Is Coachella leaving Coachella?
Isn’t it weird that the Coachella festival is in Indio and not Coachella? Granted, its name is the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, but every year it gets more and more styled, falling further away from its original name. From Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, to Coachella Fest, to Coachella, and then to “Chella.” It doesn’t matter what you call it or who is performing, people flock to it like an emerging lifestyle trend. For some people, it is a lifestyle.
The reality is, the festival itself is growing too big for Indio.
In March 2012, Goldenvoice bought 280 acres surrounding the Empire Polo Club (the Coachella site), but not the Empire Polo grounds itself.
Roughly six months after acquiring the land, Goldenvoice faced issues as the city of Indio wanted to tax the festival an additional 18-36 dollars per ticket. After threatening to leave the city and move the festival elsewhere, Indio backed down.
This might have been where the proverbial fire started, forcing Goldenvoice to move into a direction that has probably been at the back of the promoter’s minds for years. A move so large that only the most careful planning and strategizing, and a little bit of luck, would allow them to pull off their next act.
An economic impact report estimated that the festivals brings in roughly $212 million in revenue for the Indio area each year. With Goldenvoice creating this revenue stream, it would only make sense for them to want to be a player in the industry where they are thinking bigger than just the festival and Indio.
Amusement and theme parks have capitalized already on this idea by throwing festival-like events inside their grounds, and banking on the residual kick down (or up) of all additional money on food, lodging, and pleasure being spent entirely in-house.
Could we see the Coachella festival heading down a similar path? I have some theories…
Just over a year ago, Skip Paige, former COO for Goldenvoice, left the company for early retirement. This is all public knowledge, therefore this is a mixture of public record, speculation, and a few friendly sources.
A few weeks ago, 320 acres of land next to Joshua Tree Lake was purchased for 775,000 dollars. If you don’t believe me, you can view the property here.
My sources tell me that the land is zoned for amusement parks, and talks are circulating about it being the future site for some pretty big festivals and events. While technically not the biggest music festival in the world, it’s easily the most important for the acts playing, and maybe Glastonbury, but there isn’t anything that tells you you’ve quite made it like playing the main stage at Coachella. In turn, what could be big enough to fill up the type of space purchased other than the Coachella festival?
Goldenvoice has always been very secretive about their moves, and maybe Skip Paige left to start creating “Coachellaland.“ Where you can take a monorail to the different stages, or ride roller coasters in between sets, or even stay at hotels on the grounds itself all while being high as fuck on drugs. Oh, and selfies too.
I mean isn’t that what EDC has banked on? They have created a little amusement park inside of a music festival? Where EDC has decided to globalize the brand and take it both nationally and internationally, maybe Coachella will take the opposite approach—domesticate itself and build the amusement park around the music.
Looks like Joshua Tree’s economy is about to get a shot of adrenalin to the heart.