Coachella's Best Parties

A road map to the best festival parties, and how to get in (or not)!

But the real action comes at night, when the barn house gets converted into a neon-drenched club swirling with projections and a round of post-Coachella performances that start at midnight and end when the sun comes up. The secret party has gone a long way to protect its exclusivity by not revealing the address to the general public, but should you be one of the lucky ones who find their way inside, you'll understand why it sometimes takes a village to raise a proper Coachella party. At a secret village in Indio—look for the streams of action-sports-esque folks; April 12-14. Invite only.


Sure, we love to watch paid, half-naked models strut around a pool as much as anyone. But when it comes down to it, it's far more fulfilling to gawk at talented people than beautiful ones (of course, there are plenty of musicians who fit into both categories). For the true music fan, a party such as the one going on at the Sapporo House is a gold mine of low-key stargazing. Anchored by Boston-based Internet-radio station WFNX and Japanese beer brand Sapporo, this two-day party on the first weekend will boast a sturdy stream of acoustic sets from Coachella artists who happen to pop by and pick up a guitar. And trust us, they will do so in droves. Last year, the party drew a total of 26 Coachella acts, including Foster the People, the Hives, Passion Pit and Neon Trees. Before that, even Mumford and Sons stopped by to show their loyalty to a station that was one of the first to play cuts from their 2010 debut album. Invited guests are treated to a litany of on-air interviews between the bands and the radio station, as well as a two- to three-song set. This year, the party moves from its original location in the PGA neighborhood in La Quinta to a bigger pad in Indio that's just 6 miles from the fest. If grabbing a beer and picking up a casual conversation with a band such as Manchester Orchestra or the Black Keys sounds like your idea of a party, then you've got to find a way to get into this. At a private mansion, Indio—look for extra-hipstery hipsters; April 12-13. Invite only.

At the Mirage
At the Mirage
At the Ace Hotel
At the Ace Hotel


This year, the 11-day hipster bacchanal at the Ace Hotel celebrates its wooden anniversary. Coming up on five year's worth of memories drenched in booze, pool water and Coppertone, this year's stack of events sounds more than promising, starting with a cavalcade of live bands and DJ nights sponsored by Third Man and Warped Records. Among the highlights will be a return performance from Flying Lotus, who took over the sun-kissed commune last year alongside fellow deck masters Gaslamp Killer and Thom Yorke (yes, it seems so long ago that we discovered the lead singer of Radiohead had a thing for crate-digging and beat-making). FlyLo is expected to take the stage with DJ Day during a special edition of dance club ¡Reunión! Plus, there will be more deft DJ performances from KCRW's Jeremy Sole, Benji B and the pop-up version of LA hip-hop club the Do Over (complete with finger-licking barbecue and West Coast hip-hop classics). All nighttime events in the Amigo Room are free and 21-plus, while all Desert Gold pool parties are free and open to all ages. If they get to capacity, the events might be closed off (hotel guests will not be turned away), but be sure to plan your Coachella excursions properly so as to not be left standing outside with your porkpie hat, aviator glasses and neon swimwear. At the Ace Hotel, 701 E. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs; April 12-21. All events are free.

6. MIRAGE at volt valley

It's one thing to go to a raging day party and then stop in at Coachella, but imagine being able to be at that raging party while you're watching the action at Coachella . . . from a hot-air balloon! It's the one perk of the Mirage party (formerly called the Oasis Pool Party) that just might make this the best auxiliary event in Indio. Located at a super-secret mansion in the unincorporated community of Vista Santa Rosa, just five blocks from the festival, the Mirage party treats invited guests to balloon rides that oversee all of the loud, colorful half-nakedness going down. Of course, that's not the only reason tastemakers, music-industry big-wigs and Coachella artists flock to this event hosted by such sponsors as Chevy Volt, Bagatelle Beach, Red Bull and Vevo. Erecting a poolside lounge on a lush, 10-acre property, Mirage will satisfy those looking for an action-adventure escape, a royal pig-out session and a glossy, high-end day-club experience. As if the Patrón-sponsored balloon ride weren't enough, picture a zip line ride over a giant lake, with a shiny new Chevy Volt floating on an island in the middle. Add a full roster of poolside DJs, gourmet-food vendors and the quick stumble to Coachella, and you've got yourself one of the best bashes of the bunch. At a private residence in Vista Santa Rosa—look for the balloon! April 12-13. Invite only.

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