Coachella is getting closer.
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is an annual event that takes place over two weekends in Indio, a desert city in Riverside County, California. The first weekend covers April 12-14 and the second spans over April 19-21.
Those attending (which last year, was around a quarter of a million people) will be able to enjoy a huge variety of food and drinks, games, giveaways, art installations, a Ferris wheel, vintage markets, DIY art studios, beauty styling studios, and live music across eight stages. You can also camp at the event.
As one of the most popular music festivals in the world, Coachella isn’t ignoring its duty to do its part for the planet. It has launched a range of initiatives to become more environmentally friendly, has ensured to stock up on vegan food and drinks, and to top it off, there are a handful of vegan performers set to rock the Coachella stages this year.
Here’s everything you need to know about all things Coachella and vegan.
The Ultimate Vegan Guide to Coachella 2019
Vegan Artists Performing at Coachella
1. Ariana Grande
Grande will make history at this year’s Coachella, becoming the youngest artist to ever headline the festival. The 25-year-old musician has been vegan since 2013. She has 10 rescue dogs and frequently sports faux fur. Cruelty-free cosmetics brand Lush even made a vegan, glittery bath bomb inspired by her.
2. Jaden Smith
Musician and actor Smith is set to perform at this year’s Coachella festival. The vegan entertainer has promoted plant-based food in the past, raving about how delicious vegan pancakes are and teaming up with vegan food company Impossible Foods and Umami Burger to launch a limited edition menu item called “Jaden’s Impossible Trio.”
In September, Smith was named the “hottest vegan celebrity” by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the largest animal rights organization in the world.
3. Billie Eilish
Seventeen-year-old singer-songwriter Eilish will hit Coachella’s stage this year. The musician transitioned to veganism in 2014. Writing on her blog, she explained that there were “a lot of reasons” for the change, including dairy’s impact on the body and animal welfare. She recently appeared on an episode of “Hot Ones” and dominated the spicy wing challenge whilst eating vegan chicken nuggets.
Whilst not vegan (yet), a handful of Coachella performers are leaning toward a plant-based, cruelty-free lifestyle. Janelle Monáe promoted Chef Ayindè, the “best vegan chef,” according to the performer, and urged her L.A. fans to go and “find him.”
Rapper Wiz Khalifa tried JUST’s vegan egg scramble last year and loved it (there was emotional hugging involved). He’s also hinted to his fans in the past that he’s vegetarian.
Musician Solange wore vegan cowboy-boot-sneakers during a shoot with Dazed magazine in Jamaica. Chvrches frontwoman Lauren Mayberry is vegetarian and rocks vegan TUK boots on stage. The singer of Weezer, Rivers Cuomo, is also a vegetarian, and The 1975’s Matt Healy is currently transitioning to veganism, according to ShortList.
Coachella and the Environment
Coachella hasn’t shied away from its environmental responsibilities. In partnership with Global Inheritance, that’s committed to making positive, eco-friendly changes at Coachella, the music festival has launched multiple initiatives intended to reduce its impact on the planet, though the festival acknowledges, “We know we still got some work to do.”
Coachella is working to reduce its waste and encourage festival-goers to recycle. “While we want you to recycle every day, we’re dubbing Sunday as our official day to sort and collect recyclables in the campgrounds,” the organization writes online. Coachella’s “Waste Gang” will pass out blue compostable waste liners every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to allow people to sort their recyclables. The Waste Gang will come around to collect the bags, or if you bring your bags to its Global Inheritance booth yourself on Sunday, you are in for a chance to win an “exclusive prize.”
That’s not all. For every 10 empty bottles, cups, or cans of trash you bring to the Coachella team, they’ll give you a fresh cold bottle of water. Collecting and bringing in the rubbish could also help you win prizes like t-shirts, totes, refillable bottles, posters, and ferris wheel tickets.
Coachella’s passion for recycling doesn’t stop there. Each year, people are encouraged to submit ideas for creative recycling bin designs. Think: giant donut bins, bins that look like a box of churros, Simpsons-themed trash cans, and bins in basically every color, shape, and pattern you can imagine. It’s not just meant to be eye-catching enough so that people want to recycle; Coachella donates the recycling bins to schools in Mexicali and Tijuana. “Climate Change has no border walls and our best hope is collaboration between all people and all countries,” the festival writes. Schools can also design their own bin that might be featured at next year’s Coachella.
Many festival-goers leave their tents and other belongings behind when they go. Festivals report massive amounts of waste and “avoidable plastic pollution” from this habit that generates tens of thousands of tonnes of waste across the world.
In a bid to minimize the issue, Coachella has set up several donation centers to encourage visitors to leave their unwanted belongings with the organization when they go. “Help us keep the campgrounds pristine by only bringing what you need. Leave no trace. Donate your unwanted goods at our donation centers,” it writes online. The donation centers accept tents, sleeping bags, blankets, lawn chairs, clothes, ice coolers, and non-perishable food items. The collected goods will be donated to the Galilee Center in Coachella Valley which helps people who are underprivileged and disadvantaged.
Coachella has set up an “energy playground” that lets you have fun and be more eco-friendly at the same time. Take a ride on its Energy Seesaw with a pal to charge your phone – it generates kinetic energy and doesn’t cost the planet.
If you carpool to Coachella – something the festival is naming Carpoolchella – you could win some hot prizes, included “Guest” Backstage passes, VIP Coachella Passes for life, merch vouchers, free dinners, ferrish wheel vouchers, and VIP upgrades. Sound good? Grab some friends, jump in the car, and do your part for the planet.
Want to ditch the driving altogether? Coachella is hiring out bikes for its event. They’re $100 for the three or four day weekend (or get a tandem for $225), which includes free locks and keys, high visibility LED head lights and tail lights, helmets, and on-site service and flat tyre repair. For a fee, Coachella will even deliver the bikes to you at your hotel, house, or campground.
Coachella Vegan Food
The food at Coachella is curated by Nic Adler, the producer of Eat Drink Vegan (EDV), a plant-based food and drink festival featuring vegan clothes, cosmetic products, more than 250 animal-free beverages, and a huge array of food. More than 10,000 people attend EDV.
Since Adler is connected to both Coachella and EDV, he always ensures to include vegan food options for the growing number of people ditching animal products and for those who just like good food.
Founder of vegan pop-up dining company PlantBasedPopUp Anna Keeve spoke to LIVEKINDLY about the growing number of vendors plating up meat-free food. “Over the last several years, more and more vegan food companies have been populating the Coachella food lineup. This is good news for the veg-minded consumer, and also an important way to introduce people to the delicious plant-based food that they may not have been seeking,” she said in an email.
We can’t be sure exactly what each vendor will serve at Coachella this year, but here’s a rundown of who will be there and what kind of food they’re famous for.
17 Vendors Serving Vegan Food and Drinks
1. Monty’s Good Burger
Marking Monty’s Good Burger’s first time at Coachella, this fast food king serves only plant-based food. Think beefy burgers, cheesy loaded fries, and vegan shakes. It even makes a vegan burger with four patties and four slices of dairy-free cheese, because why not?
2. Ramen Hood
This ramen hotspot serves up 100 percent vegan food – even its egg is plant-based. At previous Coachella events, it offered ramen or rice bowls and watermelon or mango soft serve, as well as vegan pomme frites.
Head here for vegan Mexican street food. This all-vegan vendor serves Papas a la Bestia, Carne en su jugoand, and Taco al Pastor with plant-based meat made with jackfruit, pineapple, and oyster mushrooms.
Hungry for Mediterranean food? Yours Truly chef Vartan Abgaryan is crafting Mediterranean vegan comfort food like avocado hummus, falafel wraps, and beet and grain bowls.
5. Shake Shack
This American fast casual restaurant chain began as a hot dog cart in 2001. Now it has around 200 locations around the world and will be at this year’s Coachella. Though we can’t be sure what Shake Shack will be bringing to the festival this year, last year, the food chain began selling a beet-based burger called the Veggie Shack, which can be made vegan on request.
6. Van Leeuwen
NYC’s famous ice cream shop will be serving up both dairy and loaded vegan ice creams in fresh cones. In 2017, Van Leeuwen was selling dark chocolate scoops with coconut whipped cream and sprinkles as well as Vegan Planet Earth desserts, made with spirulina, and matcha green tea cake.
7. Lamill Coffee
Get your caffeine kick with a hot cup of coffee from this vendor. At its stores, it serves vegan sweets, too, including vegan peanut butter cookies, plant-based spice apple muffins, and vegan blueberry coffee cake.
This isn’t Sweetfin’s first time at Coachella; the eatery has served up veggie bowls packed with avocado at previous festivals and is set to attend again this year.
9. Ms. Chi
At her restaurant Ms. Chi Café, L.A. chef Shirley Chung serves Chinese-American food, including vegan options for days. We don’t know for sure what Ms. Chi will be bringing to Coachella, but the venue serves vegan dumplings with spicy tofu aioli and pickled cauliflower and vegan mapo tofu.
10. Trejo’s Tacos
This company, which is owned by actor Danny Trejo himself, will be serving vegan empanadas and jackfruit tacos with avocado cream and slaw at this year’s Coachella.
This vendor is sure to quench your thirst. Like the name suggests, it serves drinks with matcha, a find powder made from stone ground tea leaves. The drinks contain caffeine, antioxidants, and L-Theanine, which helps you feel calm. What it’s bringing to Coachella is unknown, but in its stores, MatchaBar offers vegan matcha cupcakes, muffins, and cookie sandwiches, as well as dairy-free drinks like matcha-chai-macadamia nut milk iced lattes.
Konbi, a restaurant in Echo Park, serves Japanese style sandwiches. Its menu features vegan salads with kabocha squash, peas, walnuts, and miso dressing. Diners can enjoy eggplant Katsu, which is just as juicy as its meat options according to the company itself, thanks to overnight marination in burnt onion dashi. It also offers konbi chata, a plant-based Japanese-inspired horchata.
13. Tacos 1986
Those sporting a VIP wristband at Coachella can head over to Tacos 1986. The vendor serves meat but offers vegan options including gluten-free mushroom tacos.
This Korean BBQ joint is typically meat-heavy, but it does offer some vegan options, including vegan bibimbaps with sautéed and seasoned vegetables and spicy tofu.
15. Cha Cha Matcha
Cha Cha is both a store and a product. “We’re proud as hell to serve some of the best matcha on the planet, in the most delicious ways we can think up,” the company writes on its website. In its stores, it serves vegan banana bread muffins and dairy-free matcha lattes with Lucky Charms marshmallows.
16. Word of Mouth
This vegan food truck will be serving up plant-based comfort food in the campgrounds. Think buffalo ranch fries and melt-in-your-mouth cookies.