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Coachella's 2010 ticket policy inspires online petition

The decision on the part of Coachella organizers to no longer sell single day tickets for the three-day 2010 event has provoked the ire of many a fan. "Make it fair for all us people who obviously want to attend but cannot afford $269," reads a note on the Facebook group created by 22-year-old San Diego resident Brian Lozano. 

In a shift from prior years, AEG/Goldenvoice opted to forgo the single-day ticket option for the 2010 edition of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival. Only a three-day pass retailing for $269, which ultimately comes to $303.60 once various service fees have been added, is being offered for this year's festival. 

In an earlier interview with Pop & Hiss, Goldenvoice leader and festival architect Paul Tollett said his primary goal was bettering the experience for those who opt to buy three-day passes, pointing to a lack of hotel rooms in the Indio area as well as increased festival traffic for those coming down for just one day. 

"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."

Lozano started his "Coachella 2010 Single-Day Pass/Wristband Petition Group" after reading the Jan. 27 Pop & Hiss item, as he had intended originally to go to the event only on Sunday, when alt-rockers Pavement will reunite and Damon Albarn's adventurous Gorillaz project will headline. Within the first two days of launching the group, the San Diego Mesa College student said he had about 500 members. As of this posting, the number has increased to more than 5,000.

"My heart was broken," Lozano said of when he read that single-day tickets would not be available. "I saw that, and I thought, ‘Well, I guess we’re not going to go.’ I’m not really able to make it Friday or Saturday, and I was only looking forward to going on Sunday. So what can I do?"

Lozano's Facebook page continues to provoke discussion on the topic, as do the Coachella forums. An earlier Pop & Hiss post has generated close to 50 comments on the matter. For his part, Lozano has been surprised at how many people disagree with him, posting on his Facebook group that it's a good thing the 2010 edition of Coachella is now for die-hards-only.

"Who are all these people that are just hating on people who love music? Everybody would love to attend all three days. It’s one big party. But the negative messages? We don’t delete them. People can’t spend $269, especially in times like these."

The comments section on Lozano's Facebook group is filled with pleas from fans who say they either can't afford the three-day pass, or the time off work. Lozano himself hopes that as the festival draws closer, Goldenvoice will offer single-day tickets. Yet that appears unlikely. An email to "info@coachella.com" generates an immediate auto-response, with the note that only three-day tickets will be available for 2010. Tollett has said it is likely that those who buy tickets at the gate will find them pro-rated, but a Coachella spokeswoman had no further details at this time.

Lozano admits he may ultimately spring for the three-day pass. "Yes, I am considering it," he said. "At first, I just didn’t want to go, just to spite them. Out of anger, I didn’t want to give them my money."

Tollett earlier noted here that the vast majority of Coachella attendees opt for the three-day pass. Since Coachella expanded to three days in 2007, more than 80% of concert-goers have bought multi-day passes, Tollett said. While cutting out the single-day, $99 ticket may result in alienating a number of fest-goers -- a financially sizable 20% -- Coachella, Tollett said, should be known as a three-day event. 

"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."

-- Todd Martens

Photo: The Coachella 2009 crowd. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times


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Comments () | Archives (37)

Tollett's rationale is completely disingenuous. It's a huge valley with thousands of hotels and motels. Are we really supposed to believe that he's so worried about where people stay. He's worried about losing money on the Friday show, which typically doesn't sell as well as the weekend. For my family of four it would cost us over $1200 to see the festival this year -- a little steep in a tough economic climate, don't you think?

Chessdesign-- then you know what? Don't go. Take your family to the movies. There's no reason they need to go to a 3-day music festival.

Heck, a 3-day trip to Disneyland would rival the cost of this venue. You have choices in your entertainment, so if this is too expensive, do something else.

People have the right to complain, but the market will decide. Personally, I like this change. I think it will bring a better cohesion and consistency to the concert.

Tollet's argument is incredibly lame. Anyone can do a search for hotels near the festival and see that a basic room can cost in the range of $200-$300 dollars during that weekend. Why on earth would someone who only wants to or can afford to go for one day get a room when it costs AS MUCH AS A THREE DAY PASS? That makes no sense. The majority of people who go for one day are people who live in the SoCal region and drive to and from the festival the same day. No one is going to spend that much on a hotel room if they're not staying all three days.

The traffic argument is also a crock, instead of spreading out some of the traffic over the three days, now EVERYBODY will be arriving and leaving at the same time. Traffic will be concentrated and worse because of this policy.

The truth is that Goldenvoice knows that the Coachella brand is big and prestigious enough that they can squeeze money out of the fans. They are counting on people like Mr. Lozano to buy the three day pass instead of the single day pass to make more money. They are also trying to frame the lack of single day passes as necessary for the new perks (ins and outs) but ultimately the motivation here is greed. This policy takes away options from concertgoers and is bad for the fans. Shame on Goldvenvoice.

Wow. The greed of these organizers really takes away from the meaning of what Coachella should be. I think it's really unfair to alienate people who cannot afford to pay. I'm in my 30's and have the means to attend, but I'm very dissappointed by this mandatory 3-day policy and don't think I want to support this event anymore. Shame on them.

Hey Tollett - you just made my decision for me! I'm going to spend my money in LA, rather than at Coachella this year.

See ya!

How would this policy bring "better cohesion and consistency"?

Judging from the Coachella message boards and facebook page, there's plenty of snobbery on the part of a few people who already have their three day pass. Not everyone who wants to go for one day is a casual fan or a kandy kid. This policy is leaving out a lot of hardcore fans, who for whatever reason, can't make it all three days.

@ David and @ chessdesign. Sorry guys but you are just way too cynical. A few points. First the traffic argument... To say this decision will make traffic better or worse seems flawed. Regardless of how many days people are going to the show, there will be 60,000 people leaving after Sunday is done. To say it will be more concentrated is flawed because no matter what kind of tickets people have, 60,000 people will be leaving after Sunday. If you came for 3 days or just Sunday everyone has to go after Sunday is done. If anything, all the cars that will not be coming and going on Fri and Sat because they are staying at the show will lessen the traffic those two nights, but again Sunday will be the same regardless. Next, like ddsq said, there are other options for people who don't want to go to a 3-day festival. Coachella is a 3-day festival. It's like saying Disneyland should be required to sell a 1/2 day pass or a 1/3 day pass. A one day show is not the product that Coachella is selling. Another analogy, go to Costco take the giant 2 pack of ketchup and go to the counter and say, "I only want one." Would you start a petition when they tell you no? Yet another analogy incase you can't draw the connection between Coachella and ketchup, a 3-day cruise. I don't think I need explain that one any further. Lastly, so what if they are trying to make money? I hear so much talk of greed and how they are just trying to get more $$$ out of people. So my question is, why is it not okay for Coachella to try to turn a profit. You think this shindig would keep happening if no one was making any profit? You think all these people would subject themselves to all the liability and work that comes with making Coachella happen just because they want to please the people who want to see 1/3 of the show? They deserve a profit. I hope they make enough to make it worth while to put on this incredible festival again next year. I'm going to quit ranting now. I'd like to finish by saying, I LOVE YOU COACHELLA!!! Regardless of how the tickets are packaged I will make this, my tenth year straight without missing a single day, the best one yet. See all you music loving 3-day troopers at the show. :)

First, how can a $269 ticket morph into $303.60? A $30 service fee, for printing out a single ticket? That shouldn't be legal. The ticket agency is basically scalping their own tickets.

Second, requiring us all to attend for 3 days means 3 days of heat, dust and terribly overpriced food and drink. That's a good way to squeeze/extort another $100 or so out of everyone who attends, since you have to eat something and stay hydrated in the sun.

So I'm voting with my feet. I'm staying at home, and will boycott this event until the promoters realize that they need us, not the other way around. I urge all of you to do the same.

Sounds like the beginning of a new cult! 3-day people can start living on a big commune and spend the whole year together.

@Karl my traffic argument is not flawed. By selling single day tickets, some people will leave on Friday, some on Saturday, and yes, some on Sunday. But with 3 day passes, EVERYBODY will be leaving Sunday. Traffic will be bad no matter what on Sunday, but with this policy it will be worse. Tollett using traffic as an excuse makes zero sense.

Regarding your analogies, they are all flawed. The new policy is like Disney forcing you to buy access to both Disneyland and California Adventure when you only want to go to Disneyland. In regards to Costco, there are a ton of places to buy ketchup. You can't just go down the street to another huge music festival, especially when it features artists who don't perform often or are reuniting. If Costco was the only store in the region you bet people would complain. The 3 day cruise analogy is just dumb.

Coachella has every right to earn a profit, but as a business, they need to listen to their customers and that is exactly what this petition is about. Customers telling a business they are unhappy with a new policy that limits their choices. I'm not against profit, I'm against a corporation trying to squeeze out more money out of fans during the worst economic times any of them have ever seen. I just want the option that we've always had, nothing more.

Unfortunately there will always be fanboys who will cheer any decision a company makes, even if it limits their options.

Welcome to the USA, where one must now be a douche willing to extort the masses (in whatever industry) to be successful.

Sorry, but I have never been interested in attending ALL three days of the festival. Usually, only one or two days have appealed to me. I think Tollet is full of crap saying he's worried about lodging for three-day attendees. Hell, many of the fans drive out from LA or OC or even closer. Greed is the obvious cause for this new policy. I will NEVER buy a three-day pass. NEVER. The timing of this policy is really bad, too. Thanks for turning into another greedy punk, Tollet.

@ Karl

There is something lacking in your analogies that I think is at the root of people. You suggest that we would be foolish to walk into Costco and demand that they split open a two pack of ketchup. Sure if this was the first year of Coachella that would make sense. Though if that was the real analogy it would have been that for years you would have been allowed to buy one bottle of ketchup. Then suddenly they told you you have to buy two, regardless of if you could afford it or even wanted two bottles. Or you took a cruise that used to let you off after one day and allow you to get back on the last. Also, true, the traffic won't be concentrated, but neither will it be lessened. the largest group will show up Fri., and Leave Sun. And of course since there are always: people who want to go one day and buy the three day pass or people who have the money and don't really care, there will still be traffic in between. And just to add there is this argument that only real music fans would get the three day pass. Many of these "fans" would buy the tickets no matter who is playing, because they're really festival fans, not music fans.

I can't believe people have continued to go to this, even when the single ticket option was available. The venue is horrible (i.e., unbearably hot, dusty, gross and swarming with bees), prices for food and drink are obscene, and the douchebag quotient is off the charts--and that was before only the ultra-rich could get in.

The one upside of the price increase is that you know--unless you're one of the chumps that pays to go through this hell--you're avoiding a miserable, miserable experience.

What's really amazing is how bent out of shape people are about this change in ticket pricing. Our schools are failing, our health care system is in shambles, our government is in gridlock, and the Wall Street crooks are swindling us every second. Yet what do the masses get upset about: ticket prices for a concert featuring a bunch of instantly forgettable bands. For the love of God (or Allah, Buddha, Obama, etc.), can't you people stop Twittering long enough to get your priorities straight?

Seems a little insane to charge $269 forcing people to buy multiple day tickets and not offering single day admission. Especially in todays economy. GREEDY GREEDY GREEDY! What's up with the lame 3-day hotel rational?

Take some power people and boycott this event! There will be other opportunities to see these performers. Don't let them get away with turning the multiple day music festival into an elitist experience.

If they programmed more evenly, they would sell more tickets for each day.

Tollett's "arguments" are pure red herring. Nothing supports any of his opinions. He's just trying to strong-arm people into buying 3-day passes. I think he's going to find out that he made the wrong decision.

Fact is, the event is not exciting enough to last 3 days, unless you happen to want to go there to do drugs all day, or be drunk all day. Once you get there, you're trapped, there's no in & out, that's it.

It's a good idea. It keeps the goof balls and frat boys away (not at Coachella). I know many Burners and Burner organizers attend this event and we like it that way! Burning Man doesn't sell one day tickets. All in all it's a business and the good policy is selling an ethos. Anyway, have a great blast!

im from 5 years in the future. coachella festival is now a month long. they just got rid of the week pass (was $500). now i'll have to spring $2000 for the whole month so i can see the jonas brothers reunion (you know...after all the rehab).

uh-oh! times up! *zzzzzzzzzzzzzAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAP* (hector vanishes into thin air)

First time I see a Biz pushing people away, this is a terrible business desicion that will haunt Coachella in the future.

My friends and I wanted to go on Sunday, the bands we like play that day and most of us work on Friday, we are not going the 3 days nor we are paying $300 for 1 day, is just not reasonable and abusive. As it was 6 of us, Coachella is loosing $600 plus food and drinks we were supposed to get that day.

Just retarded, everybody lose.

I wish this article mentioned ways around paying.

1) You could have signed up to volunteer for the festival and gained access to the concerts.

2) You could have signed up to volunteer for Stagecoach, the country music festival held the following weekend, and gained access to Coachella.

Both options required a deposit but are ultimately free, just requires your time.

I already purchased my 3-day pass before this decision was made, because I wanted to do the car camping for all five days the campsite will be open, so this doesn't affect me one way or the other. And since I'll be arriving on Thursday at noon and won't be leaving until Monday at noon, traffic won't be much of an issue. I understand the frustration for those who only want single-day passes, but I always go for the full festival experience when I go to these things (Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, etc.), so I can't say it bothers me that much.

Not about the fan because if it was then there would be single day passes.
This is all propaganda they are spewing. Since when do hotels have three day minimums? Or are they just being greedy and doing it for that weekend.
There is also a camping option.

The fact that AEG is involved means it's all about greed and money. That's all. Ugly corporate greed. These are the same people who had the memorial event for MJ in downtown L.A. and then expected the city to pay for it. They want the tax payer to pay the 3 million dollar for it while they made 200 million dollars off the DVD sales. Ugly corporate greed. Disgusting.

I say boycott the event. I went two years ago on a Friday and had a great time but I can't imagine putting up with three days of that.

I'm with Mike and David. A three day-ticket only, adding food plus lodging is just insane. I rather wait for my bands to come to L.A. and pay for each performance here. And this is not about the price, I (and many here) have the money if we really wanted to go, but is the shameless way the organizers think we are idiots and should pay whatever they want, just because "80% has paid for multi-ticket since expanded to three days". I bet 99% of that 80% bought two-day tickets. Bloodsuckers.

Here is a real interesting fact that Goldenvoice AKA AEG LIVE AKA STAPLES CENTER is failing to mention…This time last year there was ZERO hotel, resort, timeshare or vacation rentals to be found ANYWHERE in the entire desert or surrounding towns. There is plenty of availability at this very second. Is this an indicator of attendance? My guess is, is that the head cheese is getting ready to sell out and this is the last big pay day opportunity. I have heard rumors from a Goldenvoice source.

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