Coachella 2013: Tech gadgets and apps to get through the madness

Coachella 2013: Tech gadgets and apps to get through the madness
The sun sets at the Coachella Music Festival in 2012.
(Arkasha Stevenson / Los Angeles Times)

Coachella drew more than 650,000 people to its grounds in Indio last year and organizers anticipate even more for this year’s festivities that start Friday and go on for two weekends.

With such a mass of humanity in one place, attendees will need all the help they can get to survive and enjoy the music.


Smartphone apps

Some say leave the smartphone at home, but ignore that advice; there are too many apps that could help improve your Coachella experience.


For starters, you’ll want to use Shazam any time you hear a song you like but don’t know its name. The app, using the smartphone’s mic, listens to the tune and then scours its database to identify the song or the artist. 

At night, having a flashlight app will come in handy. There are dozens of free ones and any one of them will do the job.

Downloading the official Coachella app will also be helpful, especially when you’re trying to locate a concert tent, a bathroom or want to know who’s up next in the concert lineup.

You’ll also want to bring your smartphone for its camera, so you can Instagram, Vine, Echograph and GifBoom your favorite bands and all the wild things you see.


Point-and-shoot camera

The music festival doesn’t allow users to bring in a professional-type camera (read: camera with lens that comes off), but if you want to take better pictures than what you’d get with a smartphone, you can bring in a point-and-shoot camera. The 17-megapixel Samsung Galaxy Camera is one good choice. The $500 camera, which runs the Android mobile operating system, has WiFi and 4G connectivity so you can instantly upload high-quality photos to Facebook or other social networks. It’s like a smartphone without voice and text messaging.

Smartphone charger

Coachella will be outfitted with cellphone charging stations, but those lines are going to be long. Instead of waiting, buy a portable charger that can help keep the phone going long after its battery dies. You can get your phone a case that doubles as a battery charger, like the $99 Mophie Juice Pack Air, or a portable charger that can be connected to a device using a USB cable, like the HyperJuice Plug. Be sure to charge up the portable battery packs before heading out to Coachella. 


Portable Bluetooth speaker

If you want to keep the party going between music sets, bring along a portable Bluetooth speaker. These are perfect for jamming out with your friends by your tent before the bands start playing. You can go with a small light choice such as the Beats by Dre Pill or the more powerful and larger Big Jambox by Jawbone. You can also take a speaker, like the Braven 600, which will charge your other devices.


And if you fall victim to those around you with portable speakers, headphones and earbuds can help reduce the noise. If you really want to cut out the clamor and get some shut-eye in your tent, I would recommend the Sennheiser Momentum, the Yamaha Pro 500 headphones or the Executive headphones from Beats by Dre. They won’t completely shut out the noise but they can muff enough of the sound for you to get some sleep. They also sound great if you like to fall asleep listening to classical music.

Handy fan

Not all your gadgets need to be high-tech. Coachella is going to be hot, so bring along a battery-powered hand fan. Or better yet, get one with a water mister built-in. They’re typically available at drug stores and at sporting goods stores.

Portable grill

And while you’re at a sporting goods store, you may want to get a portable grill, particularly if you are planning to pitch a tent. (Electric and propane grills are allowed; charcoal is not) There’s food at the festival, but if you’re looking to avoid lines and save a buck, cooking on a little electric grill might not be a bad idea.


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