If you follow me over on the gram you’ll know I went on thee epic adventure to one of the world’s most celebrated music festivals. Yes, Cheryl went tripping to Coachella Baby!!! I feel like the baby is a natural accompaniment in that sentence.
Or, you might be in the know if you read my post on self-care at Coachella. Bet you’re wondering how that turned out for me. Well, I barely drank, mainly because the ‘getting smashed and legless’ thing is not really the vibe at Coachella. They even had a Kombucha bar for gawd sake… although the kombucha tasted like it was fermented only for a day, it was very weak.
Secondly, I was suffering with terrible ovulation pains. I have discussed this with the women around me and I’m reassured I’m not the only one. It did hamper my vibe, but not too much as I was just so excited to be living carefree (bar the painful ovary) in the most picturesque place, with the sun beating on me.
Seven days was all I had to live my Californian dream, of which 2.5 days were in Los Angeles. The 0.5 was predominantly spent in LAX security queue. It was a struggle. If you aren’t a US citizen be warned it’s a long wait. Two hours approximately. If you’re checking in at an Airbnb, like we did, might be worth factoring that in your check-in time.
Beyond border control we hopped in an Uber and made our way to our Airbnb in Downtown LA. It was a super cool apartment (or duplex) that came with all the trimmings. Pool, gym, rooftop jacuzzi etc… which we didn’t once use. With the short time we had to explore LA, we had to let that one go.
That evening we didn’t have any plans apart from finding food. We made our way down to Umami Burger, thanks to the Google Maps explore tool, which I love using. Umami burger was pretty delicious, but we couldn’t help being distracted by the cold breeze entering the door every time someone left it open. Oh yes, I forgot to mention it was bloody cold in LA. Well, at night for sure. Mid April and we’re talking at 12 degrees centigrade max.
On Tuesdays agenda was Griffith Park, Hollywood and Kelela Live at Ace Hotel Theatre.
Griffith Park observatory is the perfect spot to view the Hollywood sign and the city from a height. The observatory is a cool spot, very photogenic, and the park is great for a hike. We did the downwards hike, if that’s a thing.
The Hollywood Strip is definitely a box ticker, but nothing to write home about. Most exciting spot there was the Sephora. All the Fenty beauty please!
For dinner we hit up the vegan hot spot, Cafe Gratitude. You can’t do LA without checking out their clean eating offerings. The food was tasty and their portions huge. I even doggy’ed home the leftovers. It’s worth noting they do Taco Tuesday’s, where you get 3 taco’s for $5. Think Taco Tuesday is a ‘thing’ in LA.
Because we spent way too much time in Sephora, it pushed us back with time. We rushed through dinner so we can make it to the Kelela gig at Ace Hotel’s Theatre before the curtain closed.
We made it but all of a sudden jet lag hit and I was that person asleep at gig. My friend soon joined me in nap land. That’s no shade to Kelela, who is awesome! Check her ethereal falsetto voice out if you haven’t already.
On our final day in LA we picked up our car rental from Hertz LAX. We didn’t get the car I requested, but they offered a great alternative and the service was quick and straightforward. One of the better car rental companies.
We then hit up Venice beach. It was as expected. Blues skies, clear white sands, and laid back types strolling and rolling along (many people on wheels). Except, it was cold. It was like London when we have those sunny days, that come with no heat. But we made the most of it until we found our ears freezing off!
Lunch was at Bulletproof cafe, which I highly recommend. Great breakfast protein bowls.
Post Venice we drove through the city which was an experience, scary but thrilling, in a good way. We made our way to Target to grab final bits for Coachella camping. Don’t forget your canopy and a bag of hot Cheetos!
We finished the night with In and Out. Yes this burger is EPIC! The secret? They fry the bun in butter. The chips are a let down though. Very cardboard-esque. Also our Uber driver said if you go on the website they have a secret burger on the menu that you can request at the counter.
The day had come to finally make the trip down to Indio. After picking up the last of my crew from her LAX hotel, I did the drive down, with their navigational help, along with a SAT NAV, and a google offline map. I was keen to make sure all bases were covered. I wouldn’t exactly say the drive was a breeze, as I’m a first-timer on the US highway! But we made sure to make a couple of stops, because driving for more than hour on straight highways can make your eyes funny, and your tummy hungry. Starbucks drive-thru becomes your bbf!
We finally made it to Joshua Tree, after a three hour drive. We were eager to explore it’s various trails, which became just one trails as it was hitting sunset, and my Starbucks breaks snipped away at time.
We drove through the breathtaking national park to Skull trail, which is filled with boulders on boulders on boulders, and then some. You immediately realise the small, but intricate piece of mass that we humans are.
After our impromptu photo shoot, we drove two hours through the national park, as the sunset, classic road music blaring, think U2’s Still haven’t found what i’m looking for or Dream of Californication by The Red Hot Chilli Peppers. The experience can only be defined as otherworldly. A stark contrast from the dense London streets. The pink, then purple skies bouncing onto the desert was like… a dream.
We had a last minute booking at a resort in Indio, due to the car camping being delayed by a day. It was surprisingly luxurious but unfortunately only stopped by for 8 hours, to sleep and then make our way early to set-up camp. Check out my instagram story highlights, to peep the World Mark resort.
And finally, Coachella week 2 had come around. Getting in the car camping area was a breeze. The security were kind enough to not strip the car down. Think there were more fascinated we made the trip all the way from England. Setting up camp was all part of the fun, kind of. The heat made it take longer than it should have.
So what was Coachella really saying? It’s literally feels like a place to escape your daily grind, indulge in sun and soak up the atmosphere.
There’s a lot of people there but not at one point did it feel overcrowded. Okay, that’s not completely true. Of course the main stage ahead of Beyoncé’s performance was unbearable, if you were near the front, which we were. People were getting lifted away by security by the minute. Most people in the front circle had been there for around 6 hours or more, not drinking very much, because you would have to pee and subsequently lose your eye-line with Beyoncé.
So I weighed it up, do I risk fainting or get the hell out of the front row. I love Beyoncé but I also wanted to get through the rest of the festival. So I too got lifted out by security. It turns out watching from the side I still got a great view, and people there weren’t frantic fanatics.
Instead of giving you a full recollection of Coachella here are my top tips.
1. Stay hydrated…
…especially have water in your camp. When the sun rises it turns from cool to sauna like real quick.
2. It get’s cold at night…
… no lie. Think under 15 degrees centigrade. So consider taking a scarf to the festival. Even a jacket, which I saw quite a few people with. You don’t want to catch a cold and miss out on the fun.
3. Set-times clash…
…Don’t stress if both your favourite artist are performing at the same time. See it as an excuse to now go to another festival they are playing at. I gave-up Fleet Foxes for Beyonce. To some it seems like a no-brainer, which it is, but really do like Fleet Foxes.
4. Remember to watch the artists and not your phone…
…okay I’m all about capturing the moment. But in this day and age it’s hard to find the balance in being present and sharing your excitement with your 500+/- instagram followers. I think it’s okay to take a minute capturing and when that minute is done put the phone away and dance!
5. If possible pick a laid back group to go with…
…the festival is soooo chilled you don’t need anyone disrupting that vibe with their anxiety over the smallest of things like long queues at the pizza stand. It’s a festival, queues are to be expected. Of course there will be things that can trigger a shift from chilled to hot headed, like when the Beyhive (Beyoncé’s fans) were just being rude, but you’ve got to remember it is all fun and games. I honestly can say I am so happy with the ladies I got to experience Coachella with and one of them I hadn’t seen for about 4 years!!!
So those are my top tips for Coachella! I would love to go again in the future, and even stay in a lovely resort. Hollerrr Revolve…or any other brands 😉
I have a special video I’m putting together about this trip, which should be done real soon. So watch this space!
Did you Chella it this year? Let me know your experience. Or what other festivals you have lined up this summer.