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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

After three long years without desert festival FOMO, Coachella has returned! This year, I was fortunate enough to go to Weekend One of the infamous event, and it was unreal. From the artists, to the fashion, to the memories, Coachella seriously delivered. After taking a few days to decompress (and scrub the dust off myself), I have some thoughts, tips, and a few warnings that may be as chaotic as the weekend. These are all over the place, but what else would you expect from Coachella?

Initially, I was apprehensive about going — it’s a daunting event! Luckily, I attended with my older sister and her friends who had been to Coachella before. Going with people who knew what they were doing made the experience so much more comfortable and fun — being in the desert with thousands of strangers isn’t exactly something you want to go into blind! So, if you plan on going, go with people who have already gone, if you can!

When I arrived at the sacred desert grounds, I had the sense that they were oddly familiar even though I’d never been there. Maybe this familiarity was from all the social media content I had seen for years, but it made me feel comfortable there, in a way that I can only compare to as being at Disneyland. Despite the crowds, it was pretty much controlled chaos!

Obviously, my favorite part about the whole experience was the music. Although I couldn’t make every show that I wanted to see — a necessary sacrifice for the sake of the group — I loved seeing new artists and music I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Also, stars like Megan Thee Stallion and Harry Styles gave the Coachella crowd a sneak peek of their upcoming new songs. Many artists also brought out special guests: Daniel Caesar brought out Justin Bieber for “Peaches,” Harry Styles brought out Shania Twain for her songs “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” and “You’re Still the One,” and Billie Eilish brought out Damon Albarn of Gorillaz for “Feel Good Inc.” These performances were truly an experience you can only get at Coachella; they were so special and I feel so lucky to have been able to experience all of this music! 

As for the weekend’s fashion statements, I was surprised to see a variety of vibes! Because I had only ever seen the “all-out” outfits on social media, I was expecting everyone to be decked out in crazy festival gear. Whether people kept it casual, or stuck to rave attire, altogether there was a fair mix of comfy and cute, and I loved to see people rocking some cool clothes that made them feel confident! 

On the more functional and realistic side, sunglasses and fanny pack are a MUST! The dust was real: without my sunglasses, I would not have made it through the weekend! I also heard horror stories of phone-stealing, but I felt completely secure with my cross-body fanny pack (best purchase I’ve ever made from Target)! Another thing to note, everything there is expensive. My Day One chicken tenders cost $17, but I was starving and desperate so it had to be done. At night on Day Two, some of my group got so chilly that they resorted to buying $90 Billie Eilish hoodies! Coachella will bleed your wallet dry, but at the end of the day, it’s all part of the experience!

Overall, I loved my first Coachella! I don’t know if I will be attending next year, but if you do, I hope any of my thoughts help you on your journey! I know my memories will last even longer than the dust I’m still coughing up!

Eva Grunburg is a second-year Pre-Communication major at UC Santa Barbara.
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