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The Ultimate Traveler's Guide To Coachella 2018

By Laurie Jo Miller Farr

About 250,000 people will attend over two consecutive weekends for The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in the vast Sonoran Desert. Created in 1999, Coachella is now one of the world's largest and most profitable music festivals, attracting a mix of genres including rock, indie, hip hop, and electronic dance music. Just showing up at Coachella is not an option, so read more about the event here.

When, Where, and Getting There

The event is April 13-15 and April 20-22, 2018 at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, less than 25 miles southeast of Palm Springs, California, which has an international airport. Palm Springs is a two-hour drive from Los Angeles (144 miles) or San Diego (133 miles). The drive to Indio from Phoenix is 246 miles, Las Vegas is 277 miles, San Jose is 466 miles, and San Francisco is 508 miles. If you're in Southern California and keen to stay out of the traffic, fly in with JetSuiteX. They're operating pop-up flights from Burbank Airport to Jacqueline Cochrane Desert Regional Airport in Thermal, California (only severn miles from Indio) for $199 each way throughout April.

Ticket Information

Only three-day passes are sold and these are specific to the chosen weekend; daily tickets are not for sale. Separate wristbands are issued for each weekend and should be worn separately on the appropriate dates. As artists may be performing on different stages at the same time, there's no guarantee that anyone can see them all, so it's suggested guests study the schedule to make a priority plan.

Lineup for 2018

Canadian singer, songwriter and record producer known as The Weeknd headlines on both Fridays of Coachella. Also appearing in the Friday lineup are Jamiroquai, SZA, Kygo, St. Vincent, The War on Drugs, Vince Staples, Jean-Michel Jarre  and more. Beyonce appears on the two Saturdays as well as HAIM, Tyler the Creator, David Byrne, Fleet Foxes, alt-J, Post Malone and others. Eminem headlines on both Sundays at Coachella 2018 plus ODESZA, The Man, Portugal., A Perfect Circle, Cardi B, Miguel, Migos and more. The full lineup features dozens of artists as seen on the Coachella website.

Travel Packages

Non-refundable travel packages that include hotel accommodation will sell out. A couple dozen partner hotels offer a three night stay (some with a four night option) for each of the two weekends. Packages include accommodation for two or four people, and a three day general admission or a three day VIP pass to Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival 2018. Also included is a shuttle running all weekend between the hotel and the festival venue.

Car Camping and Campgrounds

On-site camping at Coachella is a popular option. Free amenities include showers, Wi-Fi in the Connected Lounge, mobile charging stations, grocery store shuttles, ice, and water refills. Both car camping and tent camping passes should be ordered online in advance, made available as long as they last to anyone holding a festival pass.

Shuttle or Carpoolchella

Decorate your car (even a piece of typing paper will do) and get some people to share a ride. Random cars with four or more that display "Carpoolchella" on the vehicle may be approached for questioning upon driving in in order to be eligible for the prize draw. To get in even faster, take the shuttle. Buses depart from San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, Sacramento, San Diego, Phoenix and Los Angeles International Airport with one-way or roundtrip ticket options.

Expert Tips

With that many fans descending on an oasis in the desert, Coachella's website suggests not leaving anything to chance for the best possible experience. "Nail down all the details about where you're staying, how to get here and where you're going to park."

Joyce Kiehl, Communications Director at the Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau shares a few of her own expert insider's tips.

  • Mark your car's spot with the Map app or another app.
  • Make sure you hydrate. Not alcohol, but plenty of water.
  • Wear comfortable shoes.  While you may want to make a fashion statement, you most definitely want to wear comfortable shoes. Closed shoes offer a bit of protection against accidental toe-stepping by fellow fans.
  • Welcome to the California desert. Cover up. Wear a hat. Bring two pairs of sunglasses. Wear high factor sunblock.
  • It can get dusty at times, so you may want to pack a bandana just in case.
  • Earplugs? It may sound odd, but some regular festival-goers swear by them.
  • Take time to relax, recharge and explore. If you're looking for a pool party, need a massage or a bit of golf, or you just want to explore the local scene, come to Palm Springs!

Weather Notes

Wondering about the weather in April? The average daytime high is 87 degrees Fahrenheit and the average overnight low is 59 degrees Fahrenheit. Precipitation is unlikely.

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