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Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
Music Festival
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is an annual music and arts festival held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, located in the Inland Empire’s Coachella Valley, in the Colorado Desert.
Address: 81-800 Avenue 51, Indio, CA 92201
Attendance: 198,000 (2016, two-weekend total)
Location: Empire Polo Club, Indio, California, United States
Dates: Apr 14 – Apr 23, 2017
Phone: +1 855-771-3667
Founded by: Paul Tollett and Rick Van Santen
Instances: 2017 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, More
Genres: Rock music, Independent music, Hip hop music, Electronic dance music
Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
Coachella valley music and arts festival logo.png
Coachella 2012 weekend 2 day 2 sunset.jpg

Coachella in 2012
Genre Rock, indie, hip hop, EDM
Dates Consecutive 3-day weekends in April (currently)
Location(s) Empire Polo Club
81-800 Avenue 51
Indio, California 92201
Years active 1999, 2001–present
Founded by Paul Tollett and Rick Van Santen
Attendance 198,000 (2016, two-weekend total)



The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (commonly referred to as Coachella or the Coachella Festival) is an annual music and arts festival held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, located in the Inland Empire’s Coachella Valley, in the Colorado Desert. It was co-founded by Paul Tollett and Rick Van Santen in 1999, and is organized by Goldenvoice, a subsidiary of AEG Live. The event features musical artists from many genres of music, including rock, indie, hip hop, and electronic dance music, as well as art installations and sculptures. Across the grounds, several stages continuously host live music. The main stages are the: Coachella Stage, Outdoor Theatre, Gobi Tent, Mojave Tent, and Sahara Tent; a smaller Oasis Dome was used in 2006 and 2011, while a new Yuma stage was introduced in 2013 and a Sonora stage in 2017.
On November 5, 1993, Pearl Jam performed for almost 25,000 fans at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California.The site was selected because the band refused to play in Los Angeles as a result of a dispute with Ticketmaster over service charges applied to ticket purchases.The show established the polo club’s suitability for large-scale events; Paul Tollett, whose concert promotion company Goldenvoice booked the venue for Pearl Jam, said the concert sowed the seeds for an eventual music festival there.

1999, 2001–2002

On October 9–10, 1999, the inaugural Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival was held. Headlining the event were Beck, the Chemical Brothers, Tool, Morrissey, and Rage Against the Machine; other acts included Jurassic 5 and Underworld. Originally, promoters had hoped to make the event three days (Friday to Sunday) and even considered the UK band Massive Attack as the third-day headliner.The organizers strived to recreate European music festivals with small crowds in a great setting with plenty of turntables. By booking acts based on artistry rather than radio popularity, Coachella earned the title of “the anti-Woodstock”.

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The 2003 festival featured Red Hot Chili Peppers and Beastie Boys, as well as the reunited Iggy Pop and The Stooges, and drew the largest crowd yet, with 60,000 people attending.The event began to develop worldwide interest and began to become nationally known. It was also the first year on-site camping was provided,improving accessibility as a destination music festival for concertgoers.


Daft Punk’s performance at Coachella 2006 is frequently cited as one of the most memorable in the festival’s history.

The 2006 event featured headliners Depeche Mode and Tool. Two of the most popular performances were Madonna, who played in an overflowing dance tent, and Daft Punk, whose show featuring a pyramid-shaped stage is cited as one of the most memorable performances in Coachella history.Other performers included Massive Attack, Scissor Sisters, James Blunt, and Gnarls Barkley. Around 120,000 concertgoers attended the event over two days,


On May 31, 2011, Goldenvoice announced that beginning with the 2012 festival, Coachella would be expanded to a second, separately-ticketed weekend, with identical lineups for each.Explaining the decision, Tollett said that demand for tickets was up in 2011 even after “operations weren’t the best [they’ve] ever had” in 2010 and that he did not want to satisfy that demand by allowing additional attendees to overcrowd the venue.


A view of the ferris wheel from the polo grounds during Coachella 2015

The 2015 festival, held on April 10–12 and 17–19, featured headliners AC/DC, Jack White, and Drake, with a surprise appearance by Madonna during the latter’s weekend one performance. Other notable performers included Florence and the Machine, Marina and the Diamonds, Azealia Banks, Kaskade, Alesso, The Weeknd, Tame Impala, Interpol, Steely Dan, Alabama Shakes, alt-J, and Ryan Adams. General admission tickets again sold out in less than 20 minutes.


Panoramic view of Coachella 2014

Coachella takes place in Indio, California, located in the Inland Empire’s Coachella Valley within the Colorado Desert. Temperatures during the festival’s history have ranged from 106 °F (41 °C) on April 21, 2012, to 43 °F (6 °C) on April 14, 2012.


In 2003, Coachella began allowing tent camping as an option for festival lodging. The campground site is on a polo field adjacent to the venue grounds and has its own entrance on the south side of the venue. 2010 introduced many new features, such as re-entry from the campsite to the festival grounds, parking next to your tent, and recreational vehicle camping spots.

Talent booking

Tollett begins to book artists for each festival as early as the previous August. In addition to agent pitches and artists discovered online, the lineup is culled from acts booked by Goldenvoice for their other 1,800 shows each year. Tollett uses the promoter’s ticketing figures for insight into who to book, saying: “There are AEG shows all across the country, and I see all their show lists and ticket counts.

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Promotion and commercial partnerships

Organizers were initially resistant to accepting sponsorship deals that would help Coachella turn a higher profit. In 2003, Tollett estimated that Goldenvoice could earn an additional $300,000 to $500,000 by adding a corporate sponsor to the festival name, but he did not want to violate the purity of the event. He said, “I hate it when you go to shows and you are bombarded with all this advertising. It just shows a lack of respect for your audience and the music.” Organizers have relaxed their opposition over the years; recently, brewing.

Festival summary by year

Edition Year Dates Headliners Gross
Attendance / Sales Avg. daily
1st 1999 October 9–10
  • Beck
  • Tool
  • Rage Against the Machine
N/A 37,000 (sales) 18,500
2nd 2001 April 28 Jane’s Addiction N/A 35,000 (sales) 35,000
3rd 2002 April 27–28
  • Björk
  • Oasis
N/A 55,000 (attendance, act.) 27,500
4th 2003 April 26–27
  • Beastie Boys
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
N/A 60,000 (attendance, act.) 30,000
5th 2004 May 1–2
  • Radiohead
  • The Cure
N/A 110,000 (attendance, act.) 55,000
6th 2005 April 30–May 1
  • Coldplay
  • Nine Inch Nails
N/A 100,000 (attendance, act.) 50,000
7th 2006 April 29–30
  • Depeche Mode
  • Tool
$9 million 120,000 (attendance, act.) 60,000
8th 2007 April 27–29
  • Björk
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Rage Against the Machine
$16.3 million 186,636 (attendance, act.) 62,212
9th 2008 April 25–27
  • Prince
  • Roger Waters
  • Jack Johnson
$13.8 million 151,666 (attendance, act. 50,555
10th 2009 April 17–19
  • Paul McCartney
  • The Killers
  • The Cure
$15.3 million 152,962 (attendance, act.) 50,987
11th 2010 April 16–18
  • Jay-Z
  • Muse
  • Gorillaz
$21.7 million 225,000 (attendance, agg.) 75,000
12th 2011 April 15–17
  • Kings of Leon
  • Arcade Fire
  • Kanye West / The Strokes
$24.9 million 225,000 (attendance, agg.) 75,000
13th 2012 April 13–15
April 20–22
  • The Black Keys
  • Radiohead
  • Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg
$47.3 million 158,387 (sales) 79,193
14th 2013 April 12–14
April 19–21
  • The Stone Roses / Blur
  • Phoenix
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
$67.2 million 180,000 (attendance, act.) 90,000
15th 2014 April 11–13
April 18–20
  • Outkast
  • Muse
  • Arcade Fire
$78.3 million 579,000 (attendance, agg.) 96,500
16th 2015 April 10–12
April 17–19
  • AC/DC
  • Jack White
  • Drake
$84.2 million 198,000 (sales) 99,000
17th 2016 April 15–17
April 22–24
  • LCD Soundsystem
  • Guns N’ Roses
  • Calvin Harris
$94.2 million 198,000 (sales) 99,000
18th 2017 April 14–16
April 21–23
  • Radiohead
  • Lady Gaga
  • Kendrick Lamar


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