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9 Things You Never Knew About Coachella, Straight From The Food Vendors

Is the music festival on your bucket list?
PHOTO: Instagram/beerbelly_la

Food is a big part of the Coachella experience. This year, more than 100 food vendors will serve the most delicious creations while battling 38-degree temperatures. You want ramen? No problem. Feel like a marshmallow dessert that reminds you of summer camp? You got it. The occasional celeb sighting? Sure. Here, some behind-the-scenes treats from the vendors who have seen it all.

1. Food vendors don't make any money, usually.

"It's an expensive festival," says Andy Nguyen of Afters Ice Cream. In 2016, Nguyen increased his number of booths to three (from just one in 2015) but it was still a stretch. Beer Belly's Jimmy Han, who's done four consecutive Coachellas, says a lot of vendors actually end up losing money. "I lost a little the first year, broke even the second year. It gets better as you do it more often, but for me, it's more about the experience. We're chilling. We're watching these amazing shows.”

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2. The streets are watered down every two hours. 

This happens when it's too dusty and hot. "They do it often enough, it soaks it down so there's not enough dust in the air. Most vendors know to carry a handkerchief to cover the mouth. It's primarily functional before fashionable. That affects operating, too. You have to run back and forth. Not everything's contained in your booth," says Starry Kitchen's Nguyen Tran.

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3. Vendors assigned near the Sahara (EDM) tent can only succeed if they have one thing. 

Says Beer Belly's Han, "There was a pizza truck by the exit. It sold a bunch of water, not pizza, because everyone was so thirsty. They're also usually rolling and on drugs, they don't have an appetite. It sucks they didn't sell pizza but they made a killing selling water."

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4. Your vendor might be as high as you are. 

According to Starry Kitchen's Tran, stress levels are always crazy. "I knew a guy the year before where he was so stressed out. He was like, give me some E right now. He dropped some E and was rolling and serving."

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5. Though technically, they're not supposed to be drinking anything alcoholic while on the job.

"There's a special vendor wristband. If you go to a bar, they won't serve you,” says Tran.

6. Ramen at Coachella actually tastes pretty good—just ask Jaden Smith. 

That's according to Ramen Hood's Natan Zion, who served the famous teen in 2016."Jaden Smith was literally sitting at our counter every night... Him and his crew [ate] for two hours."

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7. People also crave marshmallows when it's hot AF. 

"There's a nostalgia to it. Even though it's hot outside, people are like, where's the campfire? You're coming to eat our smores. It's so hot you're still willing to eat them," says Latanya Layne of Mallow Mallow. Their hottest selling item last year was the Americana bourbon bacon marshmallow with honey graham crackers and chocolate ganache, toasted to perfection.

8. While it's expected that festival-goers would drop like flies after the first day, there's a surprisingly high rate of survival.

"If I am being honest, it is shocking how intoxicated people are the entire time and don't pass out more or die," shares Kelli Chun of Backyard Bowls.

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9. Celebrities tip well. Sort of. 

Recalls Chun, "Kellan Lutz came to our booth at like 11 p.m. one night, no one else was around and he kept calling all of us 'sweetie.' All he wanted was a cup of fruit and granola and he gave us like $25 for it because we appeased him, hah. So, in that case, yes, celebrities do tip well."

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This article originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by the editors. 

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