“Eh, pardon me, sir, but could you direct me to the shortest route to the Coachella Valley and the Big Carrot Festival therein?” says Bugs Bunny as he chases down a matador in fancy knickerbockers shortly before smacking a bull in the face while simultaneously doing a hat dance. That rabbit knows where it's at. And if he's going to the Coachella Valley, so am I. And not a moment too soon because…
Coachella is back! Now, with more sunstroke!
SoCal's foremost desert dance party and rock 'n' roll ruckus returns April 12 - April 19 to the Empire Polo Field in Indio, CA with an enviable line up of more than 175 bands, wicked hippie art installations, Kogi Food Truck and of course Spicy Pie , Vegetarians, Vegan and Gluten-free attendees have all their needs covered, luxury on-site camping, and a purple Prince.
The legendary Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival is an electrifying sprawl of sensory overload that requires both a good attitude and a commitment to common sense (although logic and reason should probably tell you not to spend three days outside in the desert in the first place).
LA.COM is It's a fine line, after all, between being prepared and being flambéed. Hike yer hose and hitch yer wagon ‘cause we're headed to the badlands.
What To Expect
Prepare as if you were taking a three day retreat to the inside of your oven. It will be hot. It will be dry. And you will probably get burned. The Empire Polo field is deceptive with its cushy green grass and towering palm perimeter. But make no mistake, you are very much in the desert. What you are seeing is merely a mirage-like hallucination brought on by acute dehydration and/or the crappy teenage weed you picked up in the parking lot.
What To Bring
While it may be pedestrian to write out a list, you will thank me when your contact lenses unceremoniously seize to your eyeballs and your friends unwittingly contract hoof-in-mouth disease while you are dust-free and gorgeous. You're welcome.
Pack a medium tote or knapsack with the following light essentials: mega SPF sunscreen, the biggest Kentucky Derby-type hat you can find, a non-professional camera, cash, ID, ATM card, travel sized Wet Ones Antibacterial Hands & Face Wipes, earplugs, eye drops and sunglasses.
Last year, gaggles of gals also brought pretty parasols to shield against wanton ozone, but this year there seems to be a no umbrella policy. Semantics or real restriction? Check the FAQs and decide for yourself. A complete list of YES and NO bringables are noted on the official Coachella website.
What To Wear
Dress for success in the thinnest clothing you have and layer like Mom taught you. Rainbow flip flops are a winner because of the arch support, and a zippy sweatshirt + knit cap makes nighttime the right time. Also wear your watch. Cell service is slim and you will want to time the tightly scheduled sets of your favorite bands.
The parking is FREE and the lot is a giant dirt field that goes on for infinity. If you don't have one of those plastic, petrified Wienerschnitzel dogs clutching your antenna, you may never find your car again. The bad news, brace yourself for a long walk of biblical proportions to get to the entrance. The good news, once you are inside, the trek from tent to tent and stage to stage seems far less epic. Other transportation options include a nearby taxi drop and a snazzy Amtrak express train that takes passengers directly from Union Station to Indio.
Set Times & Stages
The stage assignments and set times are released a few days before the festival but the Coachella Scheduler (called the Coachooser, wocca wocca) is available now on the official website. Scroll the lineup and make a wish-list of the bands you want to see each day. Your choices are saved, and when the set times are released the data will populate your fantasy program so you can print it out and plan your attack.
58 Bands, In 4 Words Or Less
Here's who's playing.:
Get to you know the bands. With more than 175 acts taking the stage, you may want to brush-up on the talent roster if you intend to keep straight the indie folk cats from the electrojive crew. The Coachella website has a hefty list of YouTube videos for your researching pleasure. There is also a loaded media player to help you get acquainted with the lesser known artists. Check out LA.COM for our own Coachella playlist, and peruse our list of 58 great bands, in 4 words or less.
Friday, April 12 and 19
Blur, The Stone Roses, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Modest Mouse, Lou Reed, Jurassic 5, Grinderman, Bassnectar, Dog Blood, How to Destroy Angels, Passion Pit, Tegan and Sara, Band of Horses, Beach House, Metric, Local Natives, Of Monsters and Men, Infected Mushroom, Japandroids, Divine Fits, Stars, Johnny Marr, Luciano, Wolfgang Gartner, Nicky Romero, Modestep, Tommy Trash, Thomas Gold, the Shouting Matches, Dillon Francis, Four Tet, Aesop Rock, Alt-J, Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine, TNGHT, Jake Bugg, Earl Sweatshirt, Polica, Sparks, Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, Purity Ring, Lee Scratch Perry, Dam-Funk, DJ Harvey, Jamie xx, Seth Troxler, Youth Lagoon, Deathfix, C2C, Beardyman, Lord Huron, Palma Violets, IO Echo, Skinny Lister, the Neighbourhood, Sam XL Pure Filth Sound
Saturday, April 13 and 20
Phoenix, the XX, the Postal Service, Sigur Ros, New Order, Hot Chip, Grizzly Bear, Knife Party, Benny Benassi, Two Door Cinema Club, Moby, Descendents, Yeasayer, Franz Ferdinand, Violent Femmes, Simian Mobile Disco, Spiritualized, Puscifer, Cafe Tacuba, Portugal, the Man, the Make-Up, Bat for Lashes, Richie Hawtin, Major Lazer, Fedde Le Grand, Dropkick Murphys, FOALS, Ben Howard, 2 Chainz, Janelle Monae, Danny Brown, Wild Nothing, Booka Shade, Bingo Players, Allen Stone, El-P, the Selecter, Pusha T, Kill the Noise, the Evens, Biffy Clyro, Theophilus London, Baauer, Zane Lowe, Trash Talk, Birdy Nam Nam, Action Bronson, Jason Bentley, the Wombats, Guards, Mona, Savages, Shovels & Rope, Huoratron, Kurt Vile, Reignwolf, Cassy, 3Ball MTY, Kids These Days, the 2 Bears, the Colourist, Vintage Trouble
Sunday, April 14 and 21
Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Vampire Weekend, Social Distortion, Wu-Tang Clan, Pretty Lights, Eric Prydz, Tame Impala, the Lumineers, Dead Can Dance, La Roux, James Blake, Excision Grimes, the Gaslight Anthem, the Faint, Hardwell, Paul Oakenfold, Dinosaur Jr., Raider Klan, OMD, Roni Size, the Airborne Toxic Event, Father John Misty, Tanlines, Rodriguez, Alex Clare, Paul Kalkbrenner, Jessie Ware, Loco Dice, Jamie Jones, the Three O'Clock, Disclosure, Mimosa, Cloud Nothings, Parov Stelar Band, Julio Bashmore, Thee Oh Sees, Dub Fx, Maya Jane Coles, JEFF the Brotherhood, Smith Westerns, Dirtyphonics, Joris Voorn, Hanni El Khatib, Danny Avila, Ghost, DIIV, Little Green Cars, Mord Fustang, James McCartney, Unicorn Kid, Robert DeLong, White Arrows, Deep Vally, Wild Belle, Adrian Lux, Ladies Night
Lisa Brenner contributed to this article