Pop & Hiss

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Coachella: Paul McCartney, the Cure ignore curfews. The cost?

April 20, 2009 |  6:39 am

Paul McCartney's opening night set at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival won rave reviews. It also came with additional cost.

The Beatle performed for nearly three hours, delighting fans with a career-spanning set, and one that went well past the midnight curfew for music on the main stage imposed by the city of Indio. Once the clock strikes 12:01 a.m., the charge is $1,000 per minute, said Indio police spokesman Ben Guitron. He estimated that McCartney went "50-plus" minutes after the music curfew.

Was there ever a thought of cutting the Beatle off?

"Believe me, some people wanted us to," Guitron said. "We weren't going to, but we are talking to the people responsible. ... If we end up having artists go a little over, there are consequences."

Guitron said it's up to Coachella promoter Goldenvoice to pull the plug, not the police, but the department does alert fest organizers as midnight approaches. "How they stop [the artists] is up to them," Guitron said.

Sunday night headliners the Cure didn't get the same extended treatment as McCartney. Sound on the band's set was eventually cut off, even as the act continued to play. Ultimately, the Cure went 33 minutes past curfew, Guitron said.

As for why the Cure was stopped and McCartney wasn't, that probably has something to do with the fact that Robert Smith wasn't in the Beatles. Pop & Hiss reached out to a Goldenvoice representative late Sunday/early Monday and will update if need be.

Blowing past curfew is a Coachella tradition. Prince last year played till close to 1 a.m., and Coachella veterans may remember Brit-rock humorists Art Brut in 2006, who told attendees that they were being charged $2,000 per song past midnight.

-- Todd Martens