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The ultimate guide to Coachella music festival


Calling all music lovers and fashionistas, we invite you to learn and discover about arguably the most Instagrammable festival on earth – Coachella. This event combines music, art, and luxury in the heart of the California desert, far away from the pop-up tents and late-night chants in the UK. As the premier destination for music aficionados and trendsetters alike, Coachella promises an unparalleled experience that transcends the ordinary.

Join us as we embark on a journey through the Coachella festival guide, exploring everything from its illustrious history to the must-see acts and answering the question, "where is Coachella?" Plus the most opulent hotels in Palm Springs await, promising a retreat fit for those seeking both relaxation and revelry amidst the festival fever. 

The history behind Coachella

Making its debut in 1999, Paul Tollett and Rick Van Santen founded Coachella with the idea of it being the antithesis of Woodstock; a peaceful, affordable event with everything from free parking to $3 burgers and polite festival goers. To the point where Rolling Stone even commented in their 1999 review that “People would say excuse me after they bumped into you.” Despite its popular line up which included Beck and Rage Against the Machine, the event lost $850,000 and was cancelled the following year. It then made its comeback in 2001 with Jane’s Addiction and Fatboy Slim performing. The single day event took off, and from humble beginnings has now been running for more than two decades with general admission tickets starting at $599 per person. 

Now a hub for celebrities and influencers, co-founder of fashion brand Revolve Michael Mente has compared it to New York Fashion Week, with the brand dressing 416 influencers at the 2017 festival. This craze has never gone away, with people taking to social media each year to rate the best dressed celebs and marvel at some of the spectacular and sometimes outlandish outfit choices. 

It also can’t be forgotten that this festival is also built around art. Each year, the festival transforms its grounds into a canvas where creativity knows no bounds. Giant interactive pieces invite festival-goers to engage with their surroundings, while intricate structures mesmerise with their designs. From towering art installations that punctuate the desert skyline to smaller, more intimate pieces scattered throughout the grounds, Coachella's art scene is as diverse and dynamic as the music lineup itself. 

Art installation at Coachella. Image credit: Visit Palm Springs

Art installation at Coachella. Image credit: Visit Palm Springs

Where is Coachella?

Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival is held at the prestigious Empire Polo Club in Indio, with the event taking place over two consecutive weekends. The Empire Polo Club is one of the finest facilities for outdoor events with 250 acres of lush gardens and fields. As well as famous festivals, sports including polo, lacrosse, soccer and American football are played here. 

The city of Indio can be found in the Coachella Valley of Southern California’s Colorado Desert, hence not only the festival’s name but also its dry and dusty landscape. For those not wanting to stay on site, less than a 30-minute drive away you’ll find endless luxury hotels in Palm Springs – the ideal place to kick back and relax in style. 

The Empire Polo Club

The Empire Polo Club
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Where to stay for Coachella?

With a range of accommodation types on and off site grounds, it can feel like a minefield when choosing where to stay for Coachella. But never fear, we have you covered with a list of places for all types of festival-goer. 

Stay at the festival

Forget canned camping kits and boggy fields because even the ‘basic’ Coachella packages put the UK festival stays to shame. Choose from a range of camping options where you can use your vehicle as your sleeping vessel or opt for a tented stay in an ‘un-auto zone’. 

Alternatively level up at Lake Eldorado where you can stay in a two-person lodge (complete with sleeping bags, pillows and indoor lighting) or a four-person tent. Lake Eldorado guests will also get private check in, 24-hour concierge, flushing toilets, hot showers and charging points. 

Safari Campgrounds are your other ‘camping’ option – if you can even call it that. The Safari Tent package will offer the ultimate glamping experience in a Shikar-style tent. Guests will have queen beds, an air conditioner, power strip, lighting, golf cart transport to the grounds, food delivery service, access to the air-conditioned lounge, complimentary breakfast, late-night snacks, WiFi and much more. For those in need of a little more structure, select a Safari Cabana which provides added privacy and protection from the elements. 

Finally the pièce de resistance is The Resort at Coachella. You and your companions won’t want for anything when staying in a pre-stocked yurt or residence thanks to the dedicated concierge service and elevated hospitality. With this package you’ll also get VIP passes on your weekend of choice, transportation services including to and from the airport and spa treatments. 

The Resort at Coachella yurt

The Resort at Coachella yurt

Stay in Palm Springs

Less than half an hour from Indio, this sought-after city is an instant go-to destination for Coachella visitors looking for luxury outside of the festival walls. We showcase our three favourite places to stay in Palm Springs:

V Palm Springs 

Tried and tested by our very own Senior Marketing Executive Jadeene, this luxury complex is a modern retreat nestled at the base of the San Jacinto mountains. The modern rooms, lavish pool area and delicious food makes this the perfect hangout. Plus, the Pan Asian-inspired pool bar and grill serves the best pre-festival cocktails and light bites. 

V Palm Springs

V Palm Springs

The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage

Overlooking Palm Springs, Coachella Valley and the San Jacinto mountain range, this hotel is set amongst the dusty landscape. It has a luxury onsite spa, state-of-the-art fitness centre and adult-only infinity pool complete with endless desert views. 

The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage

The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage

L’Horizon Resort 

This boutique hotel has a bohemian yet luxurious feel with geometric modern décor, fresh white linen and fine gold finishes. For those looking for an opulent stay, book The Premier Studio Bungalow Suite and you can soak your dancing feet in your own personal Jacuzzi. 

The Premier Studio Bungalow Suite

The Premier Studio Bungalow Suite

Stay in private accommodation

Ditch the camping, glamping and hotel life in favour of a private home for you and your group. Elusive celebrities often opt for this option, with stories of late night afterparties and pre-festival pool parties passing through social media. 

Our recommendation is On The Rocks, a luxury villa providing the ultimate hillside hideaway. Sleeping up to six, this adult-only property boasts exquisite rooms, a 200-degree view of the rolling desert, double-edge infinity pool and an open firepit. Staying here is a surefire way to host the perfect afterparty.

On The Rocks Estate

On The Rocks Estate

Top tips when visiting Coachella

Given what we know about Coachella, as a new visitor it may feel daunting on what to expect and prepare for prior to the event. Learning from her experiences, Jadeene has pulled together 10 quick fire tips for before you go:

Sr. Marketing Exec Jadeene at Coachella

Sr. Marketing Exec Jadeene at Coachella

1. Remember it’s hot: Did we tell you you’re in the desert? With temperatures reaching 35°C and beyond, don’t forget to pack your sunscreen and stay hydrated – and not just with alcoholic beverages!

2. Bring a bandana: As we have mentioned – you’re in a desert! Things get pretty dusty when the wind picks up so packing a trendy bandana to match your outfit is a must to protect your face.

3. If you’re travelling with a group, make a meeting spot: Like with any festival, it’s easy to get separated and Coachella is no different. Thankfully the giant, unique art sculptures make great assembly points. 

4. Arrive on the Thursday: While the main acts won’t be playing, take this day to explore the grounds, scout out the best food stalls and bars, get your bearings and marvel at the impressive artwork. 

5. Pack layers: Despite raving about the soaring climate, the evening winds are not a myth, and with a large open-air space like this, it’s easy to feel a breeze.

6. Under 21’s have less fun: Despite the differing laws in the UK, if you are under the age of 21 years and planning on visiting Coachella you will not be served alcohol. This rule is implemented throughout the festival and camp sites.

7. Book your accommodation early: To get the best accommodation in the best areas, book as early as possible to avoid disappointment. 

8. Dress to impress – but comfortably: We take our hats off to those who want to brave high heels, but it’s certainly not recommended. The large field that the festival occupies is often uneven and combine that with days and nights filled with dancing, you’ll want something more practical. 

9. Don’t rush to get there each day: Avoid the scorching mid-day sun and opt to spend the morning recuperating by your hotel pool and getting ready. The well-known artists don’t tend to appear until the evening and often this respite in the day is needed. However, be mindful if you have an artist that is a must see, ensure you leave enough time to get there as security lines can be lengthy when entering at peak times. 

10. Plan your outfit: If you’ve got this far you should know that image really does count when it comes to Coachella, so don’t leave your outfit choices to the last minute. If you want to dress to impress and get those Insta-worthy photos, take inspo from the likes of the Kardashians or Vanessa Hudgens – regular Coachella-goers and festival fashion icons.

Coachella 2018: @vanessahudgens Instagram credit

Coachella 2018: @vanessahudgens Instagram credit

Coachella FAQs

When is Coachella?
The festival always spans across two consecutive weekends in April. This year it will be 12th – 14th and 19th – 21st April 2024. 

How much are Coachella tickets?
General admission costs between $599 and $649 per person depending on when you purchase them. However, shuttle bus combos and camping passes will set you back a lot further, with luxury stays exceeding $11,000 for two people. 

Who is playing at Coachella festival?
For 2024, Lana Del Rey, Tyler, the Creator, and Doja Cat will headline. Previous years have seen Harry Styles, Swedish House Mafia, Eminem, Red Hot Chili Peppers and more. It’s a festival all artists want to be seen at. 

What time does the festival end? 
Approximate end times are 1am on Friday and Saturday and 12am Sunday. 

Are there single day passes?
Unfortunately not. If you want to experience Coachella only three-day festival passes are available. 

How can I maximise the number of artists I can see?
Download the Coachella mobile app where you can see the artist set lists. There will also be a festival guide which can be obtained when you are there. Happy planning! 

Image Credit: Coachella website

Image Credit: Coachella website

As the final notes fade and the desert sun sets on another unforgettable Coachella weekend, one thing is certain: the magic of this iconic festival lingers long after the last tent is packed away. From exclusive accommodation to Coachella top tips, our ultimate guide has illuminated every facet of luxury at this iconic festival.

As you plan your next adventure, consider indulging in the seamless luxury of our music tour travel management services. With meticulous attention to detail and unparalleled access, we'll orchestrate an unforgettable journey tailored to your every desire. Whether it's flights to get you to your chosen event or curated hotel choices , let us transform your travel dreams into reality.

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