The crowd in the dance tent at Coachella in 2012. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles…)
Tickets for the first weekend of this year's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival reportedly sold out within 15 minutes, even as computer users reported widespread issues in attempting to purchase weekend passes.
Long wait times and site crashes plagued those attempting to purchase tickets for the more-in-demand April 12 weekend of the desert festival in Indio, Calif. Tickets for the weekend of April 19 still appeared available at the time of this posting.
There was, however, a happy ending for many. Tickets for April 12 continued to be purchased up to two hours after they were said to be sold out. It's not entirely uncommon for tickets to reenter the purchase queue after an event is said to be sold out, as not everyone who places tickets in an online shopping cart will ultimately buy them.
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Early Tuesday, tales of ticketing woes filled the Coachella Facebook page, with many reporting that the festival's ticket agency Front Gate would log users out or fail to load once a user's credit card info had been entered. One user encapsulated the issues: "In cart, payment info entered, submit.. and then it times out and I lose the tickets in the cart."
Here at The Times, Pop & Hiss watched one Coachella hopeful enter her payment information for the first weekend's show a total of four times, with Front Gate crashing at the point of purchase each time. Ultimately, she was able to purchase tickets at 12:15 p.m., long after the weekend was said to be sold out.
Heading into today's on-sale, it was unknown how many tickets remained for Weekend 1, but those briefed and not authorized to speak for the company characterized it as "nearly sold out." Coachella has sold out three years running, and the bulk of tickets for the two upcoming Coachella weekends were sold in May of last year.
This morning, those attempting to buy tickets for the festival's first weekend were also required to purchase a shuttle pass, bringing the total cost of one pass to $399.
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Front Gate is owned jointly by AEG Live, of which Coachella promoter Goldenvoice is a subsidiary, and C3 Events, which is responsible for the Austin City Limits and Lollapalooza festivals.
Even as users were having trouble giving Front Gate their payment information, the company tried to calm nerves. In response to multiple users reporting site crashes, Front Gate's official Facebook account posted, "Oh there are SO many people buying. Hang tight, try again in a minute.... THANKS for all your patience!"
This year, Blur will be joined by reunited countrymates the Stone Roses, plus the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, rock legend Lou Reed, French pop band Phoenix and Trent Reznor's How to Destroy Angels at the dual Coachella festivals, set for the weekends of April 12 and April 19 in Indio.
Other upper-tier artists include the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Modest Mouse, a double-dose of Nick Cave (performing with Grinderman and the Bad Seeds), Yeasayer and Skrillex project Dog Blood.
Held at the Empire Polo Grounds since its 1999 inception, Coachella has a reputation for presenting a heavily curated lineup that connects the dots among hitmakers, underground artists and those on the comeback trail, all within a unique desert setting that’s increasingly becoming more resort-like, with upscale options to match (at the highest end of the VIP configurations, there are $6,500 air-conditioned tents).