As you probably heard a few months ago, Coachella 2011 sold out less than a week after tickets were released. Camping passes sold out, cheap(er) hotels filled up, and many west coast music fans were left without anything to do on the festival weekend.
As you may have on Tuesday, those behind the annual Indio, CA festival are working to avoid a similar occurrence with the 2012 festival. A posting on the festival’s website announced a new festival model for next year, a first for the modern industry.
Instead of offering more tickets for one Coachella weekend (the festival actually scaled back ticket sales this year due to overcrowding in 2010), Coachella 2012 will be offered over two back-to-back weekends. This announcement was posted on the festival website yesterday. More information can be found on that site. Pre-sale tickets will go on sale this Friday.
People have been chiming in with their opinions on the festival’s strange move throughout the past 24 hours on the internet, but here are some problems and benefits likely to arise as a result of the business move.
Producing an “Identical” Festival
Coachella’s website states, “We will attempt to produce two identical festival weekends. That means same lineup, same art, same place, different people.” That statement, while bold, sounds ridiculous. The whole point of a festival is that it’s a unique experience. People fly/drive/bus/walk/hitchhike to Coachella from various locations around the country each year because they wish to take part in something special, an annual gathering of musicians and fans in the otherwise isolated desert. The same is essentially true for the numerous other festivals throughout the country. If the festival is truly attempted to be recreated only a week after it takes place, it’ll likely lose much of it’s strength and allure.
Coachella seems to have failed to realize and/or acknowledge that most bands play the festival as a stop on a tour. Bands tour to make money. With a nearly week long gap between the two festival weekends, what are bands supposed to do? If they travel outside Indio just to perform in the vicinity and then travel back, they’ll likely lose significant amounts of cash on transportation alone. If they stay in the area for the week, they’re missing out on opportunities to perform in other places. It’s not as if Indio has a strong music scene capable of sustaining concerts at various venues for a few weeks like, say, Austin does with SXSW. It’ll be interesting to see how the whole situation works out, and if Coachella can succeed in securing an identical lineup both weekends.
Less Crowds, But More People
This is the reason that the festival’s promoters claim they extended Coachella to two weekends. They want more people to be able to attend. There’s no denying that, ideally, this is a good solution. If the festival is offered on two separate weekends, more people can attend while the crowds remain manageable. This will make many people happy, especially those that waited too long to buy tickets this year.
Money was likely one of the driving forces behind the promoters’ decision to extend the festival, and you can’t blame them for that. Two festival weekends means, potentially, twice as much money for the festival, the artists, the city and the surrounding hotels/businesses. It’s still going to cost a near fortune for fans to attend the festival, but that wouldn’t have changed anyways.
Time To Prepare
Pre-sale tickets go on sale THIS FRIDAY. Yes, this Friday. That’s TOMORROW. This year’s Coachella ended less than two months ago, yet the promoters are giving fans a chance to prepare for next year’s incredibly early. This is beneficial for festival goers who need time to gather money for the festival. In past years, the ticket release date hasn’t been near this far in the future. The only downside is that the lineup won’t be released for a while. But if you’re planning on attending the festival no matter what, I suggest you sign up as soon as possible to avoid a repeat of this year’s fast-selling ticket fiasco.