Large music festivals like Coachella are put on every year, attracting many talented musicians and artists. So maybe you’ve seen pictures or heard stories, and you’ve always wanted to go. Maybe you’ve been to similar ones and would like to learn more! But when planning your trip to this big event, you may be wondering how long the festival even lasts.
Since 2012, the Coachella Music Festival has lasted for two consecutive weekends, Friday through Sunday, in April. The gates open around 11 am, and the last performance ends around 1 am on Friday and Saturday and midnight on Sunday. The next festival takes place April 15-17 and April 22-24, 2022.
There are lots to do and see during Coachella’s two weekends, which is why people plan their trip far in advance. And there is more to the festival than the music: there are crafts and food from around the world, and there are spots for camping if you’re coming from out of town. Read on to learn more about Coachella’s festival times and what takes place during the event.
How Long Does Coachella Last?
Coachella currently lasts from Friday through Sunday for two consecutive weekends, but historically wasn’t always this long.
The festival was originally inspired by a Pearl Jam concert that took place in 1993 at the Empire Polo Club. Realizing the venue could handle a large crowd, in October 1999, the Coachella festival became a one-day annual event held at the Empire Polo Club in Coachella valley of Indio, California.
In 2002, Coachella started adding a second day to the festival. It became three days in 2007, and eventually the three-day, two-weekend event that it has been since 2012.
The next Coachella event is scheduled for April 15-17 and 22-24, 2022. Presale tickets have already been sold, but in January 2022, the remaining tickets will go on sale.
How Long Is Each Day at Coachella?
With the first band playing at noon, the gates usually open around 11 am, but it’s recommended that you always get there early. The last band finishes up around 1 am on Friday and Saturday, making it about a 13- or 14-hour day. On Sundays, they try to finish up about midnight.
There are two stages, one for headliners and a smaller one nearby, and three tents that also hold performances throughout the day. Six other stages have been added over the years, as well as a few indoor tents and a dome. With that said, the actual schedule for various performances tends to differ between years. (Click here for the lineup from 2019 to better give you an idea of how the music schedule looks.)
What Happens Each Day at Coachella?
There is more to the Coachella festival than music. Yes, each day, there can be 60 or more performances on the various stages throughout the grounds, but there are so many other things happening to fill your time.
Popular bands perform to draw large crowds. Typically, headliners are announced 4-9 months before the next event. And set times are posted a few days in advance on the Coachella mobile app. Multiple stages and staggering the band sets throughout the day enable you to constantly enjoy live music from beginning to end.
The Coachella valley festival boasts of many innovative artists. Sculptures from architectural and design studios are scattered around for people to enjoy. Some installations are giant moving pieces, giving the attendees fantastic and unique photo opportunities. Additionally, there are artistic performances held in some of the indoor tents that are experiences in and of themselves.
Under the shade of a tent, Coachella holds about 15 restaurant options. From cheeseburgers and Chinese food to desserts and drinks, the options are abundant. If you’re in the mood for a quiet, sit-down environment, there is a four-course dinner restaurant available. This restaurant requires a festival pass, so make sure to think ahead when booking a dinner here.
In addition to the music and art displays, there are areas specifically designed to keep the fun rolling. The Activities Tent offers various games on the campgrounds, and there’s a raffle prize. The Field of Dreams is a recreational spot that is free and open to everyone. And, of course, there’s the Ferris wheel that gives you a great view of the Coachella Valley.
Don’t forget there are also plenty of vendors selling merchandise from shirts to vinyl records. You have to have permission to sell by the festival organizers, though; otherwise, your items may be confiscated.
Many camping and overnight options allow festival attendees to spend the night Friday and Saturday. Car camping is the most popular one where people park their cars and camp out from the back. Friends and tents are unlimited as long as you stay in your designated space. Others opt for a traditional tent site; still, others choose from a couple of lodging choices offered by the festival.
Like any highly attended event, parking at Coachella can be tricky. Make sure the spot you choose is designated for Coachella, and be sure to move it before 2 am if you’re not car camping for the night. All cars left will be towed. Unless you pay for preferred parking, it’s free to park your car. Shuttles are also available. Or you can come on your bike or by walking.
To get the most out of your Coachella experience, plan on spending one or two weekends there. Grab some friends and make it a fun weekend to remember, full of music and art, and culture in an environment fostering the creative and bizarre talent of this generation. It’s guaranteed you won’t see everything, but that’s the beauty of it. Make the weekend your own and enjoy!