7 Coachella Alternatives—No Tickets (or Flower Crowns) Needed

Free and cheap happenings during and around the popular music festival

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This year, general admission tickets to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival sold out in a record-breaking 40 minutes for a whopping $375 a pop. So, in order to get tickets, you had to be one of the lucky buyers willing to shell out the cash to see Drake, Jack White and AC/DC.

Meaning, there’s a good chance you won’t be one of the thousands of flower-crown wearing folks headed to the annual blowout. Which, between us, isn’t the worst thing in the world.

However, if you are still heartbroken over the loss, we have good news. You don’t need a ticket to party like a rock star and sway like a hipster during the two April weeks Coachella covers. While throngs of festival-goers are stuck in Indio traffic, head over to the desert oasis of Palm Springs between April 9 and19 for fun alternatives like sun-drenched pool parties and late-night concerts under a starry desert sky.

LED Day Club
Days are hot in the desert, so ditch the clothes and don your swimsuit for the LED Day Club pool parties at Hilton Palm Springs (pictured above). Music promoters LED and Goldenvoice (Coachella’s promoter) partner to present top-shelf DJs for these relatively intimate dance marathons. April 9-12 features DJ sets from Chromeo, Odesza and Flosstradamus, and April 16-19 include Chvrches, Porter Robinson, Skrillex and friends, and DJ Snake. Check your self-consciousness at the door and prepare for a sweltering, sweaty time. Tickets are available as four-day passes or for individual parties. Prices range from $15 to $125. Must be 21+ to attend.

Neon Circus
Remember the carnivals of your youth? Empty dirt lots transformed into places of wonder, rides bloomed overnight and the evening felt loaded with potential. That same essence of carefree surprise has been distilled into Neon Circus, a playful, all-night party held at an old airport in the middle of the desert. Last year, DJs like Steve Aoki and Danny Masterson played for glow stick wearing, photo booth-hogging, funnel cake-devouring carnies, and you can expect the same level of excitement this year. Follow Neon Carnival on Facebook for updates on how to RSVP to this free event.

Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace
A scenic drive will take you into the high desert to Pioneertown, home of Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace. Part biker bar, part cowboy hangout, Pappy’s is located amid Joshua trees on an 1940s western movie set and boasts an old-timey soundstage. This years’ schedule includes performances by Caribou, Jenny Lewis, War on Drugs and Jamie XX/Jon Hopkins.

If the third annual Tachevah is anything like the previous two, Palm Springs is in store for one hell of a block party. This open-air celebration of music, co-produced by Goldenvoice, takes place outside the Spa Resort Casino in downtown Palm Springs. The lineup features a slew of emerging bands leading up to one heavy-hitting headliner, and is a family-friendly affair that attracts 10,000 revelers. This year’s headliner has not yet been announced, but previous years have seen Fitz and the Tantrums and Passion Pit. The event occurs April 15 and is free.

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