. The amount of hidden fees they tack on at checkout is disgusting. I’m not really sure how they are still in business. To top it all off, two of our tickets didn’t arrive until a week before the festival!
Viagogo tricked me into thinking their site was the last resort for buying tickets. They (obnoxiously) showed a meter on their site indicating that their ticket stock for Coachella was rapidly decreasing (which wasn’t true because I lurked on their site daily & they NEVER sold out). This was before I realized Coachella would be having another ticket sale closer to the date of the festival, so I hurried through the checkout process and bought the tickets. I could go on and on about the stress they caused me but just read the horror stories about them online.
Another reason why I wouldn’t trust buying Coachella 2021 tickets from viagogo is that you might not get your tickets until 3 days before the festival. The person selling you their ticket has to wait to get theirs first, and Coachella doesn’t mail out their official tickets until a month before the festival. You are at the mercy of your seller to put their ticket in the mail in time for you to get it. They also have practically no customer service. For months I tried calling them and there was never an answer. After spending tons of money on flights, campsites, rental cars, etc., you do not want to worry about not having your ticket in time for the festival.
Weekend 1 or Weekend 2?
If you didn’t already know, there are two weekends of Coachella. The performers for both weekends are the same, so you can pick whichever weekend works best for you for Coachella 2021. Last year I went to Weekend 2 and had no complaints.
There are a lot more celebrity sightings during the first weekend. It is definitely more crowded the first weekend with people who want to be “seen”. Coachella live streams online during Weekend 1, so you see all of the huge surprise guests and performers before attending Weekend 2. You still get some elements of surprise during Weekend 2, like when Kygo brought out Ariana Grande for his set.
Almost all of the exclusive parties happen during Weekend 1 (Revolve Festival & Neon Carnival), but unless you’re a “somebody” you are not going to get into them. If you survive being out in 95-degree weather from noon until midnight, don’t get ahead of yourself and think you’d also survive partying your ass off till the morning. We were so tired after each day of Coachella that we couldn’t even imagine going anywhere besides bed.
Camping at Coachella 2021
Don’t get me wrong, I love camping and being outdoors. However, just the thought of camping outside with thousands of people side by side in 95 degree weather made me pass out. I knew I would want my own space, a bed and air conditioning after being out in the desert heat all day so camping was out of the picture for me. I will say, however, that car camping on the festival grounds is the cheapest way to go.
Car camping costs $125 total per campsite for your entire weekend, and from what I hear one campsite has enough space to comfortably fit 4-5 people with all of your gear, tents and up to one vehicle (additional car can be added for a fee). Once you’re all settled in, you will not be able to drive in and out of the festival.
When buying tickets for Coachella 2021, make sure at least one person in your group purchases a car camping pass with their ticket in the same order on the Coachella website. If you have a bigger group, you may purchase multiple parking passes amongst yourselves and combine campsites. Keep in mind, if you buy your tickets from a reseller without a car camping pass together in the same order, you will not be able to go on Coachella’s website and buy just a camping pass.
A lot of people we met said that camping adds to the entire experience of Coachella. It definitely seemed like a great way to meet new friends since you’re all camping so close to each other (literally back to back camping). Being really close to the festival entrance is also a perk of car camping, however I have to warn you that it gets very HOT in the desert and you have to be able to tolerate a lot of noise/heat/people to get through a weekend camping at Coachella.
Why we chose to stay at Indian Waters RV Resort
If you’re like me and you’re willing to spend a little bit more for comfort, you will DEFINITELY want to stay at Indian Waters RV Resort. This will be the best decision of your life. Don’t have an RV or refuse to rent one to drive? No worries, there is a company I found called Star RV Rentals that will drop off & hook up a huge RV for you upon arrival at Indian Waters.
Indian Waters RV Resort is less than 5 miles away from the festival. The crowd at the RV resort were festival goers in their mid 20’s to upper 30’s. Nobody was disrespectful or obnoxious and we had no problems falling asleep at night. Every morning we walked down to the pool house for free continental breakfast. Afterwards, there was a DJ spinning all day at the pool and we would hang out there with everyone else before making our way to the festival.
We only paid a total of $300 each for our four night stay after splitting the cost four ways. That included the RV rental and campsite costs. The RV came to $200 per night and the campsite was a little less than $100 per night. Our RV came equipped with a TV, dining table with couch seating, kitchen with a decent sized fridge, bathroom, shower, separate bedroom with queen size bed, a couch, two full bunk beds, and the ability to turn the dining room into another pull out bed. We also had air conditioning that worked great and was much needed because temperatures reached 100 degrees over the weekend.
Indian Waters offers a shuttle to and from the festival for $75 per person total for the whole weekend. The shuttle runs every 15 minutes and we never had an issue getting to the festival. If you plan on staying at Indian Waters, DO NOT buy the shuttle pass directly from Coachella‘s website. Their shuttle does not stop at Indian Waters, which is why Indian Waters has their own shuttle they provide.
Coachella was an unforgettable experience & I would do it again in a heartbeat. As long as you plan it right, you will not regret it! Feel free to leave any comments below. I don’t mind answering any questions you may have in regards to Coachella. I wanted to close out this post with a mention of an amazing product I came across while shopping for Coachella. Keebos makes phone cases that have a strap attached & can be worn as a crossbody!! This is so perfect for festivals. When I last attended Ultra Music Festival, my phone was stolen from my back pocket which was devastating. I highly recommend this case as it also stores your credit cards as well. I will update this post regularly with more tips in the upcoming months as the festival approaches, so please subscribe below!