The 2012 Coachella crowd. (Arkasha Stevenson / Los…)
A final decision on Goldenvoice's proposal to keep the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in the desert city of Indio through at least 2030 may not be reached until March of 2013. Indio, which lies about 23 miles east of Palm Springs, has contracts in place with Goldenvoice for Coachella and the Stagecoach Country Music Festival through next year.
The city will host a public meeting on Tuesday to allow residents to air concerns about the promoter's bid for the extension and expansion. Indio's planning manager, Joseph Lim, said the city was collecting public comments through Oct. 1, after which time there will be a 45-day review period.
Goldenvoice's bid, which currently calls for the addition of two festival weekends in the fall, will then go before the Indio City Council in January.
"This is the period that if the public has comments they need to be sure to address them," Lim said, adding that he's already received "lots of comments for and against" Goldenvoice's plans for expansion.
"No one," Lim said, appears to oppose a long-term agreement between the city and Goldenvoice for the festivals. This year Coachella expanded to two weekends, and will be staged over two weekends in April of next year. Most community concerns, said Lim, lie with the promoter's request to add two festival weekends in the fall.
Of the potential fall events, one could at least conceivably be on par with the size of Coachella's two weekends in the spring, allowing for an increased maximum capacity of 99,000 people. The other fall event would cater to 75,000 people. Lim said it's too early to speculate on what kind of music would be showcased at the fall events, although he noted Goldenvoice has discussed adding a jazz and blues event or a Latin music festival.
The promoter has kept quiet on the bid and long-term plans.
Coachella launched in October 1999 and has been staged in the spring annually since 2001. In 2007, it was joined by Stagecoach. Early responses from the community, said Lim, indicate residents would have less of an issue with another Stagecoach-like event.
The 2012 edition of Stagecoach, though with a capacity of 65,000 versus Coachella's 95,000 per weekend, actually accounted for more arrests over comparable time periods. Indio police reported more than 170 arrests over Stagecoach's three-day weekend, which compared to 134 arrests on the first weekend of Coachella, and 102 on its second weekend, mostly for a combination of alcohol and drug issues.
"Some of it is perception," said Lim, who added that residents feel most issues related to Stagecoach happen on-site, whereas the larger Coachella crowd results in more off-site problems. He said Indio is working on gathering statistics for on-site and off-site arrests for each event and hopes to present them to the community in the near future.
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