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Gay Coachella Guide: All You Need to Know

gay Coachella
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Gay Coachella: Details, Outfits & FAQs

Coachella is a massive annual music festival held in the Coachella Valley of Indio, California, which is roughly 30 minutes southeast of Palm Springs.

While it’s not specifically a gay festival, Coachella attracts a sizeable crowd of gay attendees excited to see a diverse lineup of artists spanning genres from electronic dance music to hip hop.

Coachella gay travelers

No matter whether you’re LGBTQ or not, Coachella is worth attending at least once. Even though tickets are notoriously expensive, it’s a wonderful opportunity to see over 100 artists at once, which if you saw them individually, would cost way more money!

Over the weekend my friends and I were able to see Bad Bunny, Charlie XCX, Blink 182, Björk, and tons more.

You’re probably familiar with the hilarious Coachella stereotypes, like girls who wear flower crowns and the VIP-ticket-flaunting influencers. But the festival brings an enormously diverse crowd of people with all sorts of styles from all different backgrounds.

The free spirit that pervades the Coachella festival definitely contributes to the popularity of Coachella with the gay community. It’s a fun chance to dress up in any outfit you like, no matter how extravagant or quirky.

gay guide to Coachella

In this guide, I’ll explain everything there is for gay travelers to know about Coachella, including basic details and tips for the festival, gay Coachella outfits and accessory ideas, what to expect at the event, and answers to plenty of frequently asked questions.

Coachella Dates & Tickets

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival happens over two separate weekends in April, running from Friday through Sunday. Weekend 1 and Weekend 2 feature the same major artists, so attendees choose whichever dates are more convenient.

Coachella music festival

Weekend general admission passes range from $500 to $600. Tickets go on sale in January, and individuals who attended the year prior have advanced access a couple of days beforehand. VIP passes cost upwards of $1100, which include a host of private facilities and specialty food/beverage areas.

For most people, these prices aren’t cheap! In my experience though, groups of friends often share bracelets, taking turns going on alternating days of the weekend. You have to be a little sneaky to pull this off, though!

Where to Stay During Coachella

Gay Coachella attendees have a variety of options for where to stay for the weekend. Many people, especially diehard fans, choose to park in the Coachella campground lots. Cars and trucks line up and attach tents to the back of their vehicles.

resorts for gay Coachella attendees

Palm Springs clothing optional gay resorts are another popular option, especially for those who want to experience a piece of the local gay scene. They range from luxurious resorts to party-focused gay hotels. But no matter which you choose, making friends with other gay travelers is super easy.

Palm Desert vacation rentals are ideal for their proximity to Coachella Valley. Renting a house in this area is especially popular with groups of friends. They offer all the luxuries that come with a full-sized home, like beautiful pools, tons of living space, and a complete kitchen.

Gay Coachella Outfits

Putting together your gay Coachella outfit is one of the best parts of preparing for the music-filled weekend! There’s so much variety in what gay festivalgoers wear that it’s easy to assemble something that fits your style.

Coachella gay outfit idea

Below are five gay Coachella outfit ideas to use as a base to build your look. In the section after, I’ll continue with some fun and stylish gay accessories that you can add to your look to make it really stand out.

Outfit #1

Retro-style open button-down shirts are a quintessential Coachella look. They pair with any type of solid-color pants or shorts. Open shirts give you the perfect opportunity to show off some neon temporary tattoos.

A lightweight kimono is another stylish open-front outfit option. They’re bold, flowy, and super breathable.

gay men's outfits at Coachella

Outfit #2

A Kaftan is an easy way to make a statement at Coachella. I think they look especially chic when paired with high socks and white shoes.

While Kaftans are traditionally one-piece garments, you can pull off the same look with matching shirt and short combos.

gays wearing Kaftans at Coachella

Outfit #3

Many guys happily gallivant around Coachella shirtless. Similar to a typical circuit party outfit, wearing a pair of athletic or jean shorts along with calf-height socks is simple yet sexy.

If you decide to go shirtless, I recommend incorporating a few fun accessories. Otherwise, your outfit runs the risk of being a little boring. A headband, bracelet, or body sequins can add some flair.

best gay Coachella outfits

Outfit #4

Overall shorts are an epic base for an artsy outfit that screams Coachella. Wear a complimenting t-shirt underneath, or go shirtless for a sexier, more breathable look.

Shoulder bags and bandanas pair perfectly with overalls, allowing you to play with your outfit’s accent colors.

Accessories for Your Gay Coachella Outfit

Make your Coachella outfit even more unique with some of these popular accessories!

Starting with the most obvious, you’ll need sunglasses! The gay crowd tends to be of two minds when it comes to shades.

Coachella gay guys

Some stick to their classy favorites like mirrored Aviators, while others love funky sunglasses like futuristic wraparound LED glasses.

Fluorescent visors are a great alternative to protect your eyes from the sun. They also double as a headwear accessory.

If there’s any time and place to wear glitter, it’s Coachella! Body glitter shimmers wonderfully under the desert sun. And for those who want to be eco-friendly, the Unicorn Snot Bio Glitter is a no-brainer. It comes in all sorts of colors and can also be used on your face.

glowing outfits at Coachella

Want to stand out from the crowd after sunset? Light-up accessories and outerwear are the best outfit additions. They’re fantastic conversation starters!

Try a battery-powered light-up belt, a pair of glow-in-the-dark sneakers, or LED glow bracelets.

A few more extravagant light-up accessories guaranteed to turn some heads are this epic shag LED coat, a programmable LED-display backpack, or a glowing fiber-optic cap.

nighttime Coachella performance

Water backpacks are super common at Coachella. These backpacks that have a flexible tube straw are a convenient way to stay hydrated. You won’t have to hold on to a water bottle, and you’ll be able to refill them at the water refill stations.

Plus, you’ll have extra space to pack a few other on-the-go essentials.

Gay Coachella Tips

Security Checks

First-timers at Coachella are usually surprised that there are two security checkpoints. The first is before entering the Coachella campground area, and the second is before entering the actual festival.

If you’re bringing anything suspect into the event, keep it hidden until you’re past both. And of course, never bring anything that could be dangerous to others!

gay traveler at Coachella performance

Nobody Meets Using Grindr

If you think Grindr will help you meet potential new gay friends at Coachella, think again. The cell service is so spotty that communicating on Grindr is nearly impossible.

It’s much easier to be friendly with other gay festivalgoers and meet naturally in person. A little eye contact or a friendly hello can go a long way!

If you do need to use any dating app, send texts, or make a call, the grounds have various Wi-Fi areas where you can count on a signal.

Bring a Bandana

Depending on how much rain the area has received in the weeks leading up to Coachella, the air can be dusty due to little vegetation.

Everyone brings a bandana to tie around their nose and mouth. They’re both stylish and functional!

Wear Comfortable Shoes

With all the dancing, walking between stages, the 30-minute walk in/out of the park, and people potentially stepping on your toes, closed-toed shoes are essential.

You’ll want them to be comfortable too. These colorful sneakers are my go-to for festivals and parties. Make sure to break in any newly purchased footwear ahead of time.

daytime performance at Coachella

Pay Attention to the Evening Forecast

Here in the desert, temperatures fluctuate dramatically between daytime and nighttime. Some days, evening temperatures will be much cooler than others.

Wearing skimpy clothing may be perfect under the sun, but trust me—cool breezy evenings can be uncomfortable.

My advice is to incorporate something layer-able into your outfit. Or you could bring a lightweight packable puffer that densely packs into a tiny bag. If you forget though, space blankets will be available for purchase at the event.

Using Uber at Coachella

Getting an Uber to Coachella is usually pretty easy, but finding one to take home at the end of the night can be difficult.

Uber at Coachella festival

The Coachella festival has a dedicated rideshare pickup and drop-off area and there are a ton of drivers in the area. But as you can imagine with the massive crowds, there will be more demand than supply.

For the best chances of getting a ride, you’ll want to consider leaving a bit earlier than everyone else. Otherwise, plan on waiting a while before getting a confirmed ride.

Alternatively, you can pay for one of the private car services near the festival exit. These will definitely cost you, though. A ride to Palm Desert can run you between $150 and $250.

If at all possible, find a friend to drop you off at the event. There’s a large area called the friends and family lot that’s easy and convenient to reach.

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I hope you have an unforgettable gay Coachella experience!

Need gay vacation ideas? Browse wolfyy’s gay travel guides to destinations around the world.

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