One of the problems with Stagecoach and Coachella is getting to the actual festival. Other music festivals such as Lollapalooza, Outside Lands or Austin City Limits are located either within or directly next to the downtown area of their host cities. This makes getting to those festivals fairly easy. Stagecoach and Coachella both occur at Empire Polo Grounds in Indio, CA, which is far from anything resembling a city. If you’ve never been Indio, CA has a population of about 83,000 people. Coachella in one weekend alone attracts more people than this. Thus when booking accommodations often you have to spread out to areas beyond just Indio to areas like Palm Desert, Indian Wells or Palm Springs. The problem is these areas are up to a 45-minute drive then into the festival. Luckily, Coachella and Stagecoach both offer a shuttle that can get you to the festival no problem.
The shuttle pass for Coachella is $75 on top of your three-day general admission pass. The shuttle pass for Stagecoach is also $75 on top of the three day general admission pass. There are no additional taxes or fees, $75 is the final price.
This sort of depends on where you stay. If you are close to Indio and the festival grounds you can either walk or ride a bike. A lot of people do ride bikes and I have friends who swear by it every year. There is plenty of bike parking along the fence as you enter Coachella or Stagecoach - just remember where you locked your bike up! If you are close enough to the Polo Grounds you can definitely bike or walk to Coachella / Stagecoach, and it would probably be my suggestion that you just go this route.
The problem is most people aren’t that close to the festival. House and hotel prices skyrocket for Coachella with most hotels in the Indio, CA area being over $500 during Coachella weekend. If you have a large group to split the costs you can get a house pretty close to Coachella, but if you are going with only a couple of people it's tough to find something reasonable in Indio. Because of this a lot of people flock to the surrounding areas where it is cheaper. Most of these areas (Palm Springs, Indian Wells, etc) are too far to bike to Coachella or Stagecoach. So if you don’t bike, and don’t want to take the shuttle, you have limited options. You could drive to the festival as there is parking located at both Coachella and Stagecoach. The problem here is usually finding a designated driver, but if you have a Sober Susan in your group who is willing to drive you can definitely do this. Another option is ridesharing companies such as Uber or Lyft. Just be ready for that massive peak time surcharge and a long wait at the end of the festival. So if neither ridesharing nor driving work for you, you are going to need the shuttle pass.
This is an area where the shuttles do vary between the two festivals. The Stagecoach shuttle has fewer stops than the Coachella shuttle, so be sure to use the appropriate map for the festival you are attending. First we list the stops for the Coachella shuttle.
The map below shows you the shuttle stops for Coachella. For Coachella there are more stops spread throughout all of the areas. For example, Palm Springs has the same Renaissance stop as Stagecoach, but also a stop at the Riviera and Westin Palm Springs. In general there are just more stops for Coachella. Again, be sure to figure out how far your accommodations are from the Coachella shuttle before you book!
We also provide the actual list of Coachella shuttle stops below. In general Coachella does a nice job of spreading the stops all over the region, usually with shuttle stops located near hottle hubs where there are many hotels clustered together. You should be able to find one that suits you regardless of where you stay. Still, my biggest piece of advice is to check this list and the map above BEFORE you book accommodations. Make sure getting to Coachella daily will be easy and getting to a shuttle stop won't be too much of a pain. In general we always stay within walking distance to a shuttle stop - it just makes it easy at the end of the night after a long day at Coachella. The last thing I want to do when I get off the shuttle at 3:00 a.m. is worry about now catching an Uber the rest of the way.
The image above shows you where the shuttle stops for Stagecoach. The locations are similarly spread throughout the entire area so there should be an option for you. For example, if you stay in Palm Springs the Renaissance Palm Springs is fairly centrally located and just a 10 minute walk from downtown Palm Springs. The shuttle basically has one stop at least in all of the major areas such as Palm Springs, Palm Desert, La Quinta and Indian Wells. Just be sure to Google how far the hotel or house you are looking at is from the shuttle pickup. It’s going to be pretty miserable to walk 25 minutes to the shuttle in the 105 degree heat, or it could take awhile to get an Uber to your shuttle.
The shuttle to Coachella begins running at 11 a.m. and continues to run until 60 minutes after the last music act finishes.
The shuttle to Stagecoach shuttle runs to Stagecoach from its origin starting at 11 a.m. and buses continue to head to Stagecoach until 8 p.m. The last bus will return from Stagecoach 60 minutes after the last music act.
The buses run on a continuous loop. That is, all day the bus will go back and forth between its origin pickup and Coachella or Stagecoach. It does not have a specific schedule with pickup times. If you are ready to head to Coachella or Stagecoach just go to the bus pickup and there will likely be a bus already there. The same follows when you want to head home from the festival.
Absolutely, I have seen full bottles of liquor and 30 packs brought on the bus. Security and staff working the bus are awesome and seem to legitimately want you to just have a good time so drinking and partying on the shuttle is not a problem at all. Just be respectful and throw away your garbage at the end of the ride and you should be good to party.
Yes, you can bring snacks or whatever you want for sustenance onto the bus.
The answer to this question used to be yes, but now it is a maybe. In 2017 the Coachella shuttles were pretty much 50/50 whether or not they would have a bathroom on board. It really depends on what bus you get on; you can always check and wait for the next bus if you really wanted to. There are always bathrooms located right by the bus pickups, so you can use the facilities right before boarding and exiting the shuttle. Depending on where you are staying the shuttle ride for Coachella / Stagecoach could be an hour+ so I recommend going to the facilities just before boarding the shuttle.
Based on three years of riding the shuttle here is what I have experiences. Going to Coachella or Stagecoach there is never a wait. I don't think I've ever waited moret than 5 minutes to get on a bus. Usually there is a bus waiting for you to board and you literally walk right onto the bus. Going to the festivals in fantastic.
Leaving Coachella or Stagecoach really depends on when you leave. If you leave before the headliner lets out you will have no problem. In 2017 I left half way through Lady Gaga's set and walked right onto a bus and was on my merry way home. The night we stayed for Radiohead or have stayed for other headliners has generally been a disaster. There is a long line to board the shuttles as there is a mass exodus of the crowd after a headliner lets out. Thus this is my advice: if you don't love the headliner then leave at their encore or about 20 minutes before they wrap up. If you do love the headliner and want to stay for the whole show either creep towards the back so you can quickly exit before they finish or stick around for awhile after they're done. If you do the prior you can beat the crowd to the shuttle and get out of there. If you do the latter and hang around (get some food or see another show) you can go after the huge rush.When we have gotten stuck in the crowd we have waited up to an hour in line to board a shuttle. This is the only time I have found the Coachella or Stagecoach shuttles inefficient.
You just need to flash them your shuttle card as you board. Don't lose these, the festivals basically claim to treat these as cash. Maybe someone running the shuttle will be nice and let you board, but I wouldn't want to bank on it.
Unless you can walk or bike to the festival I say its worth it. Its nice to not have to worry about parking or traffic – you just hop on and off the bus and head on your merry way. The buses get special routes so they don’t hit as much traffic heading there, but it is especially nice on the way out after a long day. I know it’s an extra $75 on top of what is already an expensive weekend, but I ultimately think the passes are worth it.
Be sure to pack your shuttle pass with you when you head to Stagecoach or Coachella! As I have mentioned, these are treated as cash and if you lose them you are screwed. For Coachella 2017 we remembered we left our shuttle passes at home (a 2.5+ hour drive each way) at 11:00 p.m. the night before Coachella. The only option we had was to drive home and get them, which royally sucked. Be smarter than me - triple check that you packed the passes with you!