A Guide to Surviving Coachella over 30 - Life and Layla (2023)

Whoop, Whoop, it’s officially the music-festival season! Coachella Valley Music and Art’s Festival takes place in April. Is anyone else excited?

The best part of any music festival is experiencing the spirit and energy of the attendees. Coachella takes place over two weekends. The first weekend is known for people watching and the second weekend for the music.

The festival was on my bucket list and at 30 plus, during the second weekend, I was finally a part of the experience.

Initially, I thought maybe I was a little old to be attending Coachella.

Does Coachella have an age limit? Could I survive three days in a desert with just as many people there for a trip as they are for the music?

At 36, I fell outside of 18 – 34 Coachella age demographic. After some light thinking, I decided I wanted to enjoy the music, food, and skyline. I would not be let a demographic eschew a chance at amazing. Fun times are normally worth it, even if I feel like I might die the next morning.

I hopped on my sister’s 30 and under guest list and bought my tickets.

Where do you buy Coachella tickets?

Coachella passes are sold on their website. There are three ticket options: General Admission, General Admission with Shuttle, and VIP. General Admission passes are $429, General Admission with Shuttle is $509, and Coachella VIP tickets are $999. VIP passes offer access to exclusive areas and parking. Each ticket allows access to general admission camping areas. If you wish to stay on-site, camping is available at different rates. The camps offer free 24 hour showers.

Coachella Camping

For camping, there are a ton of choices. Coachella car camping is $125, preferred car camping is closer to the venue entrance for $325. Tent camping is $125. A great option if you don’t have a car. Companion car parking is $60.

Coachella tickets with camping passes and glamping

Teepee camping comes with two general admission tickets at $2,458, and VIP teepee camping will run you$3,600. The El Dorado Option has 4 general admission passes at $3,316′ and 4 VIP passes at $5,600. For the ultimate in Coachella glamping, the Safari camping experience is $9,500. The Safari camp includes two tickets, golf cart shuttles to the venue, air-conditioned lounge breakfast and the ultimate luxury of private bathrooms and showers.

Click here to visit Coachella’s website more for more information on tickets or camping

Buying resale Coachella Tickets

When purchase resale, utilize a trusted resale site. I purchased tickets, a month before the show, tickets were sold-out. On the secondary market, my ticket cost under $400. That was cheaper than the original Coachella ticket price of $429. Sometimes tickets are cheaper closer to the date.

Coachella wristband

When ordering Coachella tickets make sure you have enough time to physically receive the wristband via mail. The wristband gains you festival entry and must be activated before entering the gates. Coachella wristband activation is simple but requires their app. Download Coachella’s app before you go. It gives them complete access to your moves and creates the greatest tool for research, (privacy down the drain), while you gain greater access to the festival schedule, changes and merch. Merchandise may be sold out on-site and you can order it from the app. The downside is shipping and handling charges.

Our party of six rented a home in La Quinta. La Quinta is approximately 15 minutes away from the Coachella Music Festival. The idea of staying on a campsite just didn’t entice me.

2018’s phenomenal lineup of Beyonce, Haim, Kamasi Washington, The Weeknd, Wiz Kid (who didn’t perform), Ibeyi, No Name, Eminem, Tyler the Creator, Portugal the Man, Miguel, Sza and so many more sealed my screw this, I am going convictions. My advanced age gave me the ability to finally afford the opportunity.

Coachella does not have an age maximum, however, camping grounds have an age minimum of 18.

I never felt old or out of touch while there, probably because I am not. Believe it or not, some people were even older, gasp!

This is also probably heavily based on the people you attend with. My sister’s crew was younger but they were all employed viable adults making the experience a mature one. Coachella is a great adventure, but it requires a few tips.

Coachella Survival Tips

1. Choose to attend in the morning or the evening

How much time can you spend at Coachella? How should you plan your day?

It is not humanly possible to spend the entire day at Coachella, at least not for this human. To sleep, bathe and get primped we chose afternoon attendance. Once on festival grounds, you can’t just leave, parking is tedious as are ride-sharing options. We didn’t pay for VIP, so seating is reserved for the ground and or grass.

Plan your schedule around your most relevant artists because you won’t be able to see them all.

2. Fly in at least a day before

If possible arrive at least the day before. My flight came from the East Coast. Any delays will set you back multiple hours and cause you to miss artists.

How do you get to Coachella?

Coachella is located in Indio, CA and takes place at the Empire Polo Club. Most people will fly into neighboring airports and drive from the airport. You can rent a car or from LAX take a shuttle. The neighboring airports are LAX, Palm Springs, or Orange County. Los Angeles’ LAX is normally the cheaper airport and has the most flight times but is the farthest away from Coachella Valley. It is a three and a half-hour drive and with unpredictable traffic, it can take more. On the return trip, my sister and her friends had a five-hour drive from Coachella to LAX.

Palm Springs International Airport is a smaller airport located 38 minutes from the Polo Ground. I flew into Palm Springs. It was a small airport and very easy to get in and out of. The rental car center is located at the airport. Very simple airport but not as many flight options. Take heed of traffic. Everyone will be leaving around the same time so overestimate how long it will take you to get there. I estimated one and a half hours and missed my flight. I was rerouted to Orange County Airport.

Orange County’s John Wayne Airport is two and a half hours from Coachella. It is also small but very calm and easy to maneuver. There aren’t as many flight options but it is closer than LAX. My John Wayne Flight was delayed which caused me to miss my connecting flight in Dallas. Southwest was very kind to cover the hotel and I flew out the next morning.

3. Wear comfortable shoes

Your Coachella outfit won’t be complete without shoes, they should be comfortable. Be prepared to walk whether it be from the parking lot or from being dropped off on the street because entrances are cut off. The first night I arrived late due to multiple plane delays and took an Uber to Coachella. It was a long walk. Along the way, I met some great people, but it took a good 20 minutes. You will walk, stand, and dance. Wear shoes that allow you to enjoy all those things.

4. Have a survival Kit

What should you pack other than your cute Coachella outfits? A survival kit! I went overboard on the survival items and packed too many things. If going again my survival kit would include the following: a mask with vents or scarf, portable water bottle, small backpack, fanny pack, portable toilet paper, phone charger, lip balm, sunscreen, ibuprofen, lozenges, sunglasses, and deodorant.

A Guide to Surviving Coachella over 30 - Life and Layla (1)

Coachella is located in a desert. Deserts can get windy and people are smoking. Do your lungs a favor and protect them with a mask with vents, bandana over the mouth and or a scarf. If you pack a mask and scarf, you can sit on the scarf.

Hydrate with water. There are multiple water stations on-site to fill your portable water bottle. Don’t be the person shelling out precious money for water when you can be spending it on more interesting things. I opted for a lightweight silicone option that rolled up for easy storage instead of a bulky water bottle system. Water lines long so make sure your bottle is user-friendly. There is nothing like eyeing the smartest person in the world holding up the line because they can’t figure out how to work their funnel. No thank you, next.

A small backpack will allow you to tote all your heavier goods and a fanny pack is for the necessities. Necessities for me include my id, money, credit card and cell phone.

Hallelujah for Coachella’s actual bathrooms. Bathroom wait times are quick-moving because there are enough stalls to handle a crowd. This is great as the stalls are in abundance, but toilet paper is not always a guarantee. Which is why I always carry a portable roll in my purse.

Most likely you will be at the festival for hours taking photos, videos and who knows what else with your phone. If you don’t want it to stop working mid perfect shot, bring a portable charger.

Unfortunately, I am prone to sore throats and must pack ibuprofen and lozenges to impede anything affecting my fun. My lips get dry, contact-lens filled eyes are sensitive, the sun burns my back and I sweat. If you have any of the above tendencies include the lip balm, sunscreen, sunglasses, and deodorant in your survival kit.

5. Have fun with your hair and wardrobe

It’s a music festival! When deciding on your Coachella outfit inspiration, choose whatever you think fits the occasion, and wear it proudly. Be as geeky, stylish, homey, tacky and or trashy as you please. This is an opportunity to enjoy music hopefully with great people and just live your best life. Don’t think twice about looking as good or as gaudy as you damn well, please. You can also opt for plain. For both Coachella men’s and women’s outfits you will see anything and everything, no rules apply.

Remember it is not what you wear to Coachella but how confident you wear it!

6. Be a festival nomad

Roam around! Coachella has seven stages. With so many artists to see, don’t let one hold you down. If you have two artists you like playing at the same time, stay half the set and go see the other half of someone else’s set. Location is important. There was a point where I stood between three stages rocking out, jazz hands in the air and bopping to the beat because I had a great view of three different artists on three different stages.

7. Have a meetup location

Phones conk out, crowds get rowdy, feet get tired, friends get lost and or go to see an artist or DJ that no one else is interested in. Have a designated place to meet up. Make sure it is easy to find in case someone in your party is discombobulated.

8. Have everyone in your party’s phone number or create a group chat

You want to be able to contact everyone. If one friend’s phone doesn’t work or they can’t hear it ring, make sure you can call everyone in your group.

9. Get to know new artists

A Guide to Surviving Coachella over 30 - Life and Layla (2)

This was the best part of the festival. I found so many bands that I never knew existed and became a fan. The best performances were not the ones I came for. Enjoy yourself and be open to new experiences.

What would you suggest as a Coachella necessity?

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