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Thread: Best time to enter the car camping grounds?

  1. #1
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    Question Best time to enter the car camping grounds?

    I've never been to Coachella and decided that car camping was the cheapest alternative and offered me the best first time Coachella experience.

    How bad is the line to get through security and into the grounds on Thursday evening compared to Thursday morning/afternoon?

    Another question: When's the best times to take a shower? Early morning, afternoon or night?

    Also any other tips would be appreciated! Thanks

  2. #2

    Default Re: Best time to enter the car camping grounds?

    Last year my buddies and I drove flew into LAX Wednesday night and drove straight through to Indio. We got to the grounds at about 3:00 AM Thursday morning and we were probably the 5th or 6th car there. They didn't open the gate to get into the waiting area until about 8:00 AM. Once they line up all the cars, security doesn't start checking all the cars till about 9 AM and that can take some time. Earlier the better IMO but if you are traveling with a large group that has more than one car then it doesn't really matter.

  3. #3
    Member artisticcreator's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best time to enter the car camping grounds?

    I know people that have been there early and late. The early ones get searched more and take longer. The later ones get searched fast since security is tired of it and the line is longer so they work faster.

    Personally, I'd go early, nap in line and hope to get a good spot close to the gates.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Best time to enter the car camping grounds?

    Quote Originally Posted by HookUps24JJJ View Post
    Last year my buddies and I drove flew into LAX Wednesday night and drove straight through to Indio. We got to the grounds at about 3:00 AM Thursday morning and we were probably the 5th or 6th car there. They didn't open the gate to get into the waiting area until about 8:00 AM. Once they line up all the cars, security doesn't stacrt cheng all the cars till about 9 AM and that can take some time. Earlier the better IMO but if you are traveling with a large group that has more than one car then it doesn't really matter.
    What lot did you end up camping in?

  5. #5
    Member JoeCthulhu's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best time to enter the car camping grounds?

    Best time to take a shower is when everyone else is in the fest listening to bands; 8-12PM. Shouldn't have to wait long then. You can probably even take a long hot one, and no one will care.
    Even though I look it, I'm not a cop.

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  6. #6

    Default Re: Best time to enter the car camping grounds?

    we have car camping for weekend #2. we were thinking of leaving around Midnight wednesday & arriving around 6-7am thursday morning. are there actually better spots for those who are early thursday? do they put the first wave of campers closer to showers, main entrance? Saw the post about getting searched more if you are some of the first ones. are they more strict on what they will allow?

    what about the late comers who arrive late thurday and early friday... do they get spots that are farthest from the main entrance/showers?

    Love to hear advice from some car camping vets, ive been to many festivals since 2000, but this will be our first year at coachella. Seems like they are a little more strict when it comes to searching cars coming into the campgrounds. Ive been to high sierra, snwmf & never had any security search our car, they just look in to see if there are any kegs/nitrous tanks/dogs, and pretty much let you through.

    i noticed on the FAQ's that it says "one case of beer per person" so is that like a 12, 24 or 30 case? cans obviously. do they have drug dogs or anything crazy like that? Thanks for the feedback.
    Friday - OutKast / The Replacements / The Afghan Whigs / Shlohmo / GOAT / Flatbush Zombies / Glitch Mob / John Spencer / DJ Falcon / The Bots
    Saturday - QOTSA / NAS / CHVRCHES / Temples / Mogwai / Warpaint / DARKSIDE / Ty Segall / Graveyard / Carbon Airways
    Sunday - Beck / Disclosure / Motorhead / Little Dragon / Trombone Shorty / Frank Turner / Bombino / Bad Manners / J. Roddy / Scuba

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  7. #7

    Default Re: Best time to enter the car camping grounds?

    Question to Mr Hookups? So if you where of the first cars to get there....what are the plusses of getting to camp the nearest to the festival gates? And are there any inconveniences?! I've car camped before and to give you an example, we were starting to set up camp on saturday afternoon so we got to stay at 140th something street and it got to be a bit tiring all that freaking walking. It was quite a distance

  8. #8
    Member JoeCthulhu's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best time to enter the car camping grounds?

    Late comers are father from the entrance, but showers are centrally located.

    I've never seen drug dogs on the premises. You get search by security, not cops.

    A case of beer is typically 24 cans. A few more, a few less, I doubt they'll care. 24 beers is a six pack a day if you arrive Thursday. Since you'll only be drinking at the campsite, and for three of those days you'll be in predominently in the venue, it should be enough. If not, buy a few in the venue when you don't want to walk back to your tent, or mooch a few off friends, or bring good stuff to trade for some.
    Even though I look it, I'm not a cop.

    Coachella 10, 12.1, 13.1, 14.2
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Best time to enter the car camping grounds?

    thanks joe, which leads to my next question..

    by me bringing "good stuff" you mean hard liquor right? could i have a single costco sized bottle of vodka or rum? would they say thats excessive?
    Friday - OutKast / The Replacements / The Afghan Whigs / Shlohmo / GOAT / Flatbush Zombies / Glitch Mob / John Spencer / DJ Falcon / The Bots
    Saturday - QOTSA / NAS / CHVRCHES / Temples / Mogwai / Warpaint / DARKSIDE / Ty Segall / Graveyard / Carbon Airways
    Sunday - Beck / Disclosure / Motorhead / Little Dragon / Trombone Shorty / Frank Turner / Bombino / Bad Manners / J. Roddy / Scuba

    Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience ― Mark Twain

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    Default Re: Best time to enter the car camping grounds?

    I've heard that you can bring hard liquior as long as its a plastic bottle. True?
    About how long is the wait if we show up Thursday evening? 1-2 hours?

  11. #11

    Default Re: Best time to enter the car camping grounds?

    False, no hard liquor... but rules are enforced/or not/ depending on who searches. come late and may not notice it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Radiohead View Post
    I've done a lot of things at music festivals in my day. And like most people, sure, I've fingered some butt holes during LCD Soundsystem. No big.

  12. #12
    Member 24hours's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best time to enter the car camping grounds?

    I've camped for the past 5 years.
    No dogs to sniff your stuff, but if you hide 'stuff' in obvious places of course you'll get caught. Nothing glass at all. Liquor is allowed (just gotta be smart about it). Vodka looks like water...maybe you can put that in a water bottle? Whiskey sorta resembles coke....maybe put that in a 2 liter coke bottle? Also my group usually does 30 blocks of beer. Hit up a Total Wine & More or Bevmo for better beer options in bigger quantities.

    My group has always arrived Thursday. The first time we camped we got to Indio/Coachella I'd say around 11pm & got to our camp site by 12 am. There were massive lines, but security was fed up with it by that time. Time flew by because once we got onto the polo fields & waiting in line for security check everyone was drinking beer. Drawback: our camp spot was relatively far & after walking around so much during the actual festival we hated the walk back to our camp spot.

    This past year we got to Indio/Coachella at around 3 pm & didn't get to our camp spot til 5 pm. Our car was searched, our bags removed, security opened all our bags & coolers. Again time wasn't so much of an issue because we were drinking & our excitement, but the time of day (sun/heat) wasn't helping either. Getting there early really helped us out with camp location because we were really close to the festival entrance, breakfast buffet & festival market.

  13. #13
    Member JoeCthulhu's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best time to enter the car camping grounds?

    Quote Originally Posted by StarsAreBurning View Post
    thanks joe, which leads to my next question..

    by me bringing "good stuff" you mean hard liquor right? could i have a single costco sized bottle of vodka or rum? would they say thats excessive?
    Not necessarily. I bring lots of extra food, grill up a few extra brats, and pass them to my neighbors, and they tend to recipricate with beer, and other stuff.

    In 2010, my neighbors camped without a car, in car camping. They said it broke down in NM. They were from NJ. They sold it to pay for bus tix, and took what they could carry, which means; not a lot of food. I ended up feeding all four of those young men all weekend. Plus a fifth dude I found Saturday morning sleeping half under my car. Too bad I'm allergic to pot, cause they would have kept me high all weekend.
    Even though I look it, I'm not a cop.

    Coachella 10, 12.1, 13.1, 14.2
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  14. #14
    Member ELIZA83TH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best time to enter the car camping grounds?

    As early on Thursday as possible… gates open at 9am.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Best time to enter the car camping grounds?

    24hours & Joe thanks again for all the info, will really help me be prepared the right way. Looks like getting there as early as possible is the best way to go if you are smart with hiding your stuff. you said they opened your bags & coolers when they searched. what about putting some things under the spare tire on the back? do they search all of your car & under the seats or do they typically check bags & coolers? sorry for all the questions but its really helping me narrow down my gameplan & give me a good idea of what to expect.
    Friday - OutKast / The Replacements / The Afghan Whigs / Shlohmo / GOAT / Flatbush Zombies / Glitch Mob / John Spencer / DJ Falcon / The Bots
    Saturday - QOTSA / NAS / CHVRCHES / Temples / Mogwai / Warpaint / DARKSIDE / Ty Segall / Graveyard / Carbon Airways
    Sunday - Beck / Disclosure / Motorhead / Little Dragon / Trombone Shorty / Frank Turner / Bombino / Bad Manners / J. Roddy / Scuba

    Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience ― Mark Twain

  16. #16
    Member JoeCthulhu's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best time to enter the car camping grounds?

    There isn't enough consistency in the way they conduct searches either to guarentee any particular hiding place, so what you really want to do is minimize the time they spend searching. Here are my thoughts on how to do that:

    1. The longer the line of cars, the less time they'll spend searching.
    2. The older you, are the less time they'll spend searching.
    3. The less squirelly you look, the less time they'll spend searching.
    4. The more polite you are, the less time they'll spend searching.
    5. If they find one prohibited item, the more time they'll spend searching.
    6. Don't be fucked up upon arriving.

    Upon arriving at the check point, I'd get out of the car and ignore security as they move about your vehicle. Talk to your friends about what a good time your gonna have, who your gonna see, how excited you are... If you're going solo, talk to some of the other folks getting their cars searched. It's never to early to make friends, and they'll likely be camping near you too. Answer any questions security has, and open anything they request, whether it has any prohibited items in it or not. They are watching you to see if you get twitchy as much as searching the vehicle, so don't act like you have a care in the world. The worst they'll do is confiscate any banned items.
    Even though I look it, I'm not a cop.

    Coachella 10, 12.1, 13.1, 14.2
    SXSW 14
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  17. #17

    Default Re: Best time to enter the car camping grounds?

    I have a bit of a predicament:

    I have a flight that gets into LAX at 5 PM on thursday, however, 2 members of our camping foursome don't get in until 11 at night....I assume if we get to Indio at 1 in the morning, we will be spending atrocious amounts of time in line/security....would it be smarter to just try and get there early Friday morning? Last year we got to the festival early Friday and had a pretty brutal walk from camp to the festival, would getting there late late thursday give us a significantly better camping spot? Alternatively, is there an easy way for our friends to get to Indio from LA (so we could start checking in around 7PM?)

    Any advice will be rewarded with love.

  18. #18
    Member dcbell05's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best time to enter the car camping grounds?

    Quote Originally Posted by StarsAreBurning View Post
    what about putting some things under the spare tire on the back? do they search all of your car & under the seats or do they typically check bags & coolers? sorry for all the questions but its really helping me narrow down my gameplan & give me a good idea of what to expect.
    I've seen them open the gas can area, check under the hood, spare tires, etc. I've even seen them have people take the stuff out of their cooler, unwrap sleeping bags, tents, unpack clothes, etc. If you drive a VW bus or look like you have a bunch of drugs, they will search everywhere. Be smart about what you look like and it should be fine. Like Joe said, worse thing is they take it away.

    Be very careful about glass. If they find that, they search more hard core too.

  19. #19
    Member JoeCthulhu's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best time to enter the car camping grounds?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffnlipman View Post
    I have a bit of a predicament:

    I have a flight that gets into LAX at 5 PM on thursday, however, 2 members of our camping foursome don't get in until 11 at night....I assume if we get to Indio at 1 in the morning, we will be spending atrocious amounts of time in line/security....would it be smarter to just try and get there early Friday morning? Last year we got to the festival early Friday and had a pretty brutal walk from camp to the festival, would getting there late late thursday give us a significantly better camping spot? Alternatively, is there an easy way for our friends to get to Indio from LA (so we could start checking in around 7PM?)

    Any advice will be rewarded with love.
    No, 1 AM is preferable to Friday morning if you want a shorter security line. If you want a good night's sleep however, stay in LA and drive out in the morning, but make it the wee hours, unless you don't care about getting into the festival right when it opens.
    Even though I look it, I'm not a cop.

    Coachella 10, 12.1, 13.1, 14.2
    SXSW 14
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  20. #20

    Default Re: Best time to enter the car camping grounds?

    As far as going... definitely as early as possible. Showing up at 1am Friday would be better than showing up the morning of when the lines are awful. You'll probably get a better camping spot too.
    As far as showers go... Just avoid them... The lines suck, they're worse than the showers we have here in my college dorm (and they get pretty nasty). I would recommend just bringing a bunch of body wipes and using them to clean yourself off.
    Last Night Go Hard
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  21. #21

    Default Re: Best time to enter the car camping grounds?

    thanks again Joe & dcbell, appreciate that info. We will be in a rental car & will not be partying prior to entering the campgrounds. With the info you have provided im sure we'll be just fine.
    Friday - OutKast / The Replacements / The Afghan Whigs / Shlohmo / GOAT / Flatbush Zombies / Glitch Mob / John Spencer / DJ Falcon / The Bots
    Saturday - QOTSA / NAS / CHVRCHES / Temples / Mogwai / Warpaint / DARKSIDE / Ty Segall / Graveyard / Carbon Airways
    Sunday - Beck / Disclosure / Motorhead / Little Dragon / Trombone Shorty / Frank Turner / Bombino / Bad Manners / J. Roddy / Scuba

    Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience ― Mark Twain

  22. #22

    Default Re: Best time to enter the car camping grounds?

    Lot 8 believe on "104th Street". Probably 3 or 4 rows from the entrance to the gates.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Best time to enter the car camping grounds?

    We were on 104th street and it was awesome. You're only maybe 50-100 yards away from the entrance. The poop saunas were at the end of out row of cars. Seemed like we had more space than others for some reason. Personally, I prefer being close to the entrance. Some people might complain about the noise from the festival but it didn't bother us one bit. We could have just been lucky with our setup last year though.

    I remember leaving Monday morning and making the trek back to the car entrance and couldn't believe how far back the car camping grounds went. I would have gotten tired of that walk REAL quick.

  24. #24
    Coachella Junkie frozen pilgrim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best time to enter the car camping grounds?

    lot 8 N105 represent

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    Default Re: Best time to enter the car camping grounds?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffnlipman View Post
    I have a bit of a predicament:

    I have a flight that gets into LAX at 5 PM on thursday, however, 2 members of our camping foursome don't get in until 11 at night....I assume if we get to Indio at 1 in the morning, we will be spending atrocious amounts of time in line/security....would it be smarter to just try and get there early Friday morning? Last year we got to the festival early Friday and had a pretty brutal walk from camp to the festival, would getting there late late thursday give us a significantly better camping spot? Alternatively, is there an easy way for our friends to get to Indio from LA (so we could start checking in around 7PM?)

    Any advice will be rewarded with love.
    Check www.zimride.com for your friends to get to Indio and allow you the head start.

  26. #26
    Old Gay Guy gaypalmsprings's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best time to enter the car camping grounds?

    If your friends arrive at LAX at 11 pm, no way you'll make it to Coachella by 1 am. With Love.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Best time to enter the car camping grounds?

    it's not when you enter, it's how you finish

  28. #28

    Default Re: Best time to enter the car camping grounds?

    Quote Originally Posted by lehorne View Post
    it's not when you enter, it's how you finish
    Or where you finish.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Best time to enter the car camping grounds?

    Anyone arrived to camp on Friday, or even Saturday, morning? Considering getting a room for a full night of sleep or two before I get down.
    Quote Originally Posted by PotVsKtl View Post
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  30. #30

    Default Re: Best time to enter the car camping grounds?

    Last 3 years we've arrived for searching between 4-4:30. So far we always end up really close to the festival gate.
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