Making the Trip to Coachella


Updated January 31, 2018

One of the most celebrated music events in the United States in this day and age is the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, known most commonly and simply as Coachella. If you are thinking about making the trip to Coachella, here are some factors to bear in mind.

A Brief History of Coachella

The first Coachella festival was held in 1999. Although that was the first Coachella festival per se, the event actually has its roots in a Pearl Jam concert held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California. The original Pearl Jam concert, in 1993, was staged as a means of boycotting venues that were controlled by Ticketmaster. The Empire Polo Club remains the site of Coachella to this day.

Coachella Today

Coachella features established and emerging musical artists from many genres. These include rock, indie, hip hop, and electronic dance music. Coachella is a production of Goldenvoice, which is a subsidiary of AEG Live. Coachella has become one of the most successful musical events on the planet. In 2016, Coachella sold 198,000 tickets and grossed $94.2 million. In fact, the ongoing success of Coachella has resulted in its producer adding two other festivals to the Empire Polo Club site each year: Stagecoach and Desert Trip.

Coachella is not just about live music. The festival also features an amazing array of visual art, including installation art and sculpture. A good amount of the art is displayed only at Coachella. Indeed, about 50 percent of the pieces assembled at Coachella are not displayed again because of the complexity of the initial assembly at this festival. Over the course of the past five years, just under 100,000 people have attended the festival. The headcount is expected to remain at about the 100,000 level for Coachella 2018, which will be held in April.

coachella concert crowd.jpg


Traveling to and Attending Coachella

Coachella 2018 will be held over two weekends: April 13 through 15 and April 20 through 22. If you are interested in attending the festival, the time is now to start travel planning. The first step in preparing to attend Coachella 2018 is to obtain your pass. You can select a pass for one or another of the two weekends of the festival. Passes are available from the Coachella website.

When ordering a pass for a weekend of the festival, you can also arrange a package deal. The package deal can include your lodging at a nearby hotel, if that is your desire. Keep in mind that lodging space fills early and quickly when it comes to Coachella. 10 of the more widely utilized lodgings for Coachella are:

  • Indian Palms Vacation Club
  • Indian Palms Country Club & Resort
  • Quality Inn & Suites
  • Holiday Inn Express & Suites Indio
  • Royal Plaza Inn
  • Rodeway Inn & Suites
  • Indio Holiday Motel
  • Western Sands Motel
  • Mauna Loa Motel
  • Indio Travelodge

These properties are all located in Indio. They are in close proximity to the festival grounds at the Empire Polo Club.

If you want to fly to Coachella, you can book a flight to Palm Springs International Airport (the closest airport), or Ontario, located in the Inland Empire. The festival is a short drive from the airfield. As with everything else related to Coachella, you will want to book your flight for the festival as early as possible. At the airport, you will be able to access shuttles to primary lodgings in Indio as well as to the Empire Polo Club, depending on your needs. You can reserve seats on shuttles in advance of your arrival in Palm Springs. Private car services, including Uber, also provide transport. If you have the cash, helicopter shuttles to the festival are also available.

Coachella truly can be a once in a lifetime experience for you. You will make your experience as idyllic as possible by making all of your arrangements well in advance of the festival.

Jessica Kane is a writer for SoundStage Direct, the number one online source for the best vinyl records and turntables.

Examples of Coachella Headliners

Coachella features both well established as well as emerging musical talent. In 2018, one of the scheduled headliners is Beyoncé. Each year, three primary headliners are selected for the festival. Headliners in recent years include:


  • Radiohead
  • Lady Gaga
  • Kendrick Lamar


  • LCD Soundsystem
  • Guns N' Roses
  • Calvin Harris


  • AC/DC
  • Jack White
  • Drake


  • Outkast
  • Muse
  • Arcade Fire


  • The Stone Roses
  • Phoenix
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers