Americans have been suffering from what has been dubbed, “The Great Recession,” for damn near a decade now. Spending habits have been altered, jobs have been lost, and an all around less consumer-friendly environment exists as a result. Recent polls have shown that most Americans spend less and work more in an attempt to counteract the detrimental career implications that have developed since 2001. Companies, as well, have changed business strategies to pander to their respective markets.
Amidst the depravity and decay of American materialism, however, one star shines brighter than ever. Indeed, the new epicenter of the American Dream is the ‘Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.’ Goldenvoice (a subsidiary of AEG Live) will throw down its three day festival at the Empire Polo Fields in Indio, California for the twelfth time this Friday, April 15, 2011. And I will be there.
In 2010, Coachella set attendance records with 75,000 people per day but experienced issues with traffic congestion, security problems, and counterfeit ticketing. These problems led co-founder Paul Tollett to worry about a possible backlash when tickets went on sale for this year’s festival. Put that worried head to bed, Paul.
Coachella sold out in six (6) days this January; just weeks after Pollstar reported that ticket sales for the top fifty (50) concert tours around the globe dropped fifteen (15) percent in 2010.
A sold out festival comes as no surprise to anyone who has ever taken the opportunity to experience the pure magic that is Coachella. Seriously, check out the ridiculous lineups and massive art galleries that are provided! Coachella relentlessly gathers top-quality entertainers of all sorts for a more than reasonable price. With five (5) stages, a DoLab, and a late-night tent, festival goers are apt to scope more than one hundred (100) artists over the weekend. This doesn’t even take into account the mounds of art and erratic behavior that can be witnessed from every angle, at any moment. (For a virtual tour of Coachella 2010 click here: virtual tour).
Music festivals are inherently risky endeavors and require a lot of legal planning. Real estate issues, license/lease arrangements, governmental entitlement and permitting, environmental clearance and compliance, governmental regulation, such as sound ordinances, copyright, trademark, and right of publicity issues, among others, abound. Most importantly, however, promoters are exposed to liability for personal injuries.
In fact, ‘Electric Daisy Carnival’ will be moved from the Coliseum in Los Angeles (its home) to Las Vegas this summer, due to California legislation seeking to outlaw outdoor electronic concerts. The bill was spurred by the death of a fifteen-year-old girl who died from an ecstasy overdose following the concert last July. The parents of Sasha Rodriguez have since filed a $5M claim against the Los Angeles Commission and plan to sue Insomniac Events, the co-promoter of EDC, as well.
That aside, Coachella has been lucky to escape any massive lawsuits (although it has produced some: see Sly Stone’s Rant against Jerry Goldstein) or lacking interest correlating with the economic downturn. This weekend serves to be another momentous occasion for all involved. Indeed, much fun in the sun will be had. Clear skies and temperatures in the mid 90s during the day, and 60s at night, will provide perfect weather to accompany a perfect vacation.
To the poor souls who are missing out, I say, your loss. You will always kick yourself for neglecting the words of advice implicit in this phrase: If you have to ask, you’ll never know.
But it’s right before finals. So what? I have no money. And?
Saddle up and put it on the credit card. I mean, it’s free money, am I wrong? Just like student loans…