Glad to know that after almost 5 years, this is still the go-to thread for this topic! The camping experience may have changed since this was started, but the essentials stay the same.
I may not be a huge talker on these boards, but I'm no Coachella noob, so I present to you my (Un)Official Ultimate Coachella Camper's Survival Kit!!!!
Coppertone Sport Continuous spray 50spf - for all but your face, it's also refreshingly cool! Doesn't have to be Coppertone, you can get the really fancy Neutrogena stuff but it's more expensive, but DEFINITELY the spray stuff!
Neutrogena UltraSheer Dry Touch with helioplex - for your facial area, ears, neck and shoulders included. (Don't skimp on this one, it's oil free and the best stuff out there in my ghostly white skinned opinion)
Sunglasses - to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays and brightness from the hot desert sun.
Bucket hat - better than a cap, it's light and 360 degree shade around your head.
Cortizone 10 - trust me on this one...
Benadryl - I myself am allergic to SOMETHING at Coachella and my hands always break out in hives for some reason, Benadryl fixes that right up and is good to keep with you just in case.
Advil - or your pain reliever of choice, lots of walking around in the heat = foot aches and/or headaches.
Band-Aids - Blisters, cuts, etc. The fabric ones are the best because they stay on if you sweat.
Nail clippers - not just for nails, has many uses, make sure it has that little pokey thing too.
Toilet Paper - you'll thank me, if you want you can bring seat covers too.
Flashlight(s)/Lantern(s) - to light up camp and allow you to see things. Just as useful in the fest as the campground, a mini-mag is your best friend, keep it with you at all times after sunset.
Purell - Germs, people!
Wet Ones - quick "shower" if you don't want to get up early or stand in the shower line.
"Don't forget to bring a towel!" - Seriously, for excess sweat and general cleanliness. Also a smaller towel is GREAT for soaking in water and putting around the back of your neck. It feels good!
Looks like Towelie already remembered the next item on this list so I'll skip it.
Cash - for spending on food/merch/whatever else isn't free.
Water bottles + big 'ole jugs - DUH! We're ganna be in the DESERT people! Can't have enough of this stuff.
Red Bull - or your energy drink of choice because good luck finding decent coffee. EDIT: there is in fact good coffee, but it's a bit pricey.
SNACKS! - cheaper than buying food there, only bring NON-PERISHABLES!
A digital watch - if you don't have one and your phone dies, you don't want to miss any set times! (Also bring your cell phone charger.)
A good attitude - for yourself and the sanity of those around you.
Last but CERTAINLY not least - YOUR F'n TICKETS! ... and/or wristbands ... DON'T FORGET THEM!
Note I didn't put "tent" or "sleeping bag" or "air mattress" or "canopy"... those are givens... and "acid, shrooms and booze" and the like aren't really "survival" kit material, those are just fun ad-ons if you wish. Not that I condone such action >_> ...
A QUICK NOTE ABOUT COOKING:
This is taken straight from the source:
--Being prepared = more fun.The use of a outdoor cooking appliance is only permitted in the Car Camping and RV Camping areas. Cooking in the Tent Camping area is not permitted. The following are the requirements for the use of a outdoor cooking appliance:
1. All cooking appliances shall bear a certification or listing from a nationally recognized testing or certification organization.
2. Cooking appliances that only utilize propane as the fuel source shall be permitted. No wood, charcoal, flammable/combustible liquid cooking appliances permitted.
3. One cooking appliance per camp site shall be permitted.
4. Maximum amount of propane per campsite shall not exceed 20 pounds or 48 pounds of water capacity.
5. A minimum of 3 feet of clearance shall be maintained at all times while the cooking appliance is in use. No combustible material shall be within 3 feet of the cooking appliance.
6. Cooking appliances shall only be used during the hours of 7:00 am to 2:00 am PST.
7. Cooking appliances, when in use, shall not be left unattended.
Rules & Safety Tips shall be posted at each camping site and included as a handout to all campers.