It's been nearly 25 years since the inaugural Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival happened in October 1999.

Since then, the festival has traveled from the fringes of pop culture to its core — see: Beyoncé's epic "Homecoming" performance in 2018 — inspiring fashion collections, references in popular movies and TV shows and plenty of memes along the way.

As we embark upon the annual April migration of Los Angeles' hipster enclaves to the desert, we've compiled everything you need to know about the long-running festival, with tips and commentary from our expert who has been covering the fest since 2007.

When is Coachella and where is it?

Coachella 2024 happens April 12-14 and 19-21 at the Empire Polo Club at 81-800 Ave. 51 in Indio.

Coachella's country cousin, Stagecoach, takes over the venue April 26-28.

Who is performing at Coachella 2024?

The headliners for Coachella 2024 are Lana Del ReyTyler, the Creator and Doja Cat.

Other big names near the top of the lineup include Peso PlumaJ Balvin and Ice Spice.

For those of you who remember KROQ in the '90s, the lineup also includes a reunion of No Doubt, who haven't performed together since the Kaaboo Festival in San Diego County in 2015, as well as Sublime, fronted by Jakob Nowell — the son of late singer Bradley Nowell — and Blur.

Are there any other Coachella performers I should know about?

There are more than 100 artists on the bill, but one to watch is Hatsune Miku, a virtual star that was supposed to perform at the festival in 2020 before COVID shut everything down.

French DJ Gesaffelstein is back and his 2019 set, in which he wore a costume that made him appear like a partially invisible android, was equally one of the most terrifying and interesting sets I've seen.

Prefer to have some silly costumed ska/punk fun? Check out the masked men of the Aquabats.

When does Coachella release set times?

The only certainty about when set times are released is that there will be conflicts and people will complain about it. Typically, the festival releases the set times a few days before the Friday of the first weekend.

Weekend 2 set times for the main stages and tents are usually very similar, with only the earliest acts swapped out. Sometimes you will see set times shifted by 10 minutes or less.

Is Coachella sold out yet? How do I get tickets to the festival?

Passes for weekend 1 are sold out but weekend 2 passes are available.

Weekend 2 passes are $499 for general admission, $619 for general admission with a shuttle pass and $1,069 for VIP. There are also some higher-end camping packages available that include GA passes for four for $4,196 and VIP passes for $6,476. Those prices don't include fees.

If you still really want to go the first weekend, you can join the official waitlist/exchange. There are also listings on secondary ticket sites that are seemingly going for less than face value for some GA and VIP passes, but watch out for the extra fees.

And if you're going the secondary market route, remember that the passes are wristbands and you will need to activate them. Check the policies with the aftermarket site for how they will guarantee your purchase and make it right if something goes wrong.

I only like the artists playing one day of the fest. Can I buy a one-day pass to Coachella?

Not officially. The last year Coachella sold single-day passes to the public was 2009, when Paul McCartney headlined. Leonard Cohen played too. It was pretty rad.

If you see someone selling a one-day pass on the secondary market, that's a red flag.

What does a VIP pass get you? Will I be on stage?

No, you will not be on stage. VIP passes get you a special entrance. There are also designated VIP sections near the main stage and also in the Rose Garden on the opposite side of the field. You can find more exclusive food and beverage options there.

VIP sections also have more of the nice air-conditioned portable bathroom trailers.

Speaking of that, what are Coachella's bathrooms like?

There are porta-potties around the festival grounds. However, if you walk to the back of nearly every section of the typical banks of plastic portable toilets, you will find air-conditioned trailers with toilets and sinks with running water.

It's also worth checking out the permanent bathrooms Coachella put in years ago. You can find them across from the craft beer barn and they are worth the wait, especially after the sun goes down.

What's new at Coachella this year?

Videos from the festival posted to social media indicate a different festival footprint than in recent years.

Among the changes is that the Sahara Tent will be larger for 2024.

Quasar is a new stage for 2024. It's not a tent, but will be set up for longer DJ sets, according to an Instagram video from Coachella. It will be on the former site of the Sahara Tent. Artists will perform for three to four hours and include Jamie XXRüfüs Du Sol and others.

Coachella generally releases maps of the festival grounds and parking in the days before the festival, so plan ahead and download the app.

How many stages does Coachella have?

In recent years, Coachella has had seven major stages. The main Coachella stage is the largest and is where the headliners play. There's also the open-air Outdoor Theatre. The Gobi, Mojave and Sahara tents have traditionally been open on the sides and have a mix of genres. The Sahara Tent has the largest production outside of the main stage and is best known for being an EDM haven, but has also hosted other big acts, such as Blink-182 in 2023. The Yuma Tent traditionally focuses on house music. The Sonora Tent tends to be a nod to Goldenvoice's roots as a punk promoter and it's where you'll find a rock club vibe and bands with guitars. Sonora and Yuma are air-conditioned.

Coachella announced a new stage for 2024, Quasar, which will feature DJ sets that run at least three hours.

Beyond those stages, there's the Do Lab, which is almost a festival within itself. The stage not only has notable up-and-coming DJs, but there are always well-known surprise guests who drop by. Among the acts already announced this yearare Body Hi by Alesso and a DJ set from Channel Tres.

Similarly, the Heineken House is a stage on the grounds produced by the festival's beer sponsor. This year's lineup includes sets from T-Pain, Fat Joe and Lupe Fiasco, among others. During the years it has been an enclosed space, the line gets crazy fast, so plan accordingly if you want to see a specific set.

What's the difference between the two weekends of Coachella?

The most visible change is the grass. Weekend 1 has lush lawns that get trampled by the hordes of music fans wandering around. It's pretty much dirt for the encore.

Sometimes there are different special guests who show up with performers and the first weekend typically gets a couple more.

Some stages have a significantly different lineup between weekends, including the Do Lab and the Heineken House. The new Quasar stage also has a different lineup for each weekend.

The first weekend is also the staging ground for more parties and activations outside of the festival, which means more influencer types.

What are the Coachella-related parties and events that don't happen on the festival grounds and how do I get into them?

There's an entire party ecosystem that exists outside of Coachella's gates. Many of the happenings are invite-only, but there are some that you can access without being an influencer, celeb or someone who knows someone.

The most notable series of events is put on by Goldenvoice, the promoter of Coachella. Goldenvoice Surf Club is a new dayside series, replacing the former Day Club events, and will be at the Palm Springs Surf Club. There are performances April 13 and 14 and April 20 and 21. Among the highlights are DJ sets from Bicep, Jungle and Neil Frances. See the lineup and buy passes.

Framework will hold its late-night dance parties April 12-14 at a hangar at the Thermal airport. Highlights include Dom Dolla, Gorgon City and John Summit. You can buy passes for individual nights or for all three.

As far as free events go, art sale platform Cohart is putting on Paper Playground April 11 with Armani White and DJ Ruckus, and you can get in with a RSVP.

The Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs will bring back its popular Desert Gold series with events happening April 11-14 and April 18-21. The good news is that the events are free as long as you RSVP, but they are subject to capacity limits.

What will the weather be like at Coachella?

It could be blistering hot. It could be mild but then a windstorm will come along and make you wear your sunglasses at night. One day, it actually started raining for a little bit.

As of April 4, the forecast is predicting the low 90s for Thursday (when campers can arrive) and Friday of weekend 1, with temperatures going down to the mid to upper 80s on Saturday and Sunday and lots of sun during the days.

Cooler temps are forecast for Weekend 2, with highs being in the mid-to-upper 80s on Thursday and Friday, and dipping upper 70s and low 80s on Saturday and Sunday.

However, there are still many days to go until the festival, so that forecast will likely change. Either way, you can't go wrong throwing a sweatshirt into your backpack for the cooler nights, especially if the winds kick up.

How do you get to Coachella?

Goldenvoice rolled back plans to require multiple festivalgoers in a car for free day parking — if you carpool you do have a chance to snag Coachella VIP passes — but if you want a day parking spot, plan to get to the venue early. Traffic can get gnarly as early as 3 p.m. and last year people were directed to off-site parking by the late afternoon.

There's a shuttle pass that departs from multiple locations around the Coachella Valley for $140, plus fees.

You can take a rideshare to the festival, but every year I hear horror stories about the lines at the end of the night, so be prepared.

If you don't want to mess with traveling, there are still options for camping at Coachella. Tent camping is sold out for both weekends and only waitlist spots are available, but you can still purchase car camping passes for either weekend for $149, plus fees.

What can I bring in to Coachella? What is Coachella's bag policy?

There's a whole list of what you can and can't bring in to the festival.

You can bring a bag up to the size of a medium backpack into the fest 18"x13"x8.5" and it does not have to be clear.

Beware that if you're bringing sunscreen, and you absolutely should, they won't let you in with the aerosol spray.

What should I eat at Coachella?

Danielle Dorsey from our Food team has a rundown of all the notable food additions for Coachella 2024.

Among the new options at the fest are David Kuo's Fatty Mart, Pies and Lows by Food Network personality Aaron May, Chris N Eddy's, Mano Po and Goat Mafia.

If you want to get fancy, the seated Outstanding in the Field dinners are back for 2024 with well-known chefs. Expect to pay an additional $350 per person for a dinner, plus fees.

Food can get pretty expensive inside the venue so if you're staying in and around the western end of the Coachella Valley and would rather splurge on a good meal outside of the gates, check out Bill Addison's latest guide for eats and drinks around Palm Springs.

What are your best Coachella tips?

Dehydration is serious business. Drink water. And then drink some more. I always keep water in my car after the long dusty walk back to the parking lot at night. Freeze a couple of bottles and throw them in a cooler in your car before you head out for the day and they'll be nice and cool when you leave.

Invest in a good hat. Unless you're one of those people who doesn't roll into Coachella until 6 p.m. or so, the overhead sun is hot and, depending on who you want to watch, you may not be in the shade.

While cell service has gotten better over the years, it can still get spotty during popular times. Time-stamp texts to friends and have meeting points and times set in advance. The numbered and lettered speaker columns near the main stage are always a good option.

Even before COVID, a good mask would help save your lungs from the Coachella crud, especially on the long, dusty walks to and from the parking lot.

If you're staying until Monday, plan to leave by 9 a.m. or after 5 p.m. The Coachella traffic nightmare is real.

This all sounds like a lot. Is there a way I can watch Coachella from home?

Coachella will stream performances from both weekends on YouTube.

There are multiple channels to choose from and a teaser video says fans at home will be able to watch up to four stages live.

Which artists will be streamed each weekend will be announced closer to the show.

And if you're not going, follow along with complete Coachella coverage from The Times and on the latimes_entertainment Instagram.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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