Desert Trip Festival: Everything You Need to Know Before Heading to the Desert

Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones
Brian Rasic/WireImage

Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones performs at Estadio Monumental on March 6, 2016 in Lima, Peru. 

With weekend one of the much-anticipated Desert Trip festival (including acts like The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and The Who) in Indio, California, just around the corner, here are all the tips and tricks you need to know before heading to the desert.

What are the RFID wristbands and why are they important?

Music festivals like Coachella ditched paper tickets long ago, and Desert Trip is no exception. Those who have gone to Coachella may be familiar with this technology. The RFID-encrypted wristband will be scanned upon entry of the event and the one-mile perimeter of the venue. The wristband must be worn on your right wrist for all three days (four if you camp on Thursday) and it must be activated before arrival through the Desert Trip website. Activation gives attendees enhanced customer services. Ins-an-outs are allowed.


Free day parking is available Friday-Sunday from noon to 1 a.m. of each weekend to those with wristbands. VIP parking for weekend one is now sold out, but weekend two still has passes available for $150 plus fees. There is no overnight parking allowed for either option.

For those who choose to opt out of driving, a shuttle service is available to and from the venue each day. From 1:30 to 10 p.m., the service operates within walking distance of a number of hotels. Outbound shuttles depart Desert Trip until 60 minutes after the music ends.

For an extra $25, festivalgoers can upgrade to the Any Line, Anytime shuttle passes that would give them access to over 20 stops throughout the Coachella Valley.

There is also a designated Uber pickup/drop-off area.

Plan to leave early. It is advised to give yourself a full eight hours to get from Los Angeles to your seat, for instance.

You Can Always Get What You Want: Desert Trip Puts Additional Passes Up For Sale


Those who purchased the Culinary Experience can indulge in unlimited food offered by the vendors. Fifteen top regional and national restaurants are expected to be at the venue to give attendees the access to a world-class gathering of the country’s finest food. If you did not purchase the experience, over 100 food and beverage vendors will be on site to offer “concert classics.” Food options for those with special diets are available.

Inside Desert Trip's Plan to Deliver Culinary Experiences for All Those Hungry (and Well-Heeled) Festival Goers

Other activities

For those who want to step away from the performances, free activities like an arcade, morning yoga and a beauty bar will be set up. Other amenities include a coffee shop with free WiFi, massages, arts and crafts and late-night DJs and dancing.

The Desert Trip Stereoscopic 3D Viewer

One unexpected detail is the event giving attendees a blast to the past by introducing the Desert Trip Stereoscopic 3D Viewer. With the first Stereoscopic 3D dating back to the 1939 World’s Fair, attendees that grew up with the device will be pleased to see Desert Trip incorporate it in a unique way. Disc One features the festival’s artists “like you’ve never seen them before,” while Disc Two offers a sneak peek of the sites in the desert.


Attendees are encouraged to download the Desert Trip mobile app (available on iOS and Android) to keep up to date on breaking information, access up-to-date maps and to have the ability to share their exact location with others.

Other tips

Staying hydrated is key. With temperatures for weekend one expected to be in the mid- to high 90s, experts suggest to drink one bottle of water per hour under the sun. Bottled water will be sold for only $2 throughout the site and campgrounds. Refill stations, general stores and locksmiths are also on site.

It is also advised to not rely on cell phones. Plan a physical meeting spot if you are with others and include the time in all of the text messages that you send because delivery delays can occur. Portable phone chargers are encouraged if you don’t bring your own phone cable for the on-site charging stations.

Apple Pay and Android Pay are available along with ATMs being located throughout the venue.