I Came, I Saw, I CHELLA'D!
An experience that I've longed for finally fell into my lap. As a Cali girl, Coachella was a legend I'd long since heard. Every year droves of kids would go missing from my high school to attend the super fest. Us less plugged and less fortunate were left to wonder about this mystical experience; one where you sleep away and listen to bands jam in the middle of the desert. I'd always wanted to see what it was about but as the price and popularity of the festival grew, I chalked it up as a missed opportunity. "There's was no way I'll be able to afford it nor is there anyone I really want to see," I thought to myself.
Fast forward ten years and I was offered the opportunity not only to attend but to get paid to do so! My very cool part-time job Trejos Tacos was vending at the festival and needed a team to hold down the booth. After a rain dance and a prayer, I accepted the offer and was off to experience Coachella as a vendor for two weekends. But this wasn't just any Coachella, this was #Beychella, Cardi, Migos, 6lack, Miguel, Eminem Chella. The Coachella meant for me. Now that the dust has settled and I've successfully survived two weekends I can share. Here's an inside look at how it all went down, including my tips and tricks for surviving and thriving through the weekend!
1. Don't underestimate. Coachella is MASSIVE. It's essentially a pop-up city that will be your home for the next three days. If you are not familiar with maps you'll need to get familiar. There are 1,000 ways to get lost and you'll want to know how to navigate before 150,000 people descend on the venue. Grab a map from the info booth and hold onto it for dear life.
2. Staff camp has better accommodations but camping as an attendee can be a blast IF you do it right! Come prepared with all that and more, and know you might be wiping it down. The lines for the shower are pretty ridiculous. Roll with your REAL friends. A festival of this grandeur requires a whole lotta gang shit plus camping can turn into one big tailgate. The more the merrier!
3. If you're vending, take it all in. You get access, shortcuts, and a paycheck to be at Coachella. But with privilege comes responsibility. Be prepared to be on your feet, deal with drunk people, huge crowds, and a lingering sense of exhaustion. You'll need to fight through these feels if you actually want to enjoy the experience. (Try your best it's Coachella and you may never get this chance again!)
4. Stay hydrated! Not just water hydrated, I'm talking coconut water, alkaline, electrolit hydrated! You're exerting lots of energy and you'll need it to survive the dust and the desert. Keep a protein bar on you when you need a power up.
5. Get up early. THERE ARE SO MANY PPL. There is a line for everything. The earlier you can get in and knock out the cute shit, the more time you have to party and bullshit.
6. Buy your merch ASAP. Don't wait and have the long face if your favorite artist's merch sells out. I missed out on a Beychella shirt from slacking. If you're working make sure to ask for the discount.
7. The side is the best way to the front. If you want to see your fave up close accept that there will be a massive crowd to fight. Try to get there at least a set early and travel up the outskirts. People can get rowdy, so crowd hop at your own risk.
8. Pace yourself. This is a long expensive three days. Be sure you have enough money and stamina to make it to the end. Handle things like merch first, but hold out for those splurge meals until you really want it.
9. Ride the Ferris wheel! It's an icon, it's a landmark, it's a bird's eye view. Don't sleep!
10. Accept that you can't do it all. There is so much happening. There will be some things you just cant do. Prioritize whats important and enjoy the moment.
LIVE IT UP! You made it to Coachella, life is good.