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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)

Well, based on the current rate of ticket sales, Coachella should be sold out before the end of March, so this entire article is a moot point. They made a business decision that affected a portion of their audience, but they were able to increase their weekend pass sales to cover their losses. It was a financially smart decision, and no amount of complaining from the have-nots will change things nor will it display a lack of fairness on Goldenvoice's part.

Are you Tollett's toilet? No. So don't take his crap.

David, your traffic argument is flawed. Everyone leaves the event every day, unless they are camping out. Assuming that the same percentage of the crowd is camping out this year as previous years the traffic will be the same on Sunday. For one, Sunday is always packed to near capacity, so why would it be any different?

Traffic on the 10 should be noticeably lighter on Saturday and Sunday, but traffic really isn't a problem until you exit onto the streets of Indio. That said, there will still be loads of people driving from whatever hotel they're staying at to get to the event every day, I don't see why there should be much more traffic unless more people are attending.

It'll be interesting to see the numbers they pull in this year giving the economy. The lineup is good and hard to resist, but $300 plus gas, lodging, and food is too much for me this year.

Terrible.. We are in the middle of a recession and then this happens. I struggled to go in the last 2 years and then "Hey let's make it a better experience for ONLY the people that can afford to spend at least $600 at a music festival." That sounds like a money making scheme or influence from the $ AEG. "We can cutout the riffraff in the process." Good thing there are other festivals that haven't sold out.

"Coachella, I know it's been 7 long years. I tried to enter 3 contests just to keep us going. I miss you and I will always love you but maybe we won't make it after all..."

This sucks!!! If I could go one day, I'd go Sunday!

My guess about this whole mess is that this Tollett fellow is trying to spin it every which way and not reveal the real reason for this desperation move- that every year the festival either loses money or barely reaches black. Too many bands and not enough customers. Yes, hundreds of thousands of people over a three day weekend is a lot, but not enough to cover the enormous costs of the festival.

Compound that with the bigger picture that bands/artists (especially the bigger names) are demanding larger and larger appearance fees* because none of them are seeing the income that they used to by way of traditional cd sales. Make no mistake, Tollett isn't in this to produce a great multi-day music festival; he's in it to make money, and it's obviously desperation time. I just hope this plot backfires and nobody shows up so the festival ends up seriously in the red so maybe next year or the following years he might think a little bit more realistically and back it off to two days and book half as many bands on each day. (run-on sentence, I know. sorry).

*slightly off topic, but slightly on- I saw that tickets for a Cheap Trick show in March at the Belly Up in San Diego are going for 80 bucks a pop! For one band. That is OUTRAGEOUS. I thought it was pretty ridiculous when I saw that tickets were 60 bucks for their show last month at the Hollywood House of Blues. The Belly Up is just a regular ol' mid-sized bar with a stage. I don't know exactly who is to blame for that absurd ticket price (the band, the band's management, Ticketmaster, the venue?), but I hope people will be fed up with shows like this the same way they are fed up with Tollett's laughable cash grab.

@ Karl. Your 3-day cruise analogy is hilarious. For all those whining about prices and stuff, perhaps you should have signed up to volunteer for this event. In this economy it's still possible to do things you enjoy, you just might have to pitch in a little more to do so. Cheers!

Just don't go. The headliners are lame anyway. With low attendance they will change the policy and you'll be back next year.

This is disgusting...mandatory 3 day tickets? I love how Coachella in the past has tried to pawn itself off as some kind of "independent art collective". 2010 is the year that they have truly pulled the veil back and revealed that the organizers are just corporate scumbags, in bed with the AEG gang who laugh their way to the bank. I choose not to mindlessly hand my money over to these people and I hope the bands make their voices heard about this. My advice...most of these bands coming from out of town will be playing shows in LA for a fraction of the price. Of course the show will have to be outside of the time frame/radius of the non-compete clause AEG made the bands sign, no doubt.

I will be giving my dollars to Bonnaroo.

I've been going to coachella since 2001. I think maybe all these comments are from people who haven't been to a multi day festival or can't handle being away from their tvs for a couple days.
it's the best festival of the year. There's ins and outs this year,, they improved the camping and everyone should go and stay the whole weekend.
the past few years single ticket sales were out of control. One day would have a popular headliner and scalpers would buy that one day out and they would be selling for 200 dollars. This is what they are trying to avoid.

Snob argument: It's a great deal because if you added up the cost to see these bands individually, it would be much more than 300 dollars.
Reality: I saw Cold War Kids at the Wiltern for about 25 bucks. A 90 minute set. Also saw them at Coach in 100 degree heat at three in the afternoon, a 45 minute set. They were great, but equivalent value? You must be kidding. Right? You're kidding. Seeing 45 minute sets in the middle of the desert is fun, but nowhere close to being the same value as seeing them in a proper venue.

Snob Argument: The three- dayers are the real music lovers.
Reality: No, they're the real "festival experience"lovers, which is different. I buy the single day, roll in at noon to see the first bands hit the stages, and keep going till 1:00 am. Why? Cause I'm gorging on music. 80% of tickets sales are three day passes? Well, that field isn't 80% full until about 6 p.m. The few three-dayers who venture out earlier are curled up in the fetal position under the shade tents trying to recover from their "festival experience" the night before. Whatever. I just step over them on the way to the next band.

GV argument: Single day people were taking up all the hotel rooms.
Reality: Huh? There are people paying for three days of hotels for one day? Who are these mental defects? Actually, most single day people are locals that live within an hour or two and don't need hotels. Oh, and those locals are the ones that primarily supported Coachella in the early years when it was barely making it. So you're welcome, Goldenticket(whoops, voice), and thanks for returning that loyalty. Class act, all the way.

I am so PISSED. I'm leaving Cali soon and the last thing that I wanted to do was go to Coachella one last time. BUT.... those f-uped promoters are only selling three day passes. It already cost so much for the drive and the hotel, that's not including food and drinks! This trip would be close to $600. Damn them... They ruined my graduation present to myself, I can't afford three days!!!! I just wanted to go for a day maybe two.. I'm staying home now

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