Coachella has age restrictions in place to ensure everyone’s safety. In 2019, Coachella had over 90,000 attendees a day, with many people taking advantage of the party-friendly atmosphere. With that said, organizers discourage bringing young children, as this is not a family-friendly environment.
To attend Coachella on your own, you must be at least 18 years old. If you’re a minor, you can still attend Coachella; however, your parent or guardian must go with you. You cannot bring your friend who’s over 18 and claim them as your guardian.
The idea behind this is that your parent/guardian is responsible for your safety. Continue reading to learn more about attending Coachella and alternative music festivals for younger crowds.
Why Can’t Minors Attend Coachella without a Legal Guardian?
Coachella markets itself as an “all ages” event, but in reality, it’s not. Here’s why:
Coachella Is Known for its Drug and Alcohol Scene
Coachella, like many music festivals across the nation, is known for alcohol and recreational drug use. To combat this issue, Business Insider reports that in 2019, Coachella had special sections designated for alcohol. Additionally, Newsweek reports that after California legalized cannabis, Coachella’s organizers prohibited the substance at all concerts and events.
While many partygoers found this “annoying,” it actually cut down on instances of violence, flagrant intoxication, and crime. However, it does imply that Coachella’s organizers are aware of substance use, and to keep everyone safe, prohibits unattended minors from purchasing tickets.
Coachella Does Not Have On-Site Hotels
As noted above, Coachella does not have on-site hotels. While there are over 200 hotels in the valley, the closest one (Indian Palms Vacation Club) is 2.2 miles away from the concert’s grounds.
Along with purchasing a ticket, if you want to camp on-site, you must buy a camping pass. Per Coachella’s website, general admission “tier-one” tickets cost about $450. The camping costs an additional $55 to $102. If you want to camp in your car, that’ll cost you extra—running about $266 each for preferred camping.
Prices aside, this does not guarantee your safety. Anyone can break into your car, just like anyone can unzip your tent. This is another reason why Coachella requires that all minors be accompanied by their parents.
Some Acts Are Not Suitable for Minors
Because Coachella is reserved for adults eighteen or older (or minors with parents), some performers’ sets are not “PG.” While you probably won’t see nudity (from the performers, anyway), some songs, dances, and events are not geared toward children.
What Happens if You Sneak into Coachella as a Minor?
Suppose you managed to sneak into Coachella. This would somehow involve faking your age online, getting past the event organizers, and likely making off-site accommodations, as you cannot secure a camping pass as a minor.
If you attend the age underage, and someone finds out, you risk getting ejected from the event. This could prevent you from attending the concert as an adult in the future. Moreover, if you’re the victim of a violent crime, Coachella’s organizers have no liability.
Why Don’t Most Music Festivals Allow Minors?
Most music festivals don’t allow minors without a parent or guardian present. They do this either by asking for your ID at the concert grounds or requiring that you prove your age when buying your ticket online.
The big reason why most festivals don’t allow minors is liability. Organizers want to protect themselves against lawsuits alleging that the venue did not protect minors from harm.
Remember: tens of thousands of people attend these events per day. Music festivals do not conduct background checks or limit who can attend based on their criminal history.
What Music Festivals Allow Minors?
If you’re desperate to attend your first music festival, the following do not have age restrictions:
- Warped Tour. Attendees 13 years or older can attend this event without a parent or guardian. Warped Tour comes to cities all over the United States, including Miami, New York City, and Denver.
- Bonnaroo Arts and Music Festival. Anyone can attend. Children under the age of two are free. Next year’s event is in Manchester, Tennessee.
- Muddy Roots. This is a southwestern music festival that focuses on indie rock, bluegrass, and country music.Next year’s festival will also be in Tennessee.
- Woodstock. No, this is not the same as that Woodstock. Minors can attend this more family-friendly version without a parent as long as they’re over 16 years old. Seniors over 59 years old even qualify for special discounts.
- Gasparilla Music Festival. This is truly an “all-ages” event. Before COVID-19, organizers even booked acts geared toward children under the age of 12.
- Lollapalooza. People of all ages can attend this music festival. However, if you’re over the age of ten, you need to purchase a ticket.
You must be at least 18 years old to attend Coachella without a parent. That’s because this event is tailor-made for adults who want to enjoy the music scene. However, you have other options if you want to attend a music festival with similar performances, events, and “vibes.”