Your ultimate guide to Coachella 2019

Taylor Clayton, 19, of Claremont, dances during Miguel's performance at Coachella Weekend 2 on Sunday, April 22, 2018
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

It’s almost time for music buffs and “do it for the gram” millennials alike to flood to Indio, Calif.

Ahead of the 2019 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, kicking off April 12, here’s a handy survival guide for both lovers and haters (counterprogramming options below).


FULL COVERAGE: Coachella 2019 »


What is it?

For fans, the Goldenvoice-produced festival rivals Disneyland as “the happiest place on Earth.” For three days in a row, you can frolic between multiple stages to listen to music you love, discover new sounds, immerse yourself in art installations and devour great food.

For the critics, it’s a claustrophobic nightmare in dangerously hot temperatures where an odd mix of people — rebellious 13-year-olds, aspiring influencers, college frat bros, committed ravers in knee-high fur boots, and seemingly clueless parents who brought small children — come together to wait in line for overpriced watermelon and conduct Instagram shoots. Because #Chella.

READ MORE: How to watch Coachella performances by Childish Gambino and Ariana Grande live online »

When is it?


Weekend one is April 12-14, and weekend two is April 19-21. Expect your social media feeds to be flooded each night until the early morning hours, as the festival wraps around 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, and midnight on Sunday.

Where is it located?

The Empire Polo Club in the Coachella Valley, near Palm Springs or about two and a half hours from Los Angeles.

Who is performing?

The better question is, “Who’s brave enough to follow Beychella?”

Childish Gambino, Tame Impala and Ariana Grande are headlining this year’s lineup. Others at the top of bill include Janelle Monáe, Diplo, Weezer, J Balvin, Khalid, Zedd, Bassnectar, Chvrches and YG. And, yes, Idris Elba is DJing.


Beyoncé’s Coachella performance was incredible — and she knew it »

Beyonce performs at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio on Saturday, April 14, 2018
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

What are the set times?

Take a breath and sip some pre-Chella coconut water. The set times are here.

Is it sold out?

Technically yes, but you can join the official waitlist or find some being traded or sold online.


How much does it cost?

General admission is $429, though it creeps up to $509 with the shuttle pass. VIP is priced at $999.

And for the record, Coachella and Stagecoach, the country music festival that follows it, generated about $704 million of overall economic activity last year (spending by consumers and businesses), according to an estimate by the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership and Greater Palm Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Tell me about the nomz.

Besides pop-up dinners, a temporary ice cream shop and a 40,000-square-foot food hall, Outstanding in the Field is back. It’s a $225 four-course dinner for a couple hundred attendees each night in the VIP area. Some of Los Angeles’ most-lauded chefs are featured on this year’s menu, including “Top Chef” alums Shirley Chung of Ms. Chi Cafe and Casey Thompson.

Jacqueline Le from Santa Ana is held by her boyfriend, Bunsomitt Nhoung from Garden Grove as they dance together Sunday at Coachella during weekend two.
(Maria Alejandra Cardona / Los Angeles Times)


Where and when can you watch the live stream?

YouTube will continue to serve as the festival’s exclusive live-streaming partner, presenting live content over both weekends.

And how many people go, anyway?

99,000 per day during the six days, according to a 2018 report from Goldenvoice.

RELATED: Coachella by the numbers, a breakdown of the festival’s $700-million impact »


How do you get there?


Try to take one of the shuttles, if you’d like to avoid the extra headache of funneling into an on-site parking spot. Other options include carpoolchella (carpooling with friends), driving solo, public transportation or walking and biking. Dodge the road closures and research the best routes.

And if you want to avoid the traffic as much as possible, you can fly from L.A. to Palm Springs in under an hour, thanks to recently added flights.


What resources are in place to prevent or report sexual misconduct?

This year, Coachella announced its most thorough efforts yet to prevent and combat sexual harassment and assault. The new “Every One” program serves to enforce a zero tolerance policy of assault or harassment, be it sexual, physical or verbal.

“Anyone found to be in violation of this policy is subject to immediate removal from the festival site, and law enforcement may be notified,” the organization states on its website.


To help enforce this, there will be trained ambassadors on the ground. Coachella also asks attendees to “hold each other accountable” and report misconduct to an Info Kiosk.

RELATED: After widespread complaints, Coachella is enacting a new anti-sexual harassment policy. But is it enough? »

What is Coachella doing to help support and protect the LGBTQ+ community?

There are now all-gender restrooms in place, and the website says that “persons of any gender identity or expression, sex, sexual orientation, race, religion, age or ability are welcome at Coachella,” but some still fear for their safety.

RELATED: Coachella says it’s safe for LGBTQ people, but transgender siblings say they were denied restroom access »

How can you seek help in an emergency?


“Every One” tents will be staffed with trained counselors. Medical tents, Info Kiosks and “safe spaces” are marked on your festival map.

What else can you do to prevent a dangerous situation?

Designate an emergency meeting spot and time with your friends, and don’t choose the Ferris wheel. Everyone crowds the area at the end of the night, defeating the purpose of easily spotting your pal.

The sun sets on festival goers and the ferris wheel at the Coachella Music & Arts Festival
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)


What can you NOT bring into the grounds?

There’s a long laundry list of prohibited items. Which raises the question, “What did somebody do to get stuffed animals banned? And who brought the massager?” You can find the full list here.



Will anything ever live up to Beychella?

Nope, at least according to our critic August Brown. It will “never be the same again after Beyoncé’s history-making, bar-raising, monumental achievement.”

Why did Kanye West back out?

“He has some great [production] ideas, but we just weren’t able to pull them off right now,” Paul Tollett, the longtime president of Goldenvoice Productions, told The Times. They were making a poster with Kanye’s name on it, up until Jan. 1. The official lineup dropped Jan. 2. In early April, West announced he’ll bring a Sunday Service to the Coachella grounds on Easter morning during the fest’s second weekend.

Is it worth it?

It depends on why you’re interested. Our readers think it’s less about the music and more about the scene these days.


RELATED: Coachella after Beyoncé -- Hunting for more pop stars, and profit »


What do Coachella-goers wear these days?

You might want to leave your flower crown at home. It was the reigning accessory for years, but last year it lost its petal power. Style has shifted from boho chic to street wear.


Any camping tips?

It’s still for the hardy.



What can we expect from this year’s art installations?

Remember those giant, wire mesh ghost cathedrals by Italian artist Edoardo Tresoldi last year? Expect something more down to earth from 2019 commissioned architect Diébédo Francis Kéré, best known for schools and civic structures often constructed of local clay bricks and other modest materials.

A Coachella installation by L.A.-based Office Kovacs will likely be more whimsical.


How do you avoid getting sick?

Wear a bandana around your noise and mouth or you’ll regret everything. That bright green grass you see on social media after day one quickly transforms into trampled dirt and dust within 24 hours. So avoid breathing it in and make Emergen-C your new best friend.


What’s the best counterprogramming?


While thousands flock to the desert, winter is coming for millions of “Game of Thrones” fans. The final season premieres Sunday, April 14, on HBO.

If you’re in the L.A. area, check out our critics’ recommendations for the best shows and exhibitions to enjoy that weekend.

And beware of the #fomo.

RELATED: Why Ariana Grande is the perfect choice to headline Coachella »