Joel Madden whisked girlfriend Nicole Richie and their three-and-a-half-month-old daughter Harlow to the California desert this weekend for a surprise family vacation, the Good Charlotte singer tells PEOPLE.
The Richie-Madden clan headed to the Palm Springs area for the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, a three-day event headlined by performers including Prince, Jack Johnson and Roger Waters.
“[Nicole] hasn’t been able to do a whole lot over the year, so we’re having a little family trip,” Madden told PEOPLE at the BPM Hpnotiq Smurf House, where he DJ’d a festival pre-party Saturday afternoon.
“I [rented] a house and surprised Nicole with a weekend trip because she likes Coachella. She was like, ‘I really want to go!’ So I surprised her. We brought the baby.”
And their activity? “Hanging by the pool.”
While Madden, 29, spun music for party guests including Dave Annable and Taryn Manning, a smiling, relaxed Richie, 26, chatted with friends about her daughter, who was being looked after at their nearby rental home.
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So which couple will make it to the altar first? “We’re the family with the baby so I think probably us, but who knows,” says Joel – who remained mum on his and Richie’s wedding plans.