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Coachella, the music extravaganza synonymous with desert, art and all things bohemian (including, yes, flower crowns), kicked off the summer festival season last week. We were there – sans botanical tiara – to take it all in, and managed to score a coveted ‘guest’ wristband (contrary to what you’d think, a guest ticket is even more desirable than a VIP pass).

Come along with us to the cacti-fringed countryside just outside of Palm Springs, California and let us take you behind the white fences, where a-listers such as Katy Perry, Kendall Jenner and Rihanna sip cocktails and snap selfies in their couture festival fashions.

Photos from Coachella music festival

Left: At Coachella, a golden ticket takes the form of a neon-green wristband – it’s by far the best accessory you can have come April in southern California.

Right: For most, entry and exit from the festival grounds is an exhaustive trek. But for artists and guests, there’s a private entrance that makes getting the party started a quick and hassle-free process. Once you’re in, you have access to the Artist Compound – a tropical oasis directly behind the main stage with open bars and grassy pathways that connect to each band’s trailer.

Avalon Palm Springs hotel, Palm Springs, California

If you’re up for the challenge there is on-site camping at Coachella (but desert temps make sleeping in virtually impossible). Additionally, there are yurts and luxe glamping-style tents on the property; however, when that midday sun hits, having access to a pool is practically priceless. Fortunately, Palm Springs is just half an hour away from the concert grounds and there you can find boutique hotels such as the Avalon Palm Springs (above) and L’Horizon Resort & Spa.

Insider photos from Coachella music festival

Left: Let’s face it, shoving your way through thousands of people just to catch a glimpse of your favourite band is a less-than-ideal experience. That’s why access to the barrier-lined private-viewing areas located at the front of each stage may be the best perk of guest access.

Right: This isn’t just a mirage. There’s actually a shaded lake (complete with faux giraffes) in the guest/VIP area – it offers sweet relief from the sun.

Backstage photos from Coachella music festival

No matter what kind of ticket you have, there’s nothing like seeing the stage lights go up when the sun goes down over Coachella Valley.

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