It’s a genuine flood in the desert. Music- and scene-loving people from around the world will pour into the area for three weekends, starting mid-month with the two-weekend Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and culminating April 27 to 29 with the Stagecoach country music fest. With or without tickets, you’ll find a pervasive party scene. Even the Ace Hotel Palm Springs, 25 miles away, holds a festival-related series of events that has featured everything from live music to bingo to meditation. This year’s free festivities, April 12 to 22, are open to the public, and you don’t need a flower headband for admission. RSVP is required at most of these events though — you can do so on the Desert Gold page.
You’ll see stars—in the clear desert sky and by day at pool parties hosted by food, drink, and fashion brands and their celebrity spokespeople. Dozens of hotels also host parties for guests, and some are open to the public. You might see some superstars: Coachella’s headliners include The Weekend, Beyoncé, Eminem, SZA, HAIM, ODESZA and more! while Stagecoach features The Do-Over, NTS Radio, Adult Swim, Reverberation Radio, dublab and others. Be seen in your own stage-worthy wardrobe by making a stop at Cabazon Outlets. Or head over to the Desert Hills Premium Outlets, which delivers designer labels such as Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Gucci, and Marni among its 180 shops.
Rule One: Before you mosh, have breakfast. In Palm Desert, Wilma & Frieda’s Cafe adorns dishes with homemade biscuits, English muffins, and jam or Hollandaise, but you can’t leave without ordering the Marion blackberry vanilla custard or caramel banana French toast for the table ($10 to $15). For Saturday brunch at Indio’s Jackalope Ranch, try the carne asada nachos ($15) and a double-shot bloody mary loaded with veggie garnishes and a bacon swizzle stick ($8). Sunday’s brunch pairs Champagne and prime rib ($29). Pre-party in Palm Springs at the brand-new Truss & Twine where you’ll find smoked duck prosciutto and Tiki, Golden Age, and Prohibition-era cocktails on the menu.
All-day festivals can be a challenge, so having a cushy place to snooze is key. The Omni Rancho Las Palmas ($359 and up) adds reserved Stagecoach seats and shuttle passes for two if you book a three-night package—and you can relax with a float on the resort’s gigantic lazy river. At Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs ($209 and up), stay in tune with a Synchronicity massage ($155 for 50 minutes), which the spa describes as a “musical massage with a masterfully blended soundtrack in sync with a performance of techniques, pressures, and rhythm.” Need a post-festival cure for sandstorms? Try some mud. In Desert Hot Springs, the Two Bunch Palms spa’s Bask and Bake mud bath immerses you in detoxifying peat moss and clay ($89).
ONCE THERE You can camp in your recreational vehicle, car, tent, or in a furnished luxury tent
at Base Camp, a pop-up campground at Lago Vista Ranch that has pool parties, hot-air balloon rides, and 40 acres to explore.
FUN FACT Bring a hat, a dance-worthy wardrobe, and plenty of cash. More than $700 million flows through the valley during Coachella, when nearly 100,000 people a day take over the field.
NEARBY The Perez Art and Design Center in Cathedral City houses JP Denmark for vintage Danish Modern furniture, and Hedge for statement-making midcentury modern pieces. Get vintage barware at Modern Spaces.