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Coachella: Everything you need to know

Coachella: Everything you need to know
The festival, which boasts 166 musical acts across three days, begins Friday in Indio, Calif. (Zach Cordner / Invision / AP)

It's that time of year again as celebrities, hipsters and Beyoncé – yes, for real this time – migrate to Indio, Calif., for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. The "Formation" singer will headline on Saturday, with the Weeknd and Eminem also set to take the main stage on Friday and Sunday, respectively. But 19 years in, Coachella's draw has expanded far beyond music. There's also the food, ranging from gourmet hot dogs to Magpies ice cream. And then there's the fashion (just think twice before you pack your flower crown.) Whether you're already scoping out a primo spot near the stage or planning to enjoy the festivities from the comfort of your air-conditioned home, here's everything to know before the show starts.

Last year saw attendance rise from 99,000 to 125,000.
Last year saw attendance rise from 99,000 to 125,000. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

What to pack

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The first rule of Coachella? Don't even think about branding something as any kind of "chella." Second? Be prepared for the heat, which means don't forget to pack the deodorant. Thankfully, the Health & Wellness team has selected its top picks for that, and other essentials like instant coffee and water here.

Robes are in this festival season, like this silk option from designer Helena Quinn in collaboration with skincare brand Tatcha.
Robes are in this festival season, like this silk option from designer Helena Quinn in collaboration with skincare brand Tatcha. (Helena Quinn)

What to wear

Want to make a splash in the desert? The Image team has you covered, literally, with several key pieces sure to turn heads, ranging from ombre kimono robes and distressed jean shorts to tasseled earrings and snakeskin booties. The fashion team also does a deep dive on festival-friendly sunglasses of all shapes and sizes. Need further inspiration? Find out how Coachella artists like Chloe X Halle are selecting looks for their big Empire Polo Club debut. Stay hip to all the latest festival trends by following the Image team on Instagram at @LATimesFashion and on Twitter @LATimesImage.

Guerrilla Tacos is one of many Los Angeles-based restaurants making the trek to Indio.
Guerrilla Tacos is one of many Los Angeles-based restaurants making the trek to Indio. (Cheryl A. Guerrero / Los Angeles Times)

What to eat

Like so many Los Angeles-area festivals (think: Arroyo Seco and FYF), Coachella has become a haven for foodies, and this year proves to be no exception. Los Angeles staples like Guerrilla Tacos and Pizzanista will be making the trek, as will larger chains like Shake Shack. Not to mention chefs like Playa Provision's Brooke Williamson and Union's Bruce Kalman will host Outstanding in the Field pop-up dinners. Check back Friday evening for more food and drink highlights from the festival grounds, and keep an eye on the @LATimesFood Instagram and Twitter accounts throughout the weekend for other mouth-watering updates.

A year after Lady Gaga took her spot, Beyonce will grace the main stage Saturday night.
A year after Lady Gaga took her spot, Beyonce will grace the main stage Saturday night. (Getty Images)

What to watch

Where to begin? There's been plenty of ink devoted to the headliners, so maybe it's time to turn the spotlight on some of this year's most exciting up-and-coming artists, like R&B duo Lion Babe and 19-year-old Hawthorne local Cuco. Other fresh faces to the festival include singer-songwriter Moses Sumney and the band Los Ángeles Azules, the latter marking the first time traditional Mexican music has been included on the Coachella docket. Aside from the likes of Ms. Carter and Mr. Marshall Mathers, there are plenty of other familiar faces headed to the festival too, including Nile Rogers' reassembled Chic; Portugal the Man, fresh off their radio hit "Feel It Still;" returning techno artist the Black Madonna and more.

Festival-goers can expect more art installations like this one from 2014.
Festival-goers can expect more art installations like this one from 2014. (Christopher Polk / Getty Images for Coachella)

Etc.

Those with the right golden tickets might have a harder time deciding what to do at the three-day event. Coachella will once again play host to lavish lounges like American Express' Platinum House, featuring a SoulCycle pop-up, and the return of the Neon Carnival put on by Levi's Brand. (However, it's not all so glamorous in Indio. Attendees should also expect heightened security and a fleet of drones in the aftermath of the Las Vegas music festival massacre that left 58 dead.)

In the meantime, study up on the full lineup here, and revisit the best performances from last year's fest in honor. (It is #FlashbackFriday after all).

Make sure to bookmark our live blog for updates and quick takes on all the latest performances and other happenings. For scenes from the field, follow @LATimesEnt on Twitter and @LATimes_Entertainment on Instagram.

And one more time for the cheap seats in the back… click here for the scoop on how to livestream the performances from home.

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