In honor of the recent completion of my payments for my Coachella 2012 Week 1 ticket, I wanted to make sure I wrote about my first experience ever at Coachella this past year.

Coachella 2011 Lineup

Recipe for my Coachella 2011 experience:

  • 40 of your closest friends
  • 6 camping sites
  • 4 days of sweltering heat
  • 4 nights in crammed tents
  • 100,000 festival attendees
  • Countless incredible bands, musicians, and DJs
  • 1 festival – Coachella

Blend all ingredients and brace yourself for one of the most unbelievable weekends of your life!

Our massive group of friends about to take off for Coachella

Last year was my first time ever attending the Coachella Music Festival and I will NEVER forget it. The festival actually SOLD OUT and I luckily was able to get a ticket at the last minute. A massive group of my best friends, literally about 40 of us, carpooled out to the desert of Indio, California where the infamous Coachella festival takes place each year.

The lineup had each of us giddy like teenage girls.

It’s hard to put into words what my experience at Coachella really was. It’s something that MUST be experienced to be fully appreciated. Over the four days at Coachella, we danced to Cut Copy, Empire of the Sun and Chromeo, cried to Mumford & Sons and The National, and rocked out to Foster the People and The Strokes. It really is a music lovers dream come true!

Inside the “Campsite Compound”

So how did Coachella almost kill me? I should take accountability as a novice Coachella-goer and my lack of preparation both mentally and physically were the entire cause of my incident. We arrived at the festival on a Thursday and were staying until Sunday. Each day was FULL ON.

We were up at 6 am, due to how incredibly hot it was and your tent turned into a sweat box by 5:30 am, drinking by 10 am and partying at the festival until 3 am… and the night didn’t end there. So by Sunday, I was a delirious mess! I had hardly eaten, was seriously dehydrated and had maybe slept 10 hours over the past three nights.

Oh how innocent we all appear…

I had faith that I could make it through Sunday and gave it everything I had left of me. We started the day early, as usual, and went to our friend’s pool for some pre-festival partying. We burned through about ten 30 packs of beer in the first couple of hours… we were going out on a good one.

After a few hours of what turned into the craziest pool party I’ve ever been to, we made our way back to the campgrounds, gave ourselves 10 minutes to grab a snack and change, and headed out to the grounds for our last day of the festival.

We turned the pool into a playground

While our entire group hit the Sahara tent for Ducksauce, my friend Chris and I moseyed over to watch Foster the People. Once we got to the Gobi tent we were surrounded by 100’s of fellow festival-goers. This is where everything got a bit out of control.

The sweltering heat was making my eyes heavy and the hundreds of people surrounding me started to make my head spin.

I looked to Chris and he knew something was wrong. Next thing I know he’s dragging me through the crowd to get me out of the tent and suddenly everything went silent and dark.

The ladies about to get amongst it!

I wake up with the entire crowd in a circle around me looking down on my body in the middle of the massive tent. Paramedics are next to me asking me a million questions and I find Chris looking pale as a ghost. As they help me stand up, I get asked a series of expected questions; “Have you taken any drugs?” “What drugs did you take?” “How many drugs have you taken?” After establishing the fact that I was literally exhausted and malnourished, they hand me two gatorades and tell me to sit this one out.

The awesomeness of the Coachella Music Festival

So what did I learn at Coachella 2011 for Coachella 2012?

  • Don’t forget to pack a helmet
  • Don’t neglect your electrolytes
  • Remember sunscreen is your best friend

While I recommend everyone experience Coachella camping once, I’m only interested in a house with A/C and a bed next year.

End of the Day Festival Aftermath

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Kiersten Rich
Kiersten Rich is the bikini-obsessed author of award-winning solo female travel and lifestyle blog, The Blonde Abroad, featuring travel tips, fashion, food, festivals and photography from around the world.