4 Apps for Your Coachella 2012 Survival Guide
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is a curious social experiment in masochism. Just how much are people willing to put themselves through in the name of good art? If you guessed exhausting crowds, $335 tickets, exorbitant hotel rates and three days in the scorching hot desert, you’re right!
But herein lies the magic of Coachella. Year in and year out, the festival manages to put together one of the best musical lineups on the planet, from top-billed headliners to quality unknowns. And even though it gets hot, there’s an energy and camaraderie that accompanies the “survival mode” all festival-goers effectively share—blistering high-noon heat, after all, eventually gives way to purple sunsets, cool evenings and Radiohead: Live.
What began as a legendary 1993 Pearl Jam concert on a previously unused expanse of desert inspired a festival that began just three months after Woodstock ’99 and is now entering its fourteenth year, showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, this year’s Coachella festival has expanded to two full three-day weekends for the very first time (the previous festivals took up just a single weekend). Only a true masochist—err, music fan, will survive both weekends, but whether you’re a Coachella veteran or a concert newbie, your cell phone can be the difference between calling it quits before the day-one headliner and having one of the most unforgettable weekends of your life.
It should be noted that no matter what hardware you’re packing, you’re headed into the desert. You should bank on your cell reception falling somewhere between awful and zilch. According to a CellReception report, Verizon offers the best service in the area, but with an extra 80,000 people vying for the same airwaves, don’t go in thinking that your phone is going to get special treatment. Download anything you need before you leave home (including these four handy apps), make a plan with your friends at the beginning of each day, and try not to mosh anybody in the face (too hard).
You’ll hear this repeated to the point of irritation over the two weekends: Stay hydrated. Trust us. Hearing these two little words is way better than a trip to the emergency room and the ensuing bill. Even if it’s not particularly hot, being out in the sun all day is draining and can be dangerous. We’re not going to mother you, but protect your eyes and skin, and, well...stay hydrated!
Getting caught up in the music and trying to juggle the hectic schedule of three stages could mean that water is the last thing on your mind. But the Water Your Body app for Android will help you from becoming a California raisin. The water-monitoring app allows you to set how much water you should be drinking (which is higher in the desert), input how much you are drinking, and even set alarms to let you know when it’s time to down another canteen full. (Free for Android)
It’s easy to get separated from your friends at Coachella. You step too far into the crowd, M83 starts playing “Midnight City,” and suddenly you’re gobbled up into music-fiend excitement oblivion.
Enjoy this moment, but make sure you and your friends have designated meeting times and places. If something goes awry or plans change (as they are wont to do), the Glympse app can help you find them or be found. It’ll require cell-phone service or a Wi-Fi connection, unfortunately, but it’s worth a shot. You can send notifications of your present location with an expiration time to select friends. If they send you one back, you can follow one another via smartphone until you meet back up in reality. Even if one of you doesn’t have the app, a “glympse” can still be sent, and your location and map will live on their own web page until you want to get rid of it. (Free for Android and iPhone)
With a lineup boasting nearly 150 artists, Coachella 2012 likely features more musicians than you’ve ever heard of in your life up to now. While you surely have your favorites if you’re shelling out for a ticket, there’s a lot to be learned before you call in sick the first Friday of the festival.
Enter the KCRW Radio app. This Santa Monica-based NPR affiliate services all of Los Angeles and out into the farther reaches of California, including Indio (where the festival is actually held). They also boast some of the most up-to-date and eclectic music programming in the country. KCRW's sophisticated app has a lot going for it, but for your purposes, the ability to download free music and stream past shows from stellar DJs will put you in the know just enough to plan your festival schedule. You might even surprise a friend or two with your newfound music awareness. ($0.99 for Android and iPhone)
There are two Coachella apps to help you manage your spiritual musical journey: an official Coachella app and an unofficial Coachella app. The official Coachella app, compatible with iPhone, is not yet available for 2012 (it only features archives from 2011). And while the unofficial app, Coachella 2012, is not a home run, it might be worth having if you can tolerate its lack of interactive features and the poorly manicured UI (user interface) for three days.
With the Coachella 2012 app for Android, you can check festival-site maps, set your schedules and, well, that’s about it. But when a scheduling faux pas is all that stands between you and seeing your two favorite bands live concurrently, Coachella 2012 is better than nothing. (Free for Android)