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Coachella 2010: Say goodbye to single-day tickets

Interested in what Jay-Z and only Jay-Z will bring to the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival? Better make a weekend of it. This year, Coachella promoters are doing away with single-day tickets and offering only a $269 three-day ticket, a move, Goldenvoice leader and festival architect Paul Tollett said, designed to help enhance the experience for three-day pass buyers.

In cutting the single-day pass -- it is not available now, and there is no intention to make it available closer to the fest or even at the Coachella gate -- Tollett stressed other changes to this year's three-day bonanza of music in the desert. Camping prices have decreased, down from $55 per person to $57 per slot, regardless of the number of campers you can "cram into the spot," according to the festival website, and Coachella has added in-and-out privileges. 

"I understand that every time you make a change it’s great for some people, and it’s not great for others," Tollett said. "The other festivals around the world that have camping, you can buy only the pass. You don’t buy the single day -- Bonnaroo, Glastonbury, any of the super great ones."

But this decision wasn't based on me-too-syndrome. 

Tollett noted that the vast majority of Coachella attendees spring for the three-day pass. Since Coachella expanded to three days in 2007, Tollett said that more than 80% of concert-goers have bought multi-day passes. Cutting out the single-day, $99 ticket may result in alienating a number of fest-goers -- a financially sizable 20% of Coachella fans.

But Coachella, Tollett said, is a three-day event, and his goal is improving the experience for those willing to spring for the mutli-day ticket. Limited hotel rooms in the area, Tollett said, factored into his decision, as well as improving the daily traffic around the festival.

"The thing is," Tollett said, "there’s a lack of hotels in the Coachella Valley, and most have a three-day minimum. Many times what happens is people get a hotel for the three days, and only go to Coachella for one or two of the days. They hit Friday and Saturday, and go home or rest at the hotel on Sunday. That’s no problem, but the problem with that is that there are people who want that hotel and are going for three days. The single- and two-day people are clogging up the hotels and making it so people who want to go for three days can’t find a hotel."

The move has its detractors. The Coachella message boards are filled with angry fans, including those visiting from out of town for only a day, or those who don't want to spend the $269-plus service fees for the full ticket. An email to "info@coachella.com" generates an immediate auto-response, with the note that only three-day tickets will be available for 2010. 

For cost-conscious fans, Tollett emphasizes that Goldenvoice is once again offering layaway tickets, hopefully easing the financial strain.

"We’re really trying to make it great for the fan," Tollett said. "We understand it will affect some people who want to go for one day, but we have to protect the three-day people. It was a complex decision. We put some thought into it, and we’re trying our best to make it a good experience."

Those who purchase tickets on the day-of, Tollett said, will likely find pro-rated rather than single-day tickets available. 

-- Todd Martens


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Photo: The Coachella 2009 crowd. Credit: Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (59)

I have been attending the Coachella music festival for many many many years... when it used to be a TWO DAY festival. A GREAT two day festival. With a greater quantity and quality of bands. I was saddened it turned into a three day festival seeing less bands in each day and well... just not as good quality. Sure, they have bettered the port o potty situation, but musically and politically it has gone downhill. I am VERY upset that the single day option isn't available. I have gone to all three days before, last year for example, but when a set sucks, it sucks. I don't want to pay all that money for unnecessary bands. I know the type of music I like and the type of music I want to learn about. I don't necessarily want to join reggae day, or hip hop day, which is what Coachella has now been stereotyping. Jay Z? really? that's fine for those who are fans, but I am not and wish I could enjoy the music that this true Coachella fan likes to enjoy. I am one of those that enjoys all three days... if they are worth it. ---BS indeed about the hotels. Really, really, really. I am so sad how Coachella music festival has gone down hill. This long time fan is very disappointed and for the first time, won't be attending the festival. Offer me a single day ticket and i will reconsider.

Of course the old days were better, what do you expect? Same thing happened to Comicon. Big difference is, more people are going to Comicon than ever, while I look for Coachella attendance to slide. I remember in '03 buying a ticket for $40 for Coachella Sunday -- they couldn't give the tickets away. Now it's $269 plus fees for 3 days of my life. Heck, for that price I'd rather buy plane tix to Europe and go to a REAL music festival. Where Muse isn't the headliner for crissake (if memory serves, in '04 they performed at Coachella at like 3pm...and their popularity hasn't changed that much since then). The bloom is off the rose.

If any of this were true, Goldenvoice would be applying these same ticket Nazi tactics to Stagecoach, which it is not. Explain that Mr. P. Toilet.

GOODBYE!! COACHELLA!!! So sorry for the bad decisions that were made this year!! A total disappointment and clearly these coachella planners became money hungry and lost the spirit of Coachella!!

No single day passes?! Watcha talkin' bout Willis? Maybe pro-rated days passes. maybe yes?!

I have been going every year since it was two days and had real ideals and spirit. Some years were awesome, some years sucked. It was always one of my favorite days of the year. It always seemed like dropping into an alien world once a year and connecting with people from all over the world. But now I am 42 and have a family I need to support and a job at a company that may or may not survive. Way to alienate your most loyal fans. What a load of crap they give for the reasons. Shame on you golden voice slimeballs. Way to take a golden shower on some of your best and most loyal customers.

dude... still no single day passes? i thought there would be by now... i cant pay $300 for tickets after paying $300 for air fair.

yeah yeah happy coachella.

its nice when mommy and daddy are there to shell out 300 bucks.

They did this because of Glastonbury and Reading. They're using the same methods that the UK festivals use to sell out tickets in less than a week. They have officially become a Reading wannabe. They really have sold out in every sense of the word. They've become corporate, money hungry sellouts. And to do it when gas is as high as it is, is just plain evil.

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