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Coachella times two: 'We’re going after artists who are going to play twice.'

For next year, the festival’s organizer plans to book acts for identical three-day installments on consecutive April weekends. Tickets go on sale Friday for a week with no lineup announced.


In a bold expansion of what has become the premier pop music gathering in the West, organizers of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival said Tuesday that they would stage the event as two carbon copy concerts over consecutive three-day weekends next year and will begin selling tickets Friday, some 10 months before the festival and long before any of the performing acts are announced.

The move, by promoter Goldenvoice, a subsidiary of Los Angeles-based AEG Live, caught the music industry by surprise, though initial reaction was mostly positive. The 75,000 tickets for this year’s festival sold out within six days of going on sale, and even with the requirement of electronically encrypted wristbands for entry and a major upgrade in security, secondary sales and counterfeiting remained a problem. 

Paul Tollett, who heads Goldenvoice and has organized the festival since its 1999 inception, said the expansion is in reaction to the increased demand for tickets.

“We wanted to create access for as many people as possible,” said Tollett.

“The thought of this selling out super quick, and the only people who get to go are the people who bought the first minute or bought tickets for more than they sold for, that didn’t seem great to us,” he said. “We didn’t want to go with more people and ruin the experience, we can’t add a midnight show, and we didn’t want to add another city or raise the ticket price. So we decided to add another weekend.”

The 2012 festival will take place April 13-15 and 20-22. Goldenvoice intends to book the same performers for both weekends, although no acts were announced Tuesday. “We’re going after artists who are going to play twice. We’re not looking for artists to play one week,” Tollett said.

Tickets, however, will go on sale Friday, and will be available for one week. If any of the passes, which will be priced at $269 (plus service fees) for one weekend, remain after the seven-day period, they will go on sale once the lineup has been unveiled. This will be the first time tickets will go on sale before potential buyers will know who is performing, though in the past acts have been added to the lineup after sales began. Fans will not be allowed to switch weekends once a purchase has been made.

The festival began with a focus on indie and electronic acts, but has evolved into a platform for a wide variety of pop performers. Artists as varied as Kanye West, Madonna and Paul McCartney have performed there in recent years. Upward of 100 acts are booked for the three days and the fest, held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, has become a destination event for young celebrities, paparazzi and veteran musicians checking out up and coming acts, as well as for thousands of music fans.

Tollett said the move will not affect the annual Stagecoach Festival, a smaller country music event that Goldenvoice typically produces on the same grounds the weekend following Coachella. The heavy metal music festival that the company produced this year on the Coachella festival grounds will not return in 2012.

Gerry Harrington, who manages Big Audio Dynamite, the post-Clash band led by Mick Jones that re-formed for this year’s Coachella, applauded the move. “If he can pull this off,” Harrington said of Tollett, “it’s the greatest idea ever.”

Tom Windish, whose Chicago-based Windish Agency placed more than 30 acts at Coachella in 2011, said the influx of more tickets should weaken the resale value, but conceded it would be a “new challenge” for tour routers. Still, Windish was optimistic it would create more opportunities, as well as increasing an act’s payday. 

“It will mean the artist can walk out with more money from the L.A. market than they had previously … Potentially, now they can double that money. I don’t know if they’ll be offering twice as much money for two shows, but hopefully they will do that.”

Destination festivals like Coachella and Chicago’s Lollapalooza lock artists into exclusivity clauses that place limitations on where an artist can tour in the weeks surrounding the event. How artists will be allowed to fill the gap between Coachellas remained an unanswered question.

“I’m looking forward to hearing more logistical details about what the plan is for performing artists during that week in between,” said Ben Dickey, whose L.A.-based Constant Artist works with Coachella main stage veterans Spoon. “But I’d rather [Tollett] try something creative like this than simply sell more tickets to the one weekend, as that inevitably leads to a less positive experience for fans and artists alike.”

Scott Rodger, who manages 2011 Coachella headliner Arcade Fire, said the booking concerns were largely moot. “Announcing this far out will ensure no booking or routing issues,” he said. “The consumer now has a better choice of weekends too.”

“There is no festival with a concept like this,” Rodger added. “Ultimately, Paul Tollett will try it, and the audience will let him know if it works or not.”


Goldenvoice expanding Coachella into a multi-weekend event

Coachella 2011: Kanye West doesn't play it safe as he closes the Indio fest

Coachella 2011: Paul Tollett on the non-musical changes to expect this weekend -- and a thought or two about 2012

-- Todd Martens

Photo: Arcade Fire unleashes the LED orbs at Coachella 2011 Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (10)

With the sheer number of artists that play the festival, and with all the last minute additions and cancellations, what are the chances that the line-up for the second weekend is 100% consistent with the first?

"The 75,000 tickets for this year’s festival sold out within six days of going on sale."

Fact check the figures Goldenvoice hands you before posting them. They sold out within six days of the lineup being announced, but had been on sale for quite a while before that. Lots of Coachella loyalists already had their tickets in hand.

And I, too, question the ability to ground exciting traveling acts for an entire week in one location. Not to mention a lot of undercard gems appear because they happen to be in the area--will Goldenvoice deny artists billing if they refuse to halt their tour?

If they meet their goal of 100% consistency, the bill will surely suffer. If not, then as a longtime Coachella attendant I'd like to thank them in advance for the impending stress of having to choose between artists.

This is not a service to your loyal festivalgoers. This is a blatant money grab to cash-in on an event that recently gained loads of popularity.


This is real Irish Festival Music - http://chriswrites.net/2011/06/01/redcap-productions-presents-pigstock-2011/
Video from a Huge Irish Festival called Pigstock that took place last weekend

100% consistency between shows. Yeah, we'll see how that goes. It's nice they want to sell more tickets since greed is good, but the cost of staying in one locale for a week while on the road is a whole lot more. It means there's suddenly going to be an avalanche of shows in Arizona and Las Vegas and other near points all at once for lesser bands that don't headline. Starting to smell a lot like SxSW.

Who am I kidding. It already smelled like that.

You wont be able to keep top artists in town for over a week. They will get bored and the repetitiveness will make way for lethargic performances. The immediacy of the event will be lost. There's no way that this show will be identical for both weekends.

Who says the headliners have to stay grounded for a week? Between weekends they can do shows in San Diego, San Francisco, Vegas etc., which in fact many already do around Coachella. I do think it will be quite a feat co-ordinating every single act to come back for 2 consecutive weekends though.


If I remember correctly, there was some clause in the contracts of the performers for last year's festival that they couldn't perform within a certain radius of Coachella within a certain period of time prior to the festival. I mean, what incentive would people in LA (or wherever) have to go out to the desert to see some band if they play in town the week or month before? If that same restriction will apply to this coming festival, then yes, there'll be a whole lotta downtime between weekends for bands. I suppose they could plan something of a tour to Texas or Colorado or up the coast or something like that if they absolutely needed to maximize their time on the road.

It should be noted that last year tons of bands broke the exclusivity clause with pauls blessing. I'm pretty sure the savviest of acts can purely saturate the southwest with their presence over two weeks.

Look at what Hard is doing: A cruise (hard boat lol), bands should capitalize on this! From Long beach to Hawaii, the monsters of Coachella?

Jay is correct- this year Duran Duran played in Pomona the Thursday before Coachella, and in San Francisco that Saturday night, flying down for their Sunday performance. They also played in LA the month before. Granted these were very small club shows, but even if they enforce the exclusivity policy, it's not that hard for bands to route their tours so that they're busy the week between festivals.



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