Kenya Leigh Blog
Coachella is a Lifestyle
The blazing sun, crisp nights, expensive gourmet festival food, random celebrities, endless alcohol, and sex is just some of the highlights of Coachella. But, who says you have to indulge in it all.
My BSB (Brown Skin Bitches) crew and I took to the most iconic festival in 2019 ready to show off our researched outfits, natural beauty and pure bliss for life.
How does one partake in the right activities during Coachella? How much money do you bring? And is it truly worth the VIP experience?
We attended Weekend 1 with the line up that followed the iconic Beychella in 2018. Some people would say we were crazy to think that there could be a comparable lineup in 2019, however, we weren't a group of music enthusiasts. We were just a group of 20 somethings looking to live a little.
My crew and I purchased the VIP package with the 4 person tents on Lake Eldorado. The sunsets were perfect and the brightly colored teepees made rainbows in the lake.
We flew out from Charlotte, NC on Delta heading to the nearest airport to Coachella Drive in Palm Springs. The isolated desert was surrounded by small suburbian neighborhoods and mountains. We were in for a treat when we started the trip with me sneaking into the American Airlines lounge. Eventually, I was caught and had a nice person get me in with their guest pass. The lounge had complimentary breakfast with more than comfortable seating areas.
Along the way, Dana made sure she greeted everyone in sight. She's the most socially outgoing in the group so we typically send her into the den of wolves to assess the social situations.
On the way to Palm Springs, apparently there was a blizzard brewing in the north around Minnesota, which is where our connecting flight was. , After the plane attempted to land, resulting in-plane turbulence that was sure to send us plummeting to the ground in flames, we detoured to Kansas City, Missouri. Now I've never been to Missouri, nor has it ever been on my list of must-see cities. We ended up deliriously booking a hotel room and getting flights out the next morning to Palm Springs. Unfortunately for us, it meant we missed a day of being on the "luxurious" Lake Eldorado. I'll get to luxury later.
We landed in Palm Springs and took an Uber to Coachella. It's an open field permanently situated far into the desert area. The uber will and did cost us around $30 for probably a 15-20 minute drive. On the way back, this would jump to $60-$90. Even after the ride, you must walk.....There's tons of walking involved with Coachella. I cannot sugarcoat the amount of water and cardio involved with participating in this event. Half a mile later, with bags in hand and roller wheels kicking up the dirt, we enter the infamous Coachella barricade to music blaring from camped cars, naked men and woman showering with water bottles, and the sweet smell of mary jane. We clasp our VIP wristbands tightly since they are the only thing to keep us away from the common folk (just kidding, we'll get to that later as well) .
We walk the long dusty road following the colored paths and make a right to our home away from home. Mellissa verifies the details of our confirmed 4 person tent that we were to check into the day before. The tents are first come first served so the spots we picked out together online were no longer options. We settled on a close lake view along the wall of the camp halfway to the bathrooms. I had no idea what we were getting into. All I knew was that I was with my girls and we were ready to laugh our asses off, stay up late, meet weird-ass people and EAT!
The camp leader (or whatever they are) points to a wheel barrel and tells us we can pack it up with the supplies included in our luxury tent experience. We grab 4 very thick sleeping bags, two lawn chairs and head to our designated tent. The tents beside us are occupied by two very different groups. To the right, there's some European guys and an Australian sprawled across the lawn while the tent to the right remained suspicious and closed. We enter our tent to find four military-style cots and a wooden floor. I'm not ungrateful, but it wasn't quite what I thought. Little did I know this setup wouldn't make a dent in my amazing experience. We unpacked and quickly get into character. Eventually, we met our intriguing neighbors to the left who greeted us with cuties, healthy snacks, and coconut water. They technically were the male version of BSB and entertained us with stories of their adventures traveling together over late-night drinks. (Thanks to Dana's social nature we met them after she started tossing popcorn by their tent.
The private access to bathrooms and showers was a plus considering all of the camped vehicles and other lodging areas shared a few shower trailers. We also had to charge stations and were within a close walking distance to the general admission entrance.
We all had multiple outfit changes and plenty of hairstyles to match. The music was outlined perfectly to make sure you didn't miss some of the hottest headlines. Some of my favorite acts were Childish Gambino, J Balvin, Ariana Grande, Sheck Wes, Jaden Smith, Kid Cudi, Wiz Khalifa, and Diplo. It's nearly IMPOSSIBLE to see everyone so the best thing to do is to download the Coachella App before going and outline your must-see artists within the app. Griselda, the spicy firecracker in the crew made sure we made it to the best headlines. I'll be honest, there were people performing music that I had no clue sung the song. The food was roughly $20 a meal so we budgeted that prior to leaving. You are able to bring your own alcohol in the tent but we didn't have enough time to fill a cooler with anything, nor did we have transportation. Once you are in the walls of Coachella, it is nearly impossible to get in and out with ease, Traffic for a 1-mile distance runs at roughly 1 hour.
There are many venues on the Coachella fields and the map is very deceiving, so leave 5 minutes early to be on time to the next performance, Unless it's a headline late at night. They almost ALWAYS start 30 minutes late. Day 1, there are photographers and cameras everywhere! So wear your best outfit during the day and around sunset if you want a feature. BSB is the ethnic version of the spice girls so it felt like we were attacked by paparazzi sometimes. We ended up being part of the promo video of people "running" onto the field and posing by the enormous sculptures, Ferris wheel, and entry.
The three days are completely exhausting but full of fun if you pace yourself with water and shaded areas. You'll see many people clinging to these areas with desperation as the days go on. At night, Griselda and I found open spots for us to deliriously sway to the music vibing out with random people.
In a nutshell, Coachella is a blissful once in a lifetime experience if you're like me with many places on your bucket list. Would I go again? Yes, would I do VIP? probably. Would I stay in tents again? No. The total cost of the trip was around $2,500. This includes $1400 Tent+VIP access, $700 flight and food/alcohol.
8 Quick Tips
The VIP Experience
Private Bathrooms (You'll be thankful for these drunk late at night)
Close access to the main stage
Private Food access
LOTS of shaded areas
Private charging stations for phones
2 Private lounge areas
Private Entry (Very hard to find, not really a luxury
Water refill station
VIP was definitely a nice perk if you can afford it. But to be honest, you have the exact same experience as the general admission for every artist. I enjoyed VIP more so during the day when I was exhausted and wanted a break from the pushing crowds of people.
Book your flights and get the tickets the summer before going to Coachella. You can sign up for a payment plan to make it more affordable. Our payments for VIP & Lake Eldorado 4 person tents came to $1400 each.
Bring a water bottle and bag/purse you don't mind carrying. It will be hot, and it's not cute to be dehydrated.
If you don't bring your own food & alcohol, prepare for $100 a day. If you plan to drink, $200.
Bring a day outfit and a night outfit. You WILL sweat through the day outfit in a not so pretty way.
Go with a friend(s) who can go with the flow, enjoy a variety of music, and love being social. It makes for crazy fun interactions with people you never would have met while being silent.
Research the artists you want to see before going. Download the Coachella APP and make an agenda using the APP.
Bring sunscreen LOL