When the people behind the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival -- Paul Tollett and Goldenvoice -- announced they had a big announcement set for 10 a.m. today, my curiosity was piqued. I have been attending the festival for six years now, and no two years were under as much scrutiny in the festival's entire history as 2010 and 2011. The ills of 2010 were inoculated, making 2011's version a rather carefree, immensely enjoyable experience.
Much to the surprise of many, however, Coachella has announced that the festival will be held over two consecutive weekends in 2012 -- April 13-15 and April 20-22. It seems, then, that Goldenvoice is still feeling the effects from the disaster that was Coachella 2010.
One of the more prevalent initial reactions to this announcement is questioning whether or not this signals the death of Coachella. Two weekends is something Coachella has never tried -- hell, I can remember when they announced they would be expanding from two to three days in 2007. That blew my mind back then, but there seems to be something off about today's announcement of two weekends.
These two weekends of Coachella are predicated on the fact that both weekends will have the same lineup. Not to simplify things here, but how in the hell are they going to get the same artists to play the same festival two weeks in a row? Such a commitment to Coachella 2012 would have to put a rather large strain on any band's touring schedule. As well, are the bands that agree to play supposed to play the same set for both weekends? A lot of the allure of Coachella for many people who have attended the festival more than once is being able to have that shared/group experience -- being able to enjoy the same set and, subsequently, share the same memories with a complete stranger that just so happens to have the same taste in music. With two weekends, such an experience becomes a thing of the past.
Goldenvoice's reasoning behind the two weekend format has to do with 2011's version selling out in a record six days. Expanding the festival would give more concertgoers a chance to enjoy Coachella without the looming fear of yet another sellout happening. It would also help to curb the rampant scalping and resale of festival tickets. Something Goldenvoice didn't necessarily mention about Coachella 2012 is the opportunity for the promoter to make a whole hell of a lot of money. Doubling the festival would almost guarantee a doubling of the profit. While Goldenvoice, at least right now, seems diplomatic in its decision to double next year's festival's capacity, they still stand to make a tidy profit once all is said and done.
I might as well just say this right now -- after attending in Coachella in 2010, I honestly believed I would never attend the festival again. Then they went and reunited Death From Above 1979 for 2011's version, and I selfishly gave in. I didn't think 2011 would be my last time attending Coachella, but from the looks of 2012's dual-weekend format, it just might end up being that way.
Passes for the 2012 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival will go onsale this Friday, June 3, at 10 am PST. They will be the now-standard $269 for a three-day pass.