That ‘Coachella Herpes Spike’ Is Probably Fake

Just when I thought the Coachella 2019 coverage was really, truly over, leave it to herpes to come in and ruin everything. The internet was blowing up this morning after TMZ posted a report that this year’s festival was responsible for a major spike in people seeking treatment for herpes. At first glance, it’s a funny story, because Coachella is basically two weeks of people getting f*cked up and making poor decisions in the desert. It would make sense that a disease as common as herpes would thrive in this kind of environment, but this whole story is actually just nonsense.

The source of the report is HerpAlert, a website that offers “online treatment and diagnosis” for herpes. Basically, people send pictures of their junk, and then a professional reviews the pics and decides if you have herpes. Sounds legit! According to HerpAlert, they usually only handle about 12 cases a day, but during the first two days of Coachella, their numbers soared close to 250. Also, since the start of Coachella this year, they’ve had over 1,100 cases in Palm Springs and the surrounding areas, including LA and San Diego.

While these numbers are definitely enough to get anyone’s attention, they’re pretty misleading when it comes to what herpes is actually like. Honestly, I know this stuff from my 9th grade health class, but we got some info from Dr. Robert Huizenga just to be sure. Dr. Huizenga is a physician, sexual health expert, and the author of Sex, Lies, & STDsBasically, he knows what’s up when it comes to herpes.

First of all, the most important thing to note is that the initial spike in HerpAlert patients occurred during the first two days of the festival, which does not add up with the timeline of the onset of herpes. Dr. H says that it takes herpes symptoms three to seven days after contact to appear. Given that Coachella is a three-day festival and many of these “cases” were submitted only during day two, that is not enough time to have contracted the herpes virus while at Coachella, no matter how many people you hooked up with on the camp grounds. It just does not compute.

Second of all, and more importantly, Dr. H notes that you can’t diagnose herpes with a blood test until 14 to 30 days after contact. Sores or rashes can show up before that, and could in theory be diagnosed with this picture-sending app, but it’s not as reliable as getting an actual blood test done. Seeing as it has barely been 14 days since weekend one of Coachella, it’s very unlikely that over a thousand people all contracted herpes at the festival. If anything, this whole “Coachella herpes outbreak” story is probably just proof that people are misinformed about sexual health (or wore too much glitter near their junk and are paranoid), rather than any indicator that there’s a major herpes outbreak in Indio.

Of course, everyone should go get tested regularly, whether or not they’ve been having sex in the desert, and use protection. Maybe next year Coachella should send out STI informational brochures along with the wristbands. And after you get tested, take a moment to send prayers to the poor doctor who had to review all the pictures of dirty junk that influencers were sending during Coachella. Yikes.

Images: Daniel Dvorsky / Unsplash; Giphy; @capricecrane / Twitter

Ookay Talks ‘Thief’, Stealing The Show At Coachella & Why Women Run The World

I’ve conducted a few artist interviews in my day. Most of them are formal—you set up a time to meet in the designated press area at a festival, or (if you’re lucky) you’ll get escorted back to the artist’s trailer or tour bus. You get anywhere from five to 15 minutes, and you’re on the clock while a publicist times you like a hawk. You’re ushered in, you do the interview, maybe snap a few pictures if you have time, and then you’re whisked away just as quickly as you came.

My interview with DJ and producer Ookay (real name Abe Laguna) was not like most interviews. When I caught up with him during weekend one of Coachella, I met him and his almost exclusively female entourage (“my biggest inspirations right now are all women,” he says) inside the rose garden, where we sat down on the grass and sipped rosé and chatted casually. While most interviews are intimidating, with Ookay, I honestly felt like I was talking to a friend. We laughed and joked; I even called him a troll at one point. Despite the 350,000-plus Instagram followers and the fact that his songs have personally put me deep in my feelings (due to one memorable Ezoo experience when I was cracked out and listening to his song “Thief” on repeat until 5am), I felt completely at ease. I didn’t feel like I needed to impress him with well-thought-out questions, and in fact, I learned more about him from the ones that popped up off the cuff. Ookay’s publicist told me in advance that he’s “super light hearted and full of personality,” but even still, I was taken aback by how much that characterization rang true.

It was not most interviews, in part because Ookay is not most artists. The San Diego-born DJ and producer plays drums, trombone, piano, bass, guitar, harmonica, as well as some instruments I’ve never heard of. “The melodica, keytar, SPD, which is like a drumming apparatus,” he ticks off his fingers. I ask how many instruments he can play. “I think 6 now?” he responds, not even completely sure. He credits his musical prowess to his father, a bassist who introduced him to “very complex jazz early on, like, 13 or 12 years old.” He says, “It’s all thanks to my father, I wouldn’t even be here right now if it wasn’t for him.”

And in an age where being a DJ can mean anything from “getting paid to hit play on a premade playlist” to “arranges all their own music,” Ookay sets himself apart from the pack, especially with his live shows. He’s been performing live on the festival circuit for a few years, but revamped the format for Coachella, where he plays multiple instruments and sings. He’s also upped the visuals. “It’s funny,” Ookay remarks, “it’s called dance music but there’s no dancers.” So he added dancers onstage. “Problem number one, fixed.”

It was important to switch up his live set for Coachella because it is a special place for him. (He will also be playing weekend 2 at the Sahara Tent at 2:45pm.) “I had a lot of realizations here, in good ways. The first time I came here , I figured out I want to be an artist that gets to this kind of level to play this kind of festival.”

It feels oddly poetic, then, five years later, he’s taking the stage with this original set format, performing as not simply a DJ, but a bonafide artist. “It’s kind of full circle,” he admits, “very wholesome.” He reflects that every year at Coachella he’s learned something different. This year? “I think it was more of a reflection of how far I’ve come to get to this point,” he decies. “My blood, sweat, and tears, the traveling, being exhausted, working my ass off, being in a warehouse for two months straight… it’s worth it, everything we’ve been going through led to something special.”

He gushes, “And for everyone that I’m involved with—as far as like, my team, and crew, and all of my fans even—it’s awesome to see it just progress and keep going. And a lot of new fans, even just walking around people have been like straight-up, ‘yo, never heard of you before but checked out your set because we walked in and we heard people just like jumping around and it’s awesome to see you doing all this stuff on stage—’”

I shit you not, on cue, our interview is interrupted.

“Are you Ookay?” asks a girl who came up to us with a male friend in tow. I look to Ookay to see how he’s going to handle this.

“I am,” he answers calmly. She visibly starts freaking out.

“I love your songs so much,” she tells him.

“Thank you.”

“Can I give you a hug? Is that okay?”

He stands up, gives her a hug, takes a picture. The whole interaction is too perfect, and timed too well, to make up. But I can tell this isn’t out of the ordinary for him—not the getting recognized part, but the “being genuinely grateful someone likes his music enough to tell him personally and engaging that person even though he’s clearly busy” part. After making this fan’s day, we sit back down and resume the interview, picking up at what makes Coachella so special to him. Yes, there’s the fact that Ookay credits it as “one of the first festivals I paid for,” but it’s also where he got the inspiration for his breakout hit “Thief,” which boasts over 56 million Spotify streams to date and has been remixed by the likes of Slushii and Flux Pavilion.

He wrote it after that first visit to Indio, where he was inspired to, as he puts it, “make a song that matters in two seconds… something so spectacular that you get excited.”

So that’s how the musical aspect of his smash hit came to be, but the lyrics?

“Oh, it’s definitely about my ex-girlfriend. That’s what most of the big songs are written about.” That’s not a bad claim to fame. “Yeah, well, I’m forever thankful,” he says without a hint of irony. Given just how big the song has gotten, there is plenty to be thankful for.

He credits the success of “Thief” in part to its snappy and immediately recognizable intro, plus the memorable sax riff, but what I suspect most of all, the vulnerable lyrics, which are a breath of fresh air in the realm of dance music. “ the first time I ever put my voice out there like that, one of the first songs I sang/wrote, period.” His approach to writing that song, more or less, went as follows: “I’m going to take what you would consider a journal or a diary and throw it out there.”

As far as other muses, he credits a lot of women. Piggybacking off his comments about his female-led entourage, he says, “I’m a huge fan of what Rezz and Alison Wonderland and what all these women are doing.”

Women run the world foreal.

— OOKAY (@Ookay) April 11, 2019


He adds, “it’s really cool to see women set the bar on so much shit. On top of that, the black hole thing that happened was discovered by a woman. It’s amazing. I think most things have been women-driven. We got 10 more years before—”

“Before we figure out how to get rid of you guys?” I chime in (I’m sorry, I can’t help it).

“Oh my god, please get rid of us, we suck,” he agrees.

Ladies, he’s single.

When, naturally, I ask Ookay where his dating life stands now, he seems surprised by the question.

“It’s nonexistent,” he answers plainly. “I think I’m at the point where if you were like, ‘text a girl right now’, I couldn’t do it.” I clarify: because he has no girls to text? “Pretty much,” he replies with a shrug. Seems surprising for a young musician who’s playing stages like Coachella and Electric Zoo.

“When it happens, it happens,” he answers nonchalantly. “I’m not looking, I’ve been finally single for a year. And I’ve been working hard, so music has been my girlfriend.” He expresses that when he’s ready, he’ll go out there and find someone—or perhaps someone will come to him. He jokes about maybe even finding the love of his life at Coachella. Then he and I in turn joke about doing an interview a few years from now about that. “Who knows,” he guesses. “When I’m married! Or dead—just kidding, hopefully not.”

I inquire if he sees himself ever getting married. He quickly answers no. When I press him on why, he says, “I don’t know. A ring costs a lot of money.” After a pause, he elaborates, “Marriage is interesting, it’s like the weirdest tradition. It’s traditional, you know what I mean? It’s conventional. No one’s like yes, marriage is going to be beneficial”—except for maybe the tax benefits, which launches us into another side tangent about people who get married for healthcare benefits. He sees it often, being from San Diego where there’s a huge military base, where people often rush to get married.

And just like that, I find myself falling into a predictable pattern of jest that I would with my close friends, making a wisecrack about rolling up to a military base to find a boyfriend. Ookay doesn’t think I’m being desperate or weird (or, to put it plainly, that I’m being serious); he gets it, as if we’ve known each other for more than the 15 minutes or so we’ve been sitting on the grass.

All joking aside, he asserts, “I’m focused on my work right now, I’m very happy. I just wrote a song about that actually; it’s called ‘Better Off’,” as in, better off alone.

He doesn’t mean it in an antisocial way, either, but rather, more on the side of self contentment. “I’ve gotten used to dinner with my phone,” he cites as an example.”I really don’t mind being alone. And that’s fine! And I think that’s where I’m at right now, I think right now I’m just like focusing on being the best version of me for someone who comes along, whenever that happens I’m cool with it.”

For now, Ookay is working on his relationship with his music, with an album in sights—his first comically accurately named album, Wow! Cool Album!, came out a little over a year ago. He pledges to return to his roots and make more EDM, because, he explains, “those are the people who gave me the platform to do this ”. After a few shows in Vegas, he’ll take a break from performing, return to the studio, and come back with another new live show. He’d like to do shows in cities that don’t often have electronic artists come through, perform overseas, but above all, stay creative and keep pushing.

He puts it simply: “I’m just going to keep making good music for good people and try to reach an audience.”

Play This Game Of Coachella Bingo While You Scroll Though Instagram

As most people do, I have a love-hate relationship with Coachella. Every year, I find myself scrolling through Instagram, complaining about how Coachella is basically just Disneyland for influencers, and a way for Vanessa Hudgens to cling to relevance for two weeks a year. Instead of flying across the country and lighting all my money on fire, I prefer to celebrate Couchella. For those wondering, “Couchella” is the fun way of saying “eating a ton of junk food and wallowing in self-loathing as I scroll Instagram and half pay attention to reruns of The Office.”

As much fun as Couchella is, it can get a little depressing by weekend two. But don’t worry, because now we’ve turned Coachella into an opportunity for comedy and drunkenness, with a special game of Coachella Bingo. Tell everyone in the group chat to come over, because you have some serious Instagram stalking to do. Let’s get to the game.

Some guidelines:

  1. To play, don’t bother printing out the Coachella Bingo card. Save the trees and yada yada yada, but also I don’t know a single person who owns a printer anymore. Just screenshot the sheet and use the markup feature on your phone to put X’s on the spot.
  2. Take a shot every time you finish a line. This will almost make it feel like you’re at Coachella, except you have cell phone signal, and you also don’t have to share a bed with six other people in an Airbnb.
  3. When you get blackout (both on the bingo card and from drinking), the prize is that you don’t have to risk sharing a toilet seat with Bella Thorne or Jax Taylor, you don’t have to deal with creepy dudes trying to proposition you for port-a-potty sex, and you don’t have worry about being in shape for a half-clothed Insta for at least two more months. It’s the small things in life.

Coachella Bingo

Just some quick notes on squares that may cause some confusion:

  1. Someone who is too old to be at Coachella: any Real Housewife, or any guy who is actually old enough to be your father.
  2. Changing into a bikini does not count as an outfit change so long as you don’t wear it to the festival, but it counts if you change into an outfit after.
  3. Villains from The Bachelor who the rest of the cast refuses to hang out with do NOT count as seeing a girl gang from The Bachelor. They will, however, fall under the umbrella of fake Revolve sponsorship and/or Diff Eyewear.
  4. Leonardo DiCaprio’s ex-girlfriends only count if he bought them a hybrid car or dated them during his Oscar campaign to make it seem like he will get married someday to pander to the Academy. Leo sleeps with everyone, so knowing which flavor Juul pod he uses when he vapes during sex does NOT count as being his girlfriend.
  5. Getting wayyyy too tan can count as cultural appropriation if you need it to.
  6. Pretending to be sponsored by Boohoo, VICI, or Fashion Nova counts as pretending to be sponsored by Revolve

And that’s it! Happy hate-stalking, and see you next year!

Ariana Grande Brought Out *NSYNC, Nicki Minaj & More At Coachella

First, for all of you reading this, an apology: as I write this it’s 1am in California, and I am delirious after three days of partying journalism and mild dehydration. I can only hope what I’m about to publish is in the realm of what could be considered coherent. Here we go. The first weekend of Coachella came to a close on Sunday night, meaning that wannabe influencers from across the globe would soon have to return to those jobs. But for 90 glorious minutes, we could rest our tiny sunglasses on our heads and bid Coachella goodbye with Ariana Grande, who closed out the festival on the eponymous main stage.

Ariana had no less than four outfit changes, which she explained by saying “I couldn’t choose an outfit to Coachella so I just wore all of them.” Aka me when packing for any trip ever, but especially for Coachella.

 

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She came in hot with “break up with your girlfriend, I’m bored” and brought out *NSYNC to sing the bridge (her song samples *NSYNC’s “It Makes Me Ill”). Or, I should say, she brought out *NSYNC minus Justin Timberlake—still good enough for me. Then, they all joined forces for “Tearin Up My Heart”. I’m sure at least half the crowd was too young to know that song, but it brought my old ass a lot of joy.

A little later on, during “Side to Side”, Ariana brought Nicki Minaj to do her verse. Unfortunately it sounded like Nicki’s mic kept cutting out. Sound issues seemed to be an overarching problem throughout the weekend. For example, Lizzo’s Sunday evening set on a completely different stage, an otherwise electric performance, kept getting interrupted by sound issues as well. In any case, Ariana and Nicki continued the momentum from “Side to Side” into “Bang Bang” (sans Jessie J), where once again there were some issues with Nicki’s mic—or so it seemed to me, situated not at the back but definitely not up at the front either. Look, I was not about to camp out for half the day and miss most of Coachella. So I perceived some sound issues is all I’m saying. That said, Nicki looked flawless and the moment she came out immediately injected the crowd with energy.

Nicki Minaj interrupted her hiatus to perform at the Coachella w/ Ariana Grande and the production so incompetent that it didn’t fix the technical problems. ? pic.twitter.com/aQTLtUI2zF

— The Kingdom (@TheKingdomReal) April 15, 2019


After another outfit change, and a quick disclaimer about loving Coachella and wanting to cry (same), Ariana broke into “Breathing”. She had a band for the whole performance, but “Breathing” included live strings, which made it more emotional.

There was a brief segue into a few Big Sean songs—Ari covered his part, no appearance there—and I remarked to my friend that I didn’t know the pair had done so many songs together. (Neither of us knew.) I wasn’t the only one ignorant on the apparently vast Ariana Grande/Big Sean discography.

But probably the biggest shock of the night came when Ariana started to break into the chorus of “Mo Money, Mo Problems”, seemingly on a whim. Like you’d do if you were singing absentmindedly while cleaning. Only this wasn’t absentminded at all, because out came P F*CKING DIDDY and MASE themselves. Like, didn’t Mase quit rapping so he could become a pastor? Isn’t that his whole thing?? Did Ariana bring Mase out of retirement? I know I could easily Google it, but it’s 2am, like I said. And anyway, did a single one of us expect Mase to come to Coachella? No. I was shook. He and Diddy rapped the verses and Ari sang the chorus while a photo montage to Biggie Smalls projected on the screens surrounding them.

P.DIDDY IS ON STAGE WITH ARIANA #ARICHELLA pic.twitter.com/Z2n6sfrzh8

— Ruby ? (@h2gnotearsleft) April 15, 2019


That concluded the special guest portion. Personally, I was rooting for (and had money on) a 2 Chainz appearance, given that he and Ariana just collabed on “Rule The World”, and that he was at Coachella anyway and dropped by Gucci Gang’s set. So now I owe my friend $5. Sad. Still, *NSYNC was a fun addition, Diddy and Mase were an unpredictable twist, and Nicki was a pleasant surprise that somehow seemed inevitable, but in a good way. Like, we were all hoping for it, and it actually happening made it that much better.

And in the end, we really came to see Ariana anyway—not her famous friends. She showed off her immense talent (she really can SING, hitting all the high notes and only taking brief breaks to change outfits) and did a pretty good mix of old hits and current tracks off Sweetener, the new album she’s currently on tour supporting. There wasn’t a single song of hers that I wished she’d done. Well, maybe “imagine”, but the girl’s already been through so much this year—I was not actively rooting to see her cry onstage, and that song is emotional af.

When Ari’s voice cracks and she gets emotional singing “wish I could say thank you to Malcom.” I felt that ?#ARICHELLA#ARIANAGRANDE pic.twitter.com/9HdwLWL9L7

— J (@mesmrz) April 15, 2019


And of course she closed with “thank u next”, after a brief fakeout where she let us believe the show was over for a few agonizing minutes. She turned off the lights and pretended to walk away, so we all started chanting “thank u, next”, but come on. Of course she was going to do “thank u, next”. And do it she did, for her final song of the night and of Coachella weekend 1. It was no recreation of every beloved female empowerment movie, but it was still amazing to watch. Ari’s outfit was coordinated with the visuals on the screen. Her dance moves were choreographed and on point. And towards the end, a confetti cannon shot out confetti that matched her outfit and the stage’s visuals and ended the whole thing with a bang, literally, with fireworks.

Thank u, next weekend.

6 Coachella Essentials You Will Seriously Regret Not Bringing

If you are living somewhere with an internet connection, which I presume you are if you are reading this, you are aware that Coachella kicks off this weekend. Whether you’re attending for the first time or you’re a seasoned veteran who spends all year regaling your friends with tales from festivals past, it can be tricky deciding what to pack. You’re likely flying across the country, you may or may not be checking a bag, and still, you have to bring enough supplies to last you three days in a desert. (Why is this sounding like the Passover origin story?) Luckily for you, I’ve been to a ton of festivals (I even camped at Bonnaroo, so don’t question me) and attended Coachella last year, so I feel more than qualified to give advice on this topic. But if you don’t want to take my word for it, I teamed up with Anna Lunoe, an Australian DJ who’s already performed twice at Coachella, to help me come up with an essential Coachella packing list. (Anna is performing for her third time this year at the Sahara stage, so check her out). If you are a procrastinator who has not packed yet (same), here’s what you need to run out, buy, and throw in your bag. If you’re not going, Anna created a special mix just for Betches readers that you can check out at the end of this article.

A Portable Charger

Sonix Spitfire Portable Charger

Sonix Spitfire Portable Charger

This is where you think I will espouse some sh*t about not losing your friends, right? Wrong! There is no service at Coachella and you will lose everyone immediately, so share your location with your friends ahead of time and set up some meeting points and times like they did back before cell phones were invented. So what do you need a portable charger for? The Instagrams, DUH. Anna backs me up on this. She says, “Every year you will fall in love with the palm trees and lights again. Yes, that’s basic, but they are completely RIDICULOUS and there is a reason they are so universally loved.”

She’s not wrong—I’ve gone to more festivals than I can count, and what I love about Coachella in particular is that they really pull out all the stops to make it feel like you are in another world (specifically, another world with unparalleled backdrops for your Instagrams). Last year, there was this spiraling rainbow tower thing called SPECTRA that I’m pretty sure the entire attending population took photos in front of. It will be there this year, so no worries if you missed it last time. Plan your outfits accordingly! The only thing that can ruin your ~aesthetic~ is your phone dying. Tragic! So in order to avoid that, bring a portable charger! I found one from Sonix that’s super cute and provides 16 hours of extra battery life, so I don’t even have to charge it up every morning (but I still probably will because I’m neurotic like that).

A Fanny Pack

Anna Lunoe Festival Pack

Depending on how you look at it and your personal views towards fashion, one of the best or worst things about Coachella is that it’s half about the music, half about what everyone is wearing. That element causes me extra stress, but it also means I can indulge in my favorite activity: judging everyone’s fashion choices people watching. And I’m not alone. “Trends come and go, but an over-used trend is forever!” Anna says. “Personally, I would love to see the flower crown trend retire already. We’ve had enough.”

I can agree that flower crowns are a little overdone, and anyway, you should bring a hat (more on that later). Unfortunately, I’m sure we will see at least one flower crown at every single music festival until the day we all die (or the festival bubble bursts, whichever comes first). But one accessory that I am super glad made a comeback (mainly because I never got rid of mine from the 90s) are fanny packs. Whether you’re wearing it around your hips like God intended or as a crossbody bag, fanny packs are convenient, secure, and they fit all your sh*t. I rue the day they go out of style and people make fun of me for still having one. Anna actually made a festival pack for her fans, that comes with a fanny pack (bless), a fan, a collapsible water bottle, and temporary tattoos, which incidentally were the next four items on my Coachella packing list. 

A Bandana

Bandana

Lucky Rose Bandana

When I asked Anna for her Coachella packing list essentials, she did not hesitate to list off a number of sun protection items. “You need a hat, bandana, sunscreen, lip balm and a light sweater in your bag every day, no exceptions—the desert is no joke,” she says. “People often think they won’t need a sweater or bandana because it’s so hot, but it gets VERY windy so you need something to cover up and protect yourself from the imminent sand storms.”

This, I can personally attest, is a fact. Do not be the idiot who has to sit in the shade all day (lol, good luck with that) because you forgot sunscreen and are a lobster. Wear sunscreen, you idiot!! And, as someone from New York, I will say that it IS true that you DON’T feel the heat as much because it’s a dry heat—but that doesn’t mean the sun is not going to burn you, so reapply sunscreen regularly! One thing you don’t really need at other festivals but you absolutely need at Coachella, though? A bandana. Remember what I said about that dry heat? Yeah, that makes for a ton of dust, especially during weekend two, when the grounds have been stomped on by thousands of people the week prior. You don’t want to cough like you’ve got the black lung during a spontaneous dust storm, so get a bandana to keep around your neck. If you wet it, it will also keep you cool.

Mirrored Sunglasses

Sonix Bellevue Sunglasses in Milk Tortoise – Indigo Mirror

Not to brag (yes to brag), but last year at an after-party, I saw Kourtney Kardashian and Younes Bendjima. They were standing like, two feet in front of me, and I tried to take a stealth pic but failed miserably, so the only evidence I have that I saw them is a sh*tty video my friend took and a note I stored in my Notes app recounting my run-in. This year, I am prepared to gawk celebrities in a subtle way! In order to do this, I am bringing a pair of mirrored sunglasses so you can’t tell where my eyes are looking. Will Ed Westwick still probably know I’m staring at him? Yes. Will that stop me? No.

Anna is with me on the “look but don’t talk” philosophy of celeb run-ins. She says, “Celebrities are just like us! They love festivals, and if you see them you have to pretend like it’s normal that they are there. Bella, Gigi, Kendall and Kylie are all regulars at the festival and will stand out because they will be dressed way cooler than all of us. I hung out with Rihanna at Kendrick Lamar’s set once. And by hung out I mean we stood in the same vicinity.” I am jealous. If I were standing next to Rihanna, I would put on my mirrored sunglasses and pretend to take a selfie and hope she didn’t have security escort me out.

Granola Bars

Luna Protein Bar – Chocolate Peanut Butter

While the food may not be on your radar at all of things to do at Coachella, Anna insists it should be at the top of your list. She says, “We know you’ve been dieting so you can look great in that crop top, but Coachella has some of the best food trucks and vendors around, so live a little. Afters Ice Cream, Kogi, Magpie’s, Milk Bar, Ramen Hood, Sweetfin, Spicy Pie are some of my faves.” I’m not going to lie, I rarely ever eat the food at festivals—and if I do, I just choose whatever has the shortest line—but she’s convinced me to make an effort. Also, if she’s referring to the same Spicy Pie that’s at Bonnaroo every year, then I can tell you for sure it’s amazing.

However, while I’m sure the food is to die for, I’d also advise you bring a granola bar (or, if you’re me, five). By day three, the festival was so packed that you could barely move, let alone grab food anywhere without waiting on a line that probably would have lasted through multiple sets. On the last day, my dinner was two soft pretzels that I got at a pretzel stand across from the main stage because that was the only thing that wouldn’t have required me to wait for an hour. Let me tell you, it was worth it when I saw how long everyone else had to wait for a $15 slice of pizza.

A Sneaky Flask

True Fabrications 4oz Metal Bracelet Flask

Literally the one thing I f*cking hated at Coachella was their alcohol policy. Apparently, unlike literally every single festival I have been to, you can’t just walk around with alcohol?? Even if you are an adult who is well over 21 years of age?? You can only drink in these designated gated-off beer garden areas. So what ends up happening is you have to wait in line to get into the beer garden, then you have to wait in like to get your beer (or cocktail, or whatever), and then you have to drink it right there before you can leave the beer garden and see whatever act you want to see. This was, to put it mildly, supremely annoying. Now, I’m not advocating anyone break the rules or do anything illegal here. I will say that I wish I had a cool bracelet that can hold liquid like the one above. That’s all I’m gonna say.

While I have you, don’t forget a water bottle, hand sanitizer, and wet wipes or toilet paper. I don’t really remember the bathrooms being awful last year, but when thousands of people are using the same port-a-potties, they are bound to run out of supplies at some point, and you don’t want to get caught with your pants at your ankles.

And there it is! Your Coachella packing list. If it’s anything like my real packing lists, I’m sure I left out numerous essentials, like deodorant (which I once forgot on a trip to MIAMI of all places, it was truly a tragedy) and pajamas (which I forget on literally every vacation I ever go on). Let me know in the comments if I left out anything crucial! And even if you’re only attending Couchella this year, you can still feel like you’re part of it because Anna Lunoe created a special mix just for Betches readers. Check it out below!

Images: Jasmine Safaeian; Target; Amazon; Sonix (2); Lucky Brand