Coachella by the numbers: a breakdown of the festival’s $700-million impact

Duff McKagan, Axl Rose and Slash of Guns N' Roses perform onstage at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival last weekend.

Duff McKagan, Axl Rose and Slash of Guns N’ Roses perform onstage at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival last weekend.

(Kevin Winter / Getty Images for Coachella)

Indio Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Joshua Bonner has first-hand knowledge of how the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and Stagecoach can benefit the local economy.

Each year he rents out his home for $2,000 to $3,000 each weekend to people headed to the festival grounds.

“It literally pays for half my mortgage in three weekends,” he said in an interview.

Bonner isn’t alone. Coachella and Stagecoach, both run by AEG-owned concert promoter Goldenvoice, have given a huge boost to the economy of the surrounding cities including Indio, Palm Springs and La Quinta.



Nearby hotels are booked for months in advance as music fans and celebrities descend on the desert for more than three weekends beginning April 15.

Corporate brands including H&M, Levi’s and Tag Heuer hitch their wagons to the social media buzz and widespread interest. Local restaurateurs, hotel chains and caterers all seek to benefit from the attention focused on the otherwise remote section of Southern California.

Here’s a breakdown of Coachella’s economic effects:

  • $704 million -- amount of overall economic activity (spending by consumers and businesses) generated by Coachella and Stagecoach, according to projections by the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership and Greater Palm Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • $403 million -- estimated spending in the greater Coachella Valley area
  • $106 million -- estimated amount of money injected into the economy of Indio alone
  • $3.18 million -- tax revenue for Indio generated by ticket sales, accounting for 5% of the city’s general fund
  • 99,000 -- per-day attendance during the six days of Coachella, according to Goldenvoice
  • 70,000 -- per-day attendance for the three days of Stagecoach
  • 9,000 -- estimated number of people expected to stay in Airbnb homes during the festival, double the amount from last year

Businesses do everything they can to maximize the windfall, including the Saguaro Palm Springs hotel.

About 3,500 people flocked to the resort’s poolside Coachella pre-party last weekend. That’s close to seven times the number of people that grace the hotel’s DJ pool parties during a typical weekend, said Saguaro’s director of operations, Josh Brown.

Its rooms sell out fast, though the hotel is almost 30 miles from the festival site.

“We filled up about five months ago,” Brown said of the hotel’s bookings.

For the music industry at large, the festival accounts for an increasingly important set of dates on the calendar, setting the tone for the remainder of the year. Newly re-formed Guns N’ Roses is using the festival to launch its tour. Last year, the Weeknd’s Coachella set provided a huge burst of momentum for the R&B singer’s impressive run of 2015 hits.


“It’s pretty much the most important festival in the country,” said G-Eazy, a rapper with a fervent young-skewing fanbase who played this year’s Coachella. “It’s one of the rare instances when all of the celebrities, influencers and other musicians are watching, and their voices are amplified through social media.”

The Coachella economy has plenty of room to grow.

Goldenvoice has the option to put on five concert events at the Empire Polo Field each year. Coachella and Stagecoach account for three, and one more is expected to be taken up by a planned classic rock mega-concert as reported by the Los Angeles Times.

Follow Ryan Faughnder on Twitter for more entertainment business coverage: @rfaughnder