BY ANDRES DIAZ
Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival tickets went on sale Jan. 6, and what some people saw seemed to surprise them. The ticket for general admission was no longer $375, but $399. “That’s crazy” or “wow I can’t believe that” could be read on social media by likely future attendees. Others seemed not to care and went ahead to buy their passes.
However, I don’t think those who complained really understand what Coachella has come from and how Goldenvoice has beat all odds.
This music festival has been around for nearly two decades. The first show was on Oct. 9-10, 1999, which shadowed Woodstock ’99 in July 22-25, whose event organizers attempted to recreate an experience like 1969, but was disfigured by violence, fires, and rapes. So the whole idea of having a music festival less than three months after was dominated by that outcome.
Coachella’s first show was a two-day event which sold an estimated 37,000 tickets, according to Rolling Stones Magazine.
Today, Coachella is a three-day two-weekend global sensation. In 2015, there were record-breaking ticket sales of 198,000 for both weekends, grossing approximately $84 million, according to David Rishty of Billboard Magazine.
The festival just seems to get bigger and bigger with the demand for passes growing each year. I believe it is safe to say that Coachella has come a long way from its first event, including its prices.
In 1999, Coachella sold its passes for $50 a day and even after this low price, they fell short of the overall attendance of 70,000. After the event occurred, it was well regarded among critics, Los Angeles Times saying, “[it] laid the foundation for what someday may be a legacy of its own.”
They weren’t too far off but Goldenvoice lost $800,000 that event and struggled to survive as a company for two years. In 2001, they returned and raised ticket prices to $65, but due to difficulty of booking acts, the festival was only scheduled for one day and took another loss. Then for the first time in 2002, the festival nearly broke even and things were looking better in 2004. They sold out for the first time. With the exception of 2008, each event after that produced numbers grossing higher than the year before.
Yes, ticket prices gradually rose but the level of artistry and creativity grew as well. I feel that those returning and first-time festival goers should appreciate more of what Coachella has been offering and continues to offer. From the unique experience to the awesome music there is really nothing else like it.
Speaking as someone who has only gone two years, $399 is definitely worth the price as the memories made each year are priceless.