I remember the first time I heard the word “Coachella.” I was 13, and one of my best friends wasn’t coming to my Bat Mitzvah on April 14, the day before my birthday, because her dad was able to get tickets for the whole family for this obscure, desert music festival. I was devastated, but let it go, as I had a Torah to read and a million thank-you notes to write. In retrospect, 13 was a little young to reach this age milestone.
Little did I know then, but my birthday weekend would be perpetually interrupted by Coachella every damn year of my adolescence. Growing up in LA during the age of “do it for the Insta,” Coachella, for many, became much bigger than a music festival. It’s an alternative universe where edgy teens can pretend they’re 25 for a few days, the closest thing most Los Angelenos will ever come to “camping” and, quite frankly, an overpriced consumerist nightmare. I hate it. I love it. This year, I’m going. I decided to suck up my pride and dive in, metaphorical flower crown first, and buy a ticket as a birthday present to myself. I’m a senior, I’ve never been and Eminem is performing on my birthday. As they say, “fuck it.”
That said, I stand in solidarity with all of you non-Coachellagoers. I really do understand what it feels like to be left at home alone while all of your friends and fellow Snapchatters go full-on Coachella crazy. Whether you’re taking this year off, unwilling to spend an ungodly amount of money to sweat in a crowd, stoked for Weekend 2 or you’re still riding the wave of Weekend 1, I present to you three ways to make your weekend in Berk feel like you’re crowd-surfing in the Polo Fields.
1. Attend a Sofar Sounds concert
Few people these days seem to go to Coachella for the music alone, despite what they’ll try to tell you. At the end of the day, though, one of the coolest parts of attending a music festival is seeing some of your favorite bands live and having the unique opportunity to listen to new groups not yet at the top of the lineup.
Love the exposure to music but hate the crowds? Sofar Sounds was created with you in mind. Created in 2009 by Rafe Offer, Sofar Sounds was founded to bring back the magic that cannot be achieved in obscenely large crowds, in the middle of the desert or with a $15 warm beer that the tall frat star in front of you just knocked out of your hand. These secret, intimate musical events are offered in more than 404 cities around the world, included the San Francisco Bay Area. Most Sofar shows sell tickets by way of lotteries that open up to five days before the show date. If selected, you can grab up to five tickets for your best pals to join you. Check out the site for information on upcoming gigs, as tickets go quickly. See, just like you’re Coachillin’! Limited tickets and all!
2. Make Watermelon Jell-O Shots
The notorious C.W.S., or Coachella watermelon slice, has become one of the most iconic snack options of our day. Setting you back a whopping $6 for a single slice of fruit, I can guarantee you that your wallet will thank you for sticking around Berkeley this weekend.
That said, just because you’re sitting at your desk in Berkeley being the serious, studious academic your parents always dreamed you’d be doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun. Consider making these watermelon shots Friday evening for a Saturday afternoon dayger or Sunday soirée. They go down very easily and are deceptively strong. You can’t say I didn’t warn you.
3. Sit in a sauna
Looking to sweat like you’re in the middle of a 100,000-person crowd in the middle of Palm Desert? Well, that might be you and only you. But if you’re really looking to feel like you’re at the festival, bother your friend in Cloyne Court to let you hang in their sauna for a few moments. Bonus points: Sauna post-watermelon slice shots to really get those toxins out.
However you choose to celebrate your time between Coachella weekends, stay safe, stay hydrated, stay weird!