The lineup for Coachella has been announced and tickets for both weekends of the festival go on sale tomorrow at 11 a.m. PST. LCD Soundsystem, Guns N’ Roses and Calvin Harris have been announced for the headline slots, while hundreds of other acts like Ice Cube, Ellie Goulding, M83, The Kills, Disclosure, Sia, Rancid and the 1975 are performing on the undercard.
If you want to buy tickets to either weekend (April 15-17 and April 22-24), your best bet is to try and purchase tickets during tomorrow’s general onsale at 11 a.m. PST.
Demand for the tickets will be very high and not everyone who tries to buy tickets will be successful. Those who are prepared and know what they want to buy in advance have a much better shot at getting tickets than someone who rolls out of bed at 10:59 a.m. and can’t find their credit card.
Below is our easy-to-read guide to successfully participating in the Coachella onsale. After you go through this guide, I recommend reading over Coachella’s own article on purchasing tickets and familiarizing yourself with the checkout process.
Most importantly, remember this one rule, perhaps the most important of all — ONCE YOU’RE IN THE VIRTUAL WAITING ROOM, DO NOT RESET YOUR BROWSER. We’ll explain this more in-depth in a bit, but trust me on this one. It will just hurt your chances of buying tickets.
Ok, let’s get started…..
Step 1 — Know What You Want to Buy
Ok, first just a little general information about how many tickets are being made available. Last year Coachella reported an attendance over 99,000 people per weekend, for a total of 198,000 tickets sold. That DOES NOT mean 198,000 tickets will go on sale tomorrow.
The cheapest tickets are $399 and they are only available available for the second weekend of Coachella (April 22-24). Cheap GA tickets for the first weekend sold out in a presale that was conducted back in June. I’ll talk about participating in the early-bird special for the 2017 Coachella later, but just know that if you want to buy $399 GA tickets, they will have to be for the second weekend.
You can buy the GA Pass + Shuttle tickets for either weekend for $459 and that includes shuttle service to and from a number of area hotels. You can learn where the shuttles go by clicking here — the shuttle passes are “Any line, Any time” meaning you can get to the festival from any stop. $60 for shuttle transportation for three days is a good deal (you’ll pay that for a one-way cab fare). Even if you don’t know where you’re staying, consider buying a shuttle pass tomorrow.
VIP tickets will also be available — they’re $899 each and give you access to two VIP sections on either side of the venue. If you want to park in the festival’s VIP lot, that’s gonna cost you $150 extra. And if you really want to drop some coin, there’s a number of overnight VIP options that allow you to stay onsite — those packages range from $2,398 for two people all the way up to $5,200 for four. While that price may see high, it’s not a bad a deal when you consider how much a hotel costs.
If you’re planning on camping at Coachella, you’ll need an extra pass for that too. Camping is $99 per spot and you’re allowed one car per spot. It’s $30 to bring a companion car on to the site as well. You don’t need a camping pass to access the camp ground, but you do need a camping pass to secure a spot.
Finally there are a few other add-ons to consider — Coachella now offers a four-course meal “cooked by celebrated Chefs” with two seatings per evening. The cost for the dinner is $225 per person. That’s out of budget for many people, but the dinner does include drinks and gets great reviews from the folks I know who’ve attended.
Pro Tip: Figure out which add-ons you want and know how much it’s going to cost you. And if you’re planning on spending over $1,000, consider notifying your bank in advance. The payments will be processed by Front Gate Tickets in Austin, Texas. If you don’t notify your bank and they reject the charge because they think it might be fraud, then you’re probably going to miss your chance to get tickets
Step 2 – Create a Front Gate Account
Front Gate is the ticketing system used to sell tickets to Coachella. If you’ve never bought tickets from Front Gate, you will need to set up an account. I suggest doing that in advance, it just saves you a few steps during the buying process. Visit this page and click on the SIGN IN tab in the left-hand corner.
Pro Tip: According to the Coachella advisory “Unless you use the same email address to log into your facebook page, you probably should not choose the “login with facebook” option. Doing so will use your facebook email tied to this order, even if you type in a different email to send your receipt to.”
Step 3 – Visit Coachella.com a Couple Minutes Early
If you log into coachella.com a few minutes prior to 11 a.m., you’ll see this page. Log in using the Front Gate account you’ve already created.
Once 11 a.m. strikes, you’ll be prompted with a CAPTCHA bar to prove that you are a human and not a BOT controlled by a ticket scalper.
And from there you will be placed in a virtual waiting room. You’ll know you’re there when you see this screen.
What is a virtual waiting room? It’s essentially an online holding area where Coachella keeps people until they are able to process their payment. Yes, Coachella and its ticket provider Front Gate can process many ticket purchases at once, but they can’t process them all at the same time. The virtual waiting room keeps you in an available position until it’s payment processors are ready to take your money.
There’s a misnomer that virtual waiting rooms have people queue up in order to make their payment — that’s not how it actually works. It’s more like a lottery and you essentially sit in the waiting room until your number is “picked” and you get sent to the checkout page. If you refresh, you might get kicked out the waiting room or worse, miss your chance altogether. SO DON’T REFRESH THE PAGE. JUST CHILL UNTIL ITS YOUR TURN.
Pro Tip: Be very careful about using multiple browsers to try and buy tickets. If the ticket system sees multiple users from the same IP address in the waiting room, it might kick you out, thinking you’re a scalper.
Step 4 – Pay For your tickets
Hopefully you won’t have to wait in the virtual waiting room too long and you will eventually be ushered into the checkout screen. Here you will select which tickets you want to purchase, and select any add-ons you want to include. Remember, there is a two-ticket limit per transaction.
You’ll be served another screen to confirm the quantity of your order, followed by another screen for add-ons, like car camping.
If you do buy car camping, know this — according to Coachella organizers, “You can ONLY add car or tent camping to your order after you have a festival pass (or 2) in your cart.” You can’t buy a camping spot ala carte — you’ve got to have a festival pass to buy a camping pass and your only chance to do that is during check out.
“You can not buy these passes online individually. The choice to add them won’t show up if there are none left at that moment. The festival pass in this order is needed for the camping pass to scan as valid at the event,” according to their site.
Pro Tip: Know in advance if you’re camping. The pass secures your spot, not access to the car campgrounds. Talk to your friends and figure who is going to pay for the camping spot. Don’t wait until checkout to figure this out.
Once you figure out camping and whether or not you also want to buy add-ons like a shuttle pass or poster, you’ll then be asked to enter your address for shipping. Passes will be mailed out in late February/early March. I don’t recommend picking your tickets up at Will Call — it’s offsite and a pain in the ass.
Next you’ll enter your payment info.
And then finally you’ll be asked to confirm your order.
Once you click the Purchase Tickets button, you’ll get a final Thank You where you can share with friends that you just bought tickets.
You will also get a receipt emailed to you. If you do not get an email receipt, check your spam/junk/bulk e-mail folder. If you still don’t see it in a few hours, contact Front Gate Tickets to inquire.
What to do if you don’t get tickets
Maybe you tried to buy tickets during the onsale and didn’t have much success, or maybe you overslept and tried to log in but everything was purchased.
If you really want to go, then you’re going to have to buy tickets from the secondary market — basically someone who has already purchased tickets and is now trying to resell them. There will be plenty of secondary sites offering up Coachella tickets, but the only one I recommend using is StubHub. Why? Because StubHub is the official provider of secondary tickets for AEG, the parent company of Coachella. StubHub does not have an official sponsorship relationship for Coachella, but generally the two companies work well together. And StubHub will guarantee your tickets are good — if you have a problem with your tickets, they’ll generally be able to help you get the issue resolved
VERY IMPORTANT — If you purchase a ticket to Coachella on the secondary market, you WILL NOT be able to buy a camping pass or shuttle pass. StubHub discloses this upfront — sites that don’t make this clear are SHADY and don’t deserve your business.
If you do decide to buy your tickets on Craigslist, BE CAREFUL. A ticket to Coachella is actually a RFID wristband, that scans you in and out of the venue. Watch out for scammers selling fakes.
ALSO IMPORTANT — wait as long as possible to buy tickets. I recommend waiting until at least mid-March. By then, the wristbands will have arrived and most of the early sales will have been completed. The price always drops at this time as brokers begin to assess their left-over inventory.
And, if you know you’re going to attend Coachella in 2017, consider participating in the early bird special later this summer. This the cheapest way to buy tickets…and you can cover the $375 cost with a payment plan that breaks the costs down to a downpayment of $75 and six payments of about $50. It’s a really good deal and allows you to avoid all of the hassle of the crazy onsale.
Good luck and have a happy and safe Coachella 2016.