Holiday Inspiration

A guide to Coachella

By Susan Ward Davies

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WHAT IS IT?

Quite possibly the most aesthetically-pleasing music festival you’ve ever been to, that’s what. Held in the grounds of the Empire Polo Club in Indio (about thirty minutes drive from Palm Springs, California) Coachella is a sensory delight for ears and eyes. Outdoor stages are framed by the San Bernadino mountains, strings of red balloons bob in the desert breeze, and palm trees are lit up with candy-coloured lights at nightfall. And then there’s the crowd itself, which is almost as beautiful as the sight of the sun setting behind the illuminated ferris wheel onsite. ‘Scenic’ doesn’t do it justice.

WHAT WILL I HEAR?

The line up doesn’t adhere to any specific genre, but expect to see some of the biggest acts in the world - old and new - with a nice smattering of up-and-comers to balance things out. This year that means Calvin Harris, Bastille, MGMT, Lana Del Rey, Caravan Palace and many more. Headliners on the final night often hail from the local area - last year it was Los Angeles-bred Red Hot Chilli Peppers and previous headliners have included Dr Dre and Snoop Lion.

HOW DO YOU GET IN?

General admission tickets (which are priced at around £226) went on sale in late January - they usually sell out within an hour. In fact, demand is so high that in 2012 the promoters added a second, consecutive weekend to the festival. Exact same location and line-up as the first round, but it takes place seven days later. Sounds odd, but it works.

WHAT TO WEAR

Think: festival chic deluxe. There’s no mud to worry about here, so feel free to rock your best Isabel Marant white crochet dress and brand new Ancient Greek Sandals. And don’t forget your accessories: You’ll need a hat and shades to save your face from the scorching desert sun by day, and a jacket to keep you warm when the temperature drops (drastically!) at night. Beauty-wise, opt for flowing wavy locks, light make-up, and a healthy, glowing skin. You are in California, after all.

WHO GOES?

Local hipsters, music industry folk, and young music aficionados from around the world. LA’s rich, famous, and disgustingly beautiful also amass in high numbers at Coachella, given that it’s less than a three-hour drive from the city. Palm Springs has played host to the likes of Katy Perry, Ed Westwick, Robert Pattinson, Alessandra Ambrosio, Alexa Chung, Rita Ora and, erm... Danny Devito. Apparently he goes every year.

WHERE TO SPOT THEM

In the VIP area, of course (which you can buy access to for the paltry sum of £482) But no worries if you don’t take your celeb-spotting quite that seriously: the Coachella site is relatively small, so you’re likely to see A-listers milling about regardless. You can also try your chances at one of the many parties that take place before, during, and after the festival in nearby Palm Springs. On which note…

PARTY TIME

The glorious desert climate lends itself to all-day pool parties at candy coloured hotels and all-night after parties at mid-century mansion homes. Predictably these are nearly always invite-only affairs, but if you’re staying at one of the hotels (try The Ace, The Saguaro or The Viceroy) where they take place then you’re guaranteed poolside access at the very least. The post-festival parties (usually hosted by brands including Ugg – with Daisy Lowe on Saturday 12th - Guess, H&M and Superdry) can be trickier to get into, but if you flash your best California-style smile and ham up your British accent, you might just be able to blag it. Worth a try, eh?

Coachella runs in two parts April 11 – 13, and then part two 18 April - 20 April. Are you going? Let us know @ELLEUK

See the A-listers soaking up the sun and tunes

Coachella Street Style

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