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Coachella 2009: Second biggest turnout ever

April 20, 2009 |  8:56 pm


Summer music festival organizers, you can sigh a breath of relief.

Defying expectations at a time of global depression, when a number of high profile music fests have either gone on hiatus or out of business, the 10th edition of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival celebrated a banner year.

According to founder Paul Tollett, attendance for the weekend was 160,000, making '09 the second biggest Coachella to date. (The 2007 lineup, which included Rage Against the Machine, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bjork holds that title, attracting 186,000 festivalgoers.)

If such a turnout is any kind of bellwether for similar "large footprint" destination festivals across the continent, summer music offerings such as Summer Camp in Chillicothe, Ill., and Chicago's Lollapalooza have reason to be optimistic.

Tollett admitted he had his trepidations about festival attendance in a sour economy.

"We loved the bill," he said Monday. "But I'll be honest with you, we had no idea what to expect."

"Then, in the last couple of weeks, the tickets skyrocketed. We really feel fortunate. And we had so many amazing sets."

-- Chris Lee

Photo: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times