Coachella, Stagecoach Attendees Left Behind an Estimated 24+ Tons of Gear, Clothing, and Trash

Coachella stagecoach garbage left behind in 2024
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Coachella stagecoach garbage left behind in 2024
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Photo Credit: Joel Muniz

What happens after music fans leave behind the Coachella and Stagecoach festivals in Indio, California? The answer is finding a new home for more than 24 tons of left behind gear, garbage, and more.

Things left behind on the 642-acre property include clothing, camping gear, dry foods, and other goods that local charities pick up to benefit low-income and unhoused people. Out-of-towners leave behind folding tables and camping chairs because they arrived on planes and bought those items as disposable festival accoutrements.

The Los Angeles Times spoke with Lupe Torres-Hilario, the Director of Operations at the Galilee Center that redistributes these left behind items to families in need in the East Coachella Valley. The Galilee Center has sent two trucks to the Stagecoach festival and four to Coachella for the last five years. Staff working for the non-profit split up among the campsites to comb through items left behind.

“Coachella attendees rely primarily on tent camping and car camping while Stagecoach fans often arrive in RVs,” Torres-Hilario told the LA Times. “There are fewer discarded items after Stagecoach because people pack up their RVs and leave.”

The Galilee Center says it often gets calls from sponsors of the festival who want to donate tables, chairs, throw rugs, and other items used during the festival for promotion. In 2023, Goldenvoice alone donated a total of 34.6 tones of materials from producing Coachella and Stagecoach that year. Most items make their way to thrift stores to be sold, with the sales supporting the organization’s programs benefiting those who need assistance with rent, utilities, or food purchases.

“Some of it is trash and we throw it away, but for the most part, a lot of the stuff is in good condition that I could easily grab from Coachella and hand it over to a family in need,” Torres-Hilario continued. Other non-profits that have partnered with clean-up efforts include Martha’s Village and Kitchen and the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission.