If you’re one of the many people who didn’t rush to drain a bank account for Coachella tickets this year, you’re in luck. The next best thing (or for many reasons, even better) is the plethora of free, celeb-packed satellite parties happening around the California desert. Sadly, not everyone is on one of the tightly guarded lists, or is a perennial party It-Girl who passes through bouncers like a ghost through fog. But this year we’re risking our necks and spilling some tricks of the party-crashing trade. By no means are these all the tips you need, or a guaranteed entry, but it’s a good starting off point. Use your street smarts; you can thank us later.
NOTE: Revealing secrets automatically puts an expiration date on them, so be sure to use them as soon as you can!
Here’s some tried-and-true guerrilla party tactics that can get you past security, into the open bar, out with a killer swag bag, and hopefully with a babe’s phone number in hand.
1. Look and Act the Part
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You belong to this party. You are someone special, powerful, beautiful, well-known and well-heeled. Doesn’t the door person know who you think you are? It may be a “duh” tip, but giving in to delusions of celeb-dom is a key tactic for crashing any party. Security and door people can smell out a nobody like a three-headed dog guarding the gates of Hell, so give off the most elitist vibe you can — and be sure to dress the part.
This works best with parties that don’t have a hard RSVP list where you can waltz to the front of the line. Also good for if you get caught sneaking in through a service entrance, or emerging from bushes after hopping a wall. I know an entire group of people who waltzed in the back way of a massive T-Mobile party where The Strokes were playing. They didn’t get a second glance.
Like everything else in life: Confidence is key. But just in case, always be ready with a believable lie, a relevant name to drop (take from the party flier), and have more girls than guys in your crew.
2. Scour Social Media
One of the easiest ways party planners keep the riffraff like us out of exclusive parties is to withhold the location from everyone until the night of. The address is then emailed just a few hours before the doors open to the slim list of confirmed RSVPs. But thanks to social media and people’s predictable egos, someone is bound to tweet or Instagram where the event is, or even post a location tag when they arrive.
Search keywords and hashtags for the party you’re looking for starting an hour or two before it starts. Keep tabs on people who are bragging about going. If you’re lucky, people will post photos of the entrance, of their wristbands, and give vital information about the door situation. If that happens you’ll know exactly where you’re going, what you need to get in, and what to expect.
Social media is an indispensable asset to party-crashing, so use it wisely.
3. Follow The Leader
Coachella parties are nothing if not hectic: People are crowding the door, party photographers everywhere, girls trying to balance on sand in stilettos — complete desert anarchy. But if you’re rolling solo, this annoying, soul-crushing situation can sometimes work to your advantage.
Promoters, PR reps, DJs, or what have you will frequently appear at the door asking the bouncer to let in groups of friends. In the hustle of pushing through, it’s easy to just get taken in with their crew. Hopefully the person requesting their entrance won’t yell, “these people only!” and stick their hand in your face. The key is to not hesitate and be towards the back of the group so your new VIP friends don’t catch you subtly crowd surfing your way in.
4. The Wristband Kit
What every serious party crasher needs in his or her arsenal is the ultimate wristband recreation kit. With a little DIY thinking, everything you need can be found at your local office supply or art supply store. Toss all your supplies in a bag and keep it in your trunk for whenever crashing opportunities arise.
I was able to make a totally passable generic wristband out of things I found in my cube. Remember: Tons of people are constantly going in and out of a party, so a bouncer won’t look twice if you just quickly flash your janky wristband and rush in. Just be sure it’s the right color and maybe wear lots of bracelets on the same arm to distract.
Key things to bring:
- Highlighters and markers of all colors, especially neon
- White paper/poster board
Additional supplies for the black belt party crashers:
- Solid color, hologram, and metallic paper (wrapping paper or single sheets you can find at a good art store)
- Small hole puncher (to recreate plastic snap wristbands)
- Old wristbands from other parties you can reuse
- Actual wristbands! Many wristband manufacturers will send you a sample pack if you request them.
Stuck without supplies? Use anything you can around you to rig a wristband: fliers, magazines, newspapers, gum, Swiss army knives, floss, etc.
Special fabric or rubber wristbands? If you’re able to get at least one (go later and ask people coming out of the party), you can possibly cut it in half and tape the pieces onto two wrists. This will only work if the bouncer isn’t tugging wristbands, as I’ve seen them do before. Otherwise, you’re on your own dude.
5. The Total D–k Move
I’ll admit, there have been times I’ve gone pretty far to get into a party. But this one particular method I cannot personally endorse because of the sheer malice of it, although I do believe it could work in a last ditch effort.
If you’re completely and utterly black-hearted, straight up stealing a stranger’s RSVP could be your finishing move. I’ve once seen a man crash the Oscars for television special by peeking at the RSVP list while waiting and just picking a random name. Unfortunately that method doesn’t give you much of a window to act.
Returning to the eternal party embrace of social media, you can see people who are planning on attending, and many times people list their full names on their profiles. Scout the usual Instagram/Twitter keywords and hashtags for people talking about getting ready for such-and-such party. If someone pops up with all the things you need — full name, the right gender, and some lead time — attempt to beat them to a party and use their name before they do. Most parties won’t ask for ID at the table because they’re too busy checking people in.
Pretty crappy thing to do right? But you can have some solace in knowing that when the victim arrives they can produce their own ID and blame it on someone with the same name. Then again, they might be turned away and have their night ruined. In any case, once you’re in, don’t go near the check-in table or security just in case they’re on alert to find you, ya jerk.
Have your own party crashing stories? We wanna hear about them! Leave your bouncer-evading, wall-hopping, celeb-faking tales of glory in the comments below!