I attended Coachella Weekend 1 as a regular concertgoer, and these are the things I wish I would've known before attending.
• First of all, be ready to be in awe over how beautiful Coachella Valley is. SERIOUSLY, I took the most beautiful photos that didn't really need an Instagram filter.
• PRO TIP: Put your phone on airplane mode so the battery lasts longer. I know everyone wants to share pics instantly as awesome things happen, but since there are huge crowds with everyone trying to connect to a network, your phone will use up a ton of battery trying to find a signal.
• DO go to In-N-Out burgers beforehand. The staff is friendly and those burgers are the best thing to eat in preparation for a long festival day.
• DO wear sunglasses and sunscreen. The sun is really strong during the day, way stronger than you would expect — so be smart about protecting yourself.
• DO go on the Ferris wheel, but go during one of the big acts. Otherwise you'll be stuck in an hour-long line.
• DO bring something that's a conversation starter. I brought some BuzzFeed stickers and people really loved them.
ESPECIALLY these guys.
• DO drink at the beer gardens. They are located in strategic places where you can watch the festival from a comfortable spot while hanging out with your friends.
• DO go to the H&M party. Major Lazer performed there on Saturday and I was the saddest fan when I found out I missed out on it.
• Also, DO go to Neon Carnival and the Lacoste Pool Party. I didn't go to either, and heard crazy stories about how epic they were. Yup, I'll be sad forever.
• DO NOT be part of those 20 people who interlock arms and try to sneak through to the front of the crowd at the last minute. Like, if you REALLY want to be in the front for a performance, get there early like everyone else.
• DO bring a bandana to cover your face! There was a pretty bad sandstorm Saturday and if you don't want to get sick, bring something to protect yourself.
• DO drink TONS of water. I know this is standard, but SERIOUSLY it gets really hot in there (only during the day). I carried a camel bak like a nerd all day, but I did not suffer from dehydration — SO THERE.
• DO bring a sweater or something warm to wear at night. There were thousands of girls walking around in bikinis during the day, but it gets pretty cold at night, and when you're the only girl in a bikini you look dumb. TRUST ME.
• DO talk to EVERYONE around you. I met so many cool people and made so many new connections. Seriously, you never know who you're going to meet.
• DO NOT fall asleep in awkward locations. People WILL take pictures of you.
• For the big acts, DO pick the one that you really want to see and get there early. I wanted to see Pharrell from up close, and it was impossible because obviously everyone wanted to see him too. Although the sound systems were awesome, I couldn't even get one good picture in because I was so far. SAD FACE.
• DO expect great talent to be walking around everywhere and to come on stage. BEYONCÉ WAS THERE WITH HER SISTER, SOLANGE, AND I MISSED IT, WHAT?!
• DO stop by all the events inside the festival because certain artists were unannounced. My friend and I walked into the Heineken House by mistake and we ended up meeting GZA from Wu-Tang Clan. It was AWESOME.
• DO NOT MISS PHARRELL. He was one of my favorite acts and with special guests like Nelly, Diplo, and queen Gwen Stefani, you CANNOT miss out on seeing him.
• On the big stages when headliners are playing, DO NOT be one of those people that sit on the ground in the middle of the crowd and expect not to be stepped on.
• DO stop by the Sahara Stage because the sound system and light shows are AMAZING.
• DO try the food. Especially the fish tacos because they were OFF THE HOOK.
• DO wear a cool, but comfy outfit. Everyone was judging other people's looks, but the ones that stood out to me the most were the girls who were walking around in heels. Like, WHY?!
• DO bring something to sit on in between acts. The grass is cool and all, but during the sandstorm, sitting on the grass was essentially like sitting on sand. And for the many people who were wearing white, this was just not a good look.
• DO expect huge crowds everywhere. The actual Coachella festival site is not super huge so be prepared to be walking around in big crowds of people, especially at night when most of the day parties are over.
• Also, be prepared to sweat A LOT. With 90-degree weather during the day and massive crowds at every stage, don't expect to be perfectly cute and dry all day.
• If you do drugs, be SUPER safe about it. I don't do drugs, and I go to a lot of music festivals, and honestly I've never been offered SO many drugs in my life — not even at EDM events like Tomorrow World. I saw a lot of people fainting and being carried to the medical tents, so just practice good judgement.
• DO try going to see the acts that play during the day. Going to day parties is the norm at Coachella, but some day-time acts had amazing surprises. For example, DJ Carnage brought out A$AP Ferg and Deorro during his day-time set and it was so epic I almost cried. #chipotlegangforever.
• DO NOT smoke in people's faces if you're in the middle of a big crowd. It's OK if you smoke, but just be mindful of the people around you.
• Did I mention hydrate?
• And finally, DO dance and have a good time because that's what Coachella is about. (Even if you dance like Leo.)