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Goldenvoice's Coachella proposal could add 2 more festivals

September 11, 2012|By Todd Martens
  • The 2012 Coachella crowd.
The 2012 Coachella crowd. (Arkasha Stevenson / Los…)

Goldenvoice, the promoter behind the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, is aiming to secure a home for its desert festival through 2030. The promoter's current contract with the city of Indio, Calif.,  expires after the 2013 event, but Goldenvoice's ambitions extend well beyond obtaining a long-term contract for Coachella.

The city of Indio has released documents that offer a glimpse into the promoter's festival plans, which, if approved, would add up to two music events to the calendar year. Coachella launched in October 1999 and has been staged annually since 2001 in the spring. In 2007, it was joined by the country-focused Stagecoach.  And this year, Coachella expanded to two weekends.

Indio has scheduled a Sept. 18 meeting to discuss details of an environmental impact report on the potential long-term agreement. Representatives from Goldenvoice did not respond to requests for comment. 

TIMELINE: Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals

Perhaps the most intriguing news in Indio's summary of the long-term proposal is the revelation that the potential deal would allow for up to five festival weekends per year, with three in the spring and two in the fall. Of the latter, one could at least conceivably be on par with the size of Coachella's  two weekends, allowing for a maximum capacity of 99,000 people. The other fall event would cater to 75,000 people. 

The new agreements, detailed first by the Desert Sun, would also allow for increased attendance at Coachella. Currently, there's a maximum of 95,000 people allowed on the festival site during Coachella's two weekends, but the long-term bid would allow for up to 99,000 people on site, a number that appears to include concert attendees and festival staff. Likewise, Stagecoach's capacity would jump from 65,000 to 75,000.

Goldenvoice has staged the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival for 12 years on and around the Empire Polo Club, using a total of 535 acres in 2012. The size of the festival site, according to Indio, would increase to 601 acres under the long-term deal. 

This year, Goldenvoice's two Coachella festivals generated a gross of $47.3 million, the largest ever recorded for a single concert event, according to concert business trade publication Pollstar. The dual-festival approach will continue in 2013 and is set for the weekends of April 12 and 19.

Coachella's future in Indio became national news this summer when it appeared that there was a possibility Goldenvoice would take its event elsewhere after an Indio councilman proposed an amusement tax. The city quickly backtracked on its effort and has pledged to work out a long-term agreement with Goldenvoice

The Coachella brand this year will also expand to the sea. Pulp, Hot Chip, Yeasayer, Girl Talk and Sleigh Bells are among the acts slated to play the first-ever Coachella-branded cruise, officially dubbed the S.S. Coachella.

The self-proclaimed music festival at sea will feature 20-plus acts over two December trips, one to the Bahamas and one to Jamaica. Each leg will depart from   Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

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