Goldenvoice expanding Coachella into a multi-weekend event

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AEG-owned concert promoter Goldenvoice is taking its wildly successful Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival model and doubling it. Paul Tollett, the architect of Indio’s Coachella and head of Goldenvoice, unveiled plans Tuesday to launch a second multi-day music event in 2012 at the Indio site. Coachella will now be held over two consecutive weekends, the first on April 13-15, 2012, and second on April 20-22, 2012.

‘We will attempt to produce two identical festival weekends,’ the company said in a statement. ‘That means same lineup, same art, same place, different people.’

Modeled after major long-running European festivals such as Denmark’s Roskilde and England’s Glastonbury, Coachella is coming off its second-consecutive sell-out year, hosting approximately 90,000 people per day. Tickets for the 2011 edition went in a record six days, and the event, held at the Empire Polo Grounds, is considered the unofficial kick-off to the summer festival season.

‘We know many of you were unable to attend this year’s festival because passes sold out much sooner than anticipated,’ read the release. ‘We were truly surprised by the overwhelming response and remain honored by your passion and enthusiasm. We also know some of you purchased through nonlegitimate sources and were inconvenienced, gouged or totally scammed. We hope that these changes will give everyone the opportunity to purchase directly from’


Passes will go on sale via Coachella’s official site Friday and will be available until June 10. In prior years, tickets were not sold until the lineup had been revealed, and were sold via Ticketmaster. Tickets are once again priced at $269, not including additional fees, and for those who don’t wish to pay in full up front Goldenvoice is again offering tickets through a layaway plan, with 10% down and eight equal monthly payments.

Coachella 2011, headlined by the likes of Kanye West, the Arcade Fire, Kings of Leon and Robyn, was one that featured numerous technological and hospitality tweaks. To cut down on counterfeiters and gate crashers, Goldenvoice instituted electronically encrypted wristbands that festival-goers were forced to wear to get within sight of the grounds. Additionally, Goldenvoice has been heavily investing in enhancements to the Polo Grounds and surrounding area, helping to upgrade roads by funding additional lanes, and increasing festival space by 25,000 square feet.

Fans will be allowed to buy tickets for each weekend, should they be inclined, but festival passes will be limited to four per household. Additionally, fans will not be allowed to change weekends once a purchase has been made. Passes will be mailed in March, and if tickets remain after the one-week presale, they will be made available once the lineup is announced. International attendees will have the option of picking up their passes at an off-site will call.

Tollett had earlier told Pop & Hiss that he had been caught off-guard when Coachella sold out in six days, as previous fests had been on sale for weeks, and typically sold out only days before it began. After the sellout, Goldenvoice kept a vigilant eye on counterfeit tickets -- photos of which were posted on the Coachella website -- and has also taken note of the number of real wristbands being sold on eBay or Craigslist.

‘Do NOT buy passes from a third party,’ Coachella has already warned on its site. ‘They cannot be authenticated.’

Though precise details on the technology and look of the 2012 passes have yet to be unveiled, Tollett noted in April that had he an indication that Coachella would be a quick sellout, ‘We maybe would have made the tickets nontransferable.’

Tollett said at the time that he was investigating numerous ticket options, including passes that could potentially have the buyer’s name and photo on them.

‘There is something hard about this,’ Tollett said at the time. ‘Some people will buy two or four tickets, or maybe even six, and they do plan to take their friends. They may not know which friends. They just know they’re going and they’re hoping they have a girlfriend in three months. So if you make everyone put the name on the ticket, it changes the flexibility.’

The now three-day fest began as a two-day affair in 1999, and was then a money-loser for Goldenvoice. After skipping a year in 2000 and scaling down to one day in 2001, Coachella eventually found its footing, earning a reputation for adventurous bookings and peaceful crowds.

Coachella has spawned a host of copycats around the country, including Chicago’s Lollapalooza and San Francisco’s Outside Lands, and Goldenvoice also produces the country-focused Stagecoach on the Indio grounds.

As for any hint toward the 2012 lineup, Goldenvoice said artists will not be uveiled ‘for a while,’ adding, ‘your patience is appreciated.’


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

-- Todd Martens