Generation Travel Guide: How to Enjoy Coachella, The Cultural Desert, at Any Age
Coachella, 2019, Indio, California (Rich Fury/Getty Images for Coachella); Inset: Pharell Williams, Coachella, Indio, California, 2014. Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Coachella);
For a few days a year, the Coachella music festival transforms Palm Springs into one of the coolest places on earth. Here, Antonia Whyatt shows you how to have fun in the sandbox at any age.
Inspiration: Kate Hudson and Danny Fujikawa
When Kate Hudson’s not here with her musician beau, she’s probably at A-listers’ favourite glow-inducing spa, We Care.
Stay & Play: Juice fast with the A-Listers
Book in to We Care, the liquids-only wellness retreat where Hollywood elites go to drop a few crucial pounds for the red carpet.
Festival Tip: Splurge on a VIP Pass
With access to air-conditioned restrooms, shaded seating areas, plus specialty food and drink, this is worth every penny.
Inspiration: Pharrell Williams
He’s created tennis gear for Adidas so rap star and Louis Vuitton menswear designer Pharrell Williams might easily pop into the BNP Paribas Open.
Stay & Play: Match Point
Every March tennis fans head to the desert for one of the world’s top tournaments, the BNP Paribas Open. Expect LA-inspired dining (there’s
Festival Tip: Later Is Better
Choose the second weekend – it’s less crowded, the bands have warmed up
and are ready to rock.
Inspiration: Cindy Crawford
Cindy took up golf during lockdown, so now she and hubby Rande can take in some tunes and then go to the greens.
Stay & Play: Swinging Sixties
With 350 days of sunshine, golf here is glorious, with endless choices of where to play – there are 63 courses within 20 miles of Palm Desert.
Festival Tip: Show Up Eearly(ish)
While the millenials nurse their hangovers and drift in sometime after 1 p.m., you can be enjoying a prime stage-viewing spot in the 12 to 2 p.m. time slot.
Inspiration: Debbie Harry
At 77 when she took to the stage this year, Blondie’s Harry was one of Coachella’s oldest ever performers. Known for her love of art (she was part of Andy Warhol’s inner circle) she probably soaks in the art and architecture scene in Palm Springs.
Stay & Play: Modern Love
Book with the Modern Tour to get inside Frey House II, famously built around a boulder, as well as numerous private homes in this mid-century-modern mecca.
Festival Tip: Ditch The Car
It can take hours to exit the parking lot – jump on the shuttle instead. The traffic flow is designed so shuttles don’t get stuck.
Inspiration: Clint Eastwood
Passionate about music, Eastwood is an accomplished pianist and composer.
A Coachella devotee, he was last spotted at the festival with Bradley Cooper and Suki Waterhousein 2015 at age 85.
Stay & Play: Great Heights
For spectacular views without the hike take the aerial tramway – 2,500 feet up into the San Jacinto Mountains.
Festival Tip: Hydrate
Drink water even when you’re not thirsty. You’ll feel spry as you step over the prone bodies of exhausted youths lying passed out on the grass.
A version of this article appeared in the Oct/Nov 2023 issue with the headline ‘The Cultural Desert’, p. 100.