Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and more: Rock icons coming to Coachella Valley this fall
It’s official: Six acts with a claim to be on the Mt. Rushmore of rock music will perform for the first time on the same stage over three nights in October in the Coachella Valley.
Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, the Who, Neil Young and Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters are confirmed for the Oct. 7-9 event at the Empire Polo Field in Indio, the annual site of the Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals. Tickets will range from $199 to $1,599, according to concert promoter Goldenvoice.
Music industry veterans say the lineup places it high on the list of all-time greatest concerts.
“I can’t think of a concert as big as this one,” said Jim Guerinot, a talent agent and former promoter. “Neil Young opening for Paul McCartney — are you kidding me? ... I think it’s a stupendous achievement.”
Popular interest in the concert has been strong since The Times reported details April 15, and Goldenvoice President Paul Tollett said he has been inundated with suggestions that the concert should include artists such as Led Zeppelin and Bruce Springsteen.
Tollett said his aim was to include artists who helped shape rock music but were still touring, writing and recording new material.
“This is about artists who are still creating, who are still relevant,” he said.
“I’ve been known for doing reunions from time to time,” he added, noting that Coachella has featured the reunions of bands such as Guns N’ Roses, OutKast, LCD Soundsystem and Rage Against the Machine. “I didn’t want this to be rare. I wanted it to be significant.”
In deference to what is expected to be an older audience, Goldenvoice will offer seating in grandstands and on the ground — unlike the Coachella Music and Arts Festival, where the crowd either stands or sits on the grass.
Tickets, which go on sale Monday, will start at $199 for single-day general admission passes, and top out at $1,599 for reserved seats for all three days. The $1,599 ticket price also will apply to admission to a standing-room pit immediately in front of the stage. General admission three-day passes will sell for $399.
Plans also call for roughly two dozen high-end suites for large groups — akin to luxury boxes — that will be placed atop the grandstands. Tollett didn’t specify the pricing for those.
“We still don’t know what the audience is going to be,” Tollett said. “One reason I decided to have some single-day tickets available, unlike Coachella and Stagecoach, is that I didn’t want somebody to feel excluded if they couldn’t afford to come for the whole weekend.”
Goldenvoice, a unit of AEG, plans to cap ticket sales at about the same level the company has done for Stagecoach in recent years, at 70,000 to 75,000 per day. Coachella has held attendance in recent years at 99,000 per day for six days since Goldenvoice cloned it over two weekends in 2012.
Unlike Coachella and Stagecoach, the October event is not being treated as a festival because it features just two acts per day, each playing full sets. Performers will take the stage after sundown, with their full concert productions, rather than abbreviated performances typical of multi-act festivals.
Dylan and the Stones will be paired to open the event Oct. 7, Young will precede McCartney on Oct. 8 and the Who and Roger Waters will close the weekend on Oct. 9.
Tollett said the three-day show will not be given a name, a la Coachella and Stagecoach, because “We are not trying to brand anything. This is happening one time, and that’s it.”
Also distinguishing the October event from festivals in general, the performers will use a single stage, which will be erected in the northeast quadrant of the grounds at the Empire Polo Field.
The impossible-dream aspect of pulling together a half-dozen of the most influential artists in rock history on a single bill “was part of the appeal,” Tollett said during an interview in his trailer backstage at Stagecoach. He said the event has been in the works for about 10 months.
“I spent probably two months just thinking about which six acts,” he said. “I think these six are pretty special.”
Tollett said another motivation behind the October concert that’s different from Coachella is “I thought it would be fun to do a very focused rock ’n’ roll show. At Coachella and so many of our events, we have a wide variety from indie rock to pop to hip-hop to EDM. I wanted to focus this on guitar, bass and drums rock ’n’ roll.”
The seed for that focused approach may have been planted five years ago when Goldenvoice marked the company’s 30th anniversary promoting shows with a three-night event that culled many of the punk bands promoted by Goldenvoice founder Gary Tovar when he launched the company in 1981.
Because the October show is expected to draw baby boomer music fans in significant numbers, Goldenvoice is instituting several amenities including an expanded menu of pop-up restaurants in addition to the food and beverage booths typically in operation at Coachella and Stagecoach.
Tollett said about one-third of the capacity will be allotted to reserved seating — with prices tiered at $699, $999 and $1,599 — with the rest allotted for open areas for those who purchase general admission tickets.
Goldenvoice has launched a website containing event information at www.deserttrip.com.
Hotels in the region already are being booked quickly. Travelocity and Expedia websites note that both are 85% booked for the Oct. 7-9 weekend, although that might not necessarily mean those are all taken by people hopeful of buying tickets to the October concerts. RV and tent camping will be available.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if they are filling up now,” said Joshua Bonner, president and chief executive of the Indio Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau. “I’ll be honest, I don’t know if that’s a reflection of inventory booking, or whether it’s the hotels holding back inventory from the discount sites until the tickets are announced and sold. If it is, that’s fantastic.”
Bonner, who said he usually rents his desert home out during Coachella and Stagecoach weekends, said, “I had six college students from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo staying at my house this weekend [during Stagecoach]. They were all 22- and 23-year-olds, and every single one of them said they want to go to this October concert.”
“Because of Coachella and Stagecoach and all these different festivals [that expose concertgoers to a wide variety of performers], this young generation is very knowledgeable about music, more so than in the past,” Bonner said. “I was surprised at their level of enthusiasm. When we were talking about it, they started texting their friends, saying, ‘Oh, my God, we have to go see the Rolling Stones.’
“I cut my teeth in marketing,” Bonner said, “and what we’re learning about millennials is that despite the tendency to want to pigeonhole them by saying, ‘They just like festivals,’ what they really want and what really drives them is they want experiences. They want to experience things. So if you throw a bunch of old bands together, even if they haven’t heard of them, if they know it’s a once-in-a-lifetime situation, they will go for the experience.”
The combination of the global appeal of all six acts and the one-off aspect of the concert has moved Tollett to place ads for the shows in publications not only across North America but in Europe, South America and Asia as well.
“This is the last time,” said an associate of one of the performers, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak about the event. “I can’t imagine this ever happening again. Kudos to Paul for pulling it off.”
7:41 a.m.: This article was updated with additional information regarding camping and ticket prices.
This article was originally published at 7:04 a.m.
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