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Stagecoach booker talks country music’s evolution

Goldenvoice booker Stacy Vee has discussed country music’s growing influence on the wider music scene ahead of this weekend’s Stagecoach Festival.

Launched in 2007, the sold-out Californian gathering returns to Indio’s Empire Polo Club – the home of Coachella – from 26-28 April.

The genre has reached new audiences outside its traditional heartland in recent years with the advent of streaming and events such as Europe’s Country to Country, while pop superstars such as Beyoncé and Kylie Minogue have released country-tinged albums, with Lana Del Rey set to follow.

“Obviously it’s ushering in so many new fans, but also new voices,” reflects Vee, speaking to the Los Angeles Times.” People who never thought they’d make a country record are making a country record. New people are giving Nashville a chance, and in Nashville, people are giving other things a chance.

“A lot of artists are embracing it and putting their own interpretation on it. That’s something I’ve been intentionally focused on with Stagecoach, giving it its own identity, a California sound and my own interpretation of what country music is.”

“I’d love to think that we’ve been a pioneer in ushering in new voices”

Headlined by country icons Eric Church, Miranda Lambert and Morgan Wallen, Stagecoach will also feature the likes of Post Malone, Diplo, the Beach Boys and Nickelback.

“I’d love to think that we’ve been a pioneer in ushering in new voices,” says Vee. “I really rolled the dice booking Diplo for the first time. I didn’t know what Stagecoach fans would think of something like that, but he was just wildly embraced. And in 2022, I booked Nelly, and I’m like, ‘What are people gonna think about this?’

“We really do approach Stagecoach with a Coachella brain. People are really excited about the things they don’t ask for. It’s really encouraging, and I think that country music fans are much more open minded than maybe they get credit for.”

She continues: “[The Nickelback booking] is taking a chance. And I gave Post Malone a big slot on the main stage. But I don’t think I’ve read one negative comment on our socials about it. Every single person embraced Post with open arms, that he’s stepping his foot into country music. That’s what’s drawing in people like Beyoncé and Lana Del Rey. Everybody’s discovered this country music thing is really fun.”

“We’re focused on creating the country culture of tomorrow”

Stagecoach’s 2024 bill also includes Jelly Roll, Elle King, Willie Nelson, Hardy, Bailey Zimmerman, Carin León, Dwight Yoakam, Megan Moroney, Paul Cauthen, Clint Black, Ernest, Charley Crockett and Leon Bridges, among others. The festival will again be livestreamed exclusively on the Amazon Music channel on Twitch and Prime Video.

Vee, who was promoted to EVP at Goldenvoice last summer, started with the AEG subsidiary in 2002 and oversees the booking department alongside fellow EVP Jenn Yacoubian.

“The approach I take to booking Stagecoach specifically is I want to deliver to every type of country music fan,” she adds. “There are my beloved loyal Stagecoach fans who’ve been coming since 2007. I want the top-streamed, most-airplay acts selling out stadiums. I want songwriting. I want what I call ‘country curious’ people to give me a shot. People who are like, ‘Well, I don’t really like country music, but there’s Wiz Khalifa and Diplo and Post Malone and Dillon Francis and Nickelback, what’s going on over there?’

“We’re focused on creating the country culture of tomorrow. It’s the best part of my job and some responsibility, but it’s also a blast.”

 


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Coachella 2024: The critics have their say

Critics have delivered their verdicts on the opening weekend of Coachella 2024.

The Goldenvoice-promoted phenomenon made its return to the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, from 12-14 April, headlined by Lana Del Rey, Tyler, the Creator, Doja Cat and No Doubt.

The bill also features the likes of Blur, Peso Pluma, Lil Uzi Vert, Justice, Bizarrap, Deftones, ATEEZ, Everything Always, Peggy Gou, Ice Spice, Gesaffelstein, Sublime, Jungle, Dom Dolla, Bleachers, Grimes, Jon Batiste and Le Sserafim, J Balvin, Jhené Aiko, Khruangbing, Carin León, Anyma, John Summit, Lil Yachty and DJ Snake.

Innovations for this year include a new stage dedicated to dance music – the Quasar stage – which featured extended sets running for three to four hours on both weekends.

But the 125,000-cap festival had been hit by reports of slower than usual ticket sales in the run-up. Once known for selling out on the same day the lineup was released, this year it took considerably longer, leading the Los Angeles Times to question whether Coachella had “lost its shine”.

A Time article, meanwhile, investigated claims that the event had descended into the “Influencer Olympics”, given its popularity with online content creators.

Nevertheless, reviews of weekend one have been largely positive. Tyler, the Creator’s Saturday headline slot, which saw him call upon special guests Donald Glover, A$AP Rocky, Charlie Wilson and Kali Uchis, was hailed by the Guardian as “an exhilarating, high-stakes spectacle”.

The reunited No Doubt, who were joined on stage by Olivia Rodrigo, were similarly trumpeted for their “joyous, high-energy” performance by the publication, which declared the band’s singer Gwen Stefani as “MVP of Coachella so far”.

“There’s a whole generation of new stars waiting to be minted, and Coachella gives them the opportunity to make their case”

Lana Del Rey introduced Jon Batiste, Jack Antonoff and Billie Eilish on stage for her Friday night showing, duetting with the latter on Ocean Eyes and Video Games. Billboard summarised the set as “perplexing – and profound”.

Elsewhere, Uproxx described Sunday’s bill as “a bit thinner on must-see artists” but was full of praise for Doja Cat’s headline set, which featured guest appearances from A$AP Rocky, 21 Savage and Teezo Touchdown.

“Doja Cat, like Lana Del Rey, Tyler The Creator, J Balvin, and a slew of other artists to rock the stage, showed the potential still remaining to be wrought from the platform provided by Coachella,” it concludes.

“What she – and they – demonstrated was that it doesn’t take flashy streaming numbers or worldwide name recognition, so much as the imagination to prove that they belong. There’s a whole generation of new stars waiting to be minted, and Coachella gives them the opportunity to make their case.”

Other surprise guests included Shakira, who appeared during Bizarrap’s DJ set, Becky G, who guested with Peso Pluma, Paris Hilton, who joined last-minute additions Vampire Weekend, and Wizkid and Justin Bieber, who performed with Tems. There was also a Fugees reunion of sorts as Lauryn Hill and Wyclef Jean performed alongside Hill’s son YG Marley.

And in one of the festival’s more unexpected turns, reggaeton star J Balvin brought out Will Smith for a rendition of Smith’s 1997 smash Men In Black.

Meanwhile, a clip of Blur’s Damon Albarn went viral after large sections of the crowd apparently failed to follow his cues to sing along to the British group’s 1994 hit Girls & Boys. “You’re never seeing us again so you might as well fucking sing it,” complained the frontman.

Grimes also attracted attention for the wrong reasons after screaming into her microphone with frustration during her DJ set due to experiencing “major technical difficulties”.

“I want to apologise for the technical issues with the show tonight,” she later posted on X. “I wanted to come back [really] strong and usually I always handle every aspect of my show myself – to save time this was one of the first times I’ve outsourced essential things.”

Coachella 2024 concludes from 19-21 April.

 


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Coachella dips back into NFTs with new partnership

Coachella festival has announced a partnership with NFT marketplace OpenSea to launch a series of unique collections that promise to “usher in a new paradigm in the live event and ticketing industry”.

Coachella Keepsakes will serve as an “all-access pass” to exclusive festival experiences and products, utilising the Avalanche blockchain network to turn “digital assets into real-world benefits”.

Each collection pairs collectible Coachella IP artwork with benefits ranging from access to exclusive festival areas such as the VIP Rose Garden or the new Oasis Lounge, to limited edition merchandise and VIP festival passes.

“Our collaboration with OpenSea begins a new chapter in how we use NFTs to provide unique custom experiences for Coachella in real life and online,” says Sam Schoonover, innovation lead for Coachella.

“We’re moving towards a future where Coachella isn’t just an event you attend, but an experience you can own and shape based on the digital tokens in your possession. We’re enabling this future with OpenSea, a trusted and secure marketplace that helps us safely provide these new opportunities to fans.”

The first collection, titled The VIP Pass + Oasis Lounge Keepsake, launched yesterday (5 March), granting access to a 2024 VIP festival pass and the Oasis Lounge. Priced at $1,499, 1,000 were made available for purchase.

“Our partnership with Coachella represents a significant milestone, uniting the digital with the physical”

Coachella and OpenSea will release the second collection, the Canvas Welcome Box Keepsake, on 25 March, offering benefits including unique merchandise, digital content and access to the Rose Garden VIP area. The third and final drop, introducing an artist collaboration, will then follow in mid-April.

“We are thrilled to embark on this journey with Coachella, a festival that has dominated the cultural zeitgeist for over two decades,” adds Devin Finzer, CEO of OpenSea. “Since our inception in 2017, we’ve been at the forefront of the NFT revolution, witnessing firsthand the expansion of digital ownership and its evolving utilities.

“Our partnership with Coachella represents a significant milestone, uniting the digital with the physical in ways that promise to enrich the festival experience and usher in a new paradigm in the live event and ticketing industry.”

Coachella previously partnered with global cryptocurrency exchange FTX to auction off 10 lifetime passes as part of an NFT series that sold for a combined $1.5 million (€1.3m). The ‘Coachella Keys’ collection granted admission to the 125,000-cap festival in Indio, California every year, along with a unique experience. FTX filed for bankruptcy in 2022.

Lana Del Rey, Tyler, the Creator, Doja Cat and No Doubt will headline Goldenvoice-promoted Coachella’s 2024 edition. The 125,000-cap festival will return across two consecutive weekends (12-14 and 19-21 April) at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California.

 


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Goldenvoice plans new US punk festival

A new punk-centric festival is coming to the Californian city of Pomona, courtesy of AEG-backed promoter Goldenvoice.

Black Flag, Bad Religion, Iggy Pop, Misfits, Social Distortion, Turnstile and Sublime are among the acts set to perform at the event, dubbed No Values.

The one-day event will take place on 8 June at the Pomona Fairplex, across four stages. Tickets go on sale on 23 February, starting at $199 (£157, €183) for general admission, plus fees.

In the US, Goldenvoice produces several festivals, most notably Coachella, as well as operating 14 mid-sized venues and promoting over 1,800 shows per year.

The unveiling of No Values comes amid a surge of new rock and punk-centred festivals. Goldenvoice last year launched a new hard rock festival called Power Trip, at the home of Coachella.

The unveiling of No Values comes amid a surge of new rock and punk-centred festivals

Guns N’ Roses, Iron Maiden, ACDC, Ozzy Osbourne, Metallica and Tool performed at the October event at the Empire Polo Club in California.

Live Nation has also launched several new rock festivals in recent years, including Sick New World, When We Were Young, Adjacent and The World is A Vampire – the latter two via subsidiaries C3 Presents and Ocesa respectively.

Elsewhere, Australian promoter Apex Entertainment is capitalising on the genre’s boom with a new touring festival featuring rock and post-punk icons.

Pandemonium Rocks is scheduled to land in Melbourne, Sydney, Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast this April with performances from the likes of Deep Purple, Alice Cooper, Blondie, Gang Of Four and Dead Kennedys.

Read more about new festivals launching in 2024 in this IQ feature, published yesterday (21 February).

 


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Controversy over Coachella car park changes

Coachella organisers have received criticism from festivalgoers over the event’s revised parking policy.

The 125,000-cap festival will return across two consecutive weekends (12-14 and 19-21 April) at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California.

Under new rules implemented this year by promoter Goldenvoice, only vehicles with four or more people will be permitted into the day car park, “with no exceptions”.

Everyone in the vehicle must have a valid festival wristband and corresponding parking pass upon arrival, while vehicles that do not meet the requirements will be turned away and directed to a “nearby, offsite location”.

Previously, day parking was on a first-come, first-served basis, and the switch has been criticised by some ticket-holders on social media, who have questioned the logistics and rationale behind the move.

Speaking to the Desert Sun, Indio police spokesperson Ben Guitron says the city had no role in the decision.

“Anything Goldenvoice does, we’re in a partnership and want to know if there’s a significant impact”

“Anything Goldenvoice does, we’re in a partnership and want to know if there’s a significant impact… and make sure there are no traffic delays unless there are unforeseen things that sometimes happen,” adds Guitron, who points out that traffic issues often crop up on the opening day of the event.

“[The first day] is something we look at closely because that’s going to set the tone on how the rest of the concert traffic will be. We had two years where we didn’t have the festivals because of Covid, but there were a lot of street improvements, so the flow of traffic is better. We don’t see a strain unless people don’t follow the directions they’ve been given to get to the concert.”

Goldenvoice, which has long encouraged carpooling to the event, has not responded to requests for comment.

Lana Del Rey, Tyler, the Creator, Doja Cat and No Doubt will headline the 2024 edition of Coachella, which has reportedly experienced its slowest ticket sales in a decade.

While No Doubt and Sublime are reuniting for the event, festival curator and Goldenvoice president Paul Tollett revealed this week that he also attempted to get legendary American band Talking Heads back together.

Tollett told Billboard he travelled to the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival for a 40th anniversary celebration of the Talking Heads’ concert film Stop Making Sense to potentially discuss having the band perform at Coachella. Tollett says he met with the group and their representatives, but “sensed there were no shows happening, so I didn’t make an offer”.

 


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Coachella reveals 2024 lineup

Lana Del Rey, Tyler, the Creator, Doja Cat and No Doubt have been revealed as headliners of Coachella 2024.

Promoted by AEG’s Goldenvoice, the 125,000-cap festival will run across two consecutive weekends (12-14 and 19-21 April) at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, US.

General admission three-day ticket prices range from US$499-599 (€459-551). A presale starts Friday (19 January) at 11am PT.

Del Rey, who is represented by CAA in North America, will headline the opening day of each weekend, which will also feature Peso Pluma, Lil Uzi Vert, Justice, Bizarrap, Deftones, ATEEZ, Everything Always, Peggy Gou and Young Miko, among others.

WME client Tyler, the Creator will then be joined on days two and five by the likes of Blur, Ice Spice, Gesaffelstein, Sublime, Jungle, Dom Dolla, Bleachers, Grimes, Jon Batiste and Le Sserafim.

And Doja Cat, who is booked by CAA worldwide, will close both weekends, with acts such as J Balvin, Jhené Aiko, Khruangbing, Carin León, Anyma, John Summit, Lil Yachty, DJ Snake, Ludmilla and The Rose also featuring on the bill.

“Things have changed so much now, people want to book a year in advance. I don’t want to, I want to wait and see what’s out there”

No Doubt, whose name appears at the bottom of the lineup poster with no show dates given, will be performing together for the first time since 2015. Other acts announced include AP Dhillon, Bebe Rexha, Bicep, Sabrina Carpenter, Skepta, Steve Angello, Faye Webster, Raye, Victoria Monét, Gorgon City, Charlotte de Witte, Taking Back Sunday, Purple Disco Machine and Orbital.

The 2023 edition of Coachella was headlined by Bad Bunny, Blackpink, Frank Ocean and Skrillex, Fred Again.. and Four Tet. Blink-182 stepped in for Ocean after the singer withdrew from Coachella weekend two on doctor’s orders.

Granting a rare interview to Australia’s inaugural SXSW last autumn, Goldenvoice boss Paul Tollett said he preferred not to plan the lineup too far ahead of time.

“It’s a rolling 90-day masterplan,” he said. “Things have changed so much now, people want to book a year in advance. I don’t want to, I want to wait and see what’s out there.

“I never say, ‘In the next three years, I’m changing it to this,’ it just changes. As it goes you look back and go, ‘Oh it changed over the last three years.’ You do it by the music. The music is leading the culture. You just start seeing trends when you look back.”

Goldenvoice’s Stagecoach country music festival takes place at the same Indio venue the weekend following Coachella (26-28 April). Headlined by Eric Church, Miranda Lambert and Morgan Wallen, the event is already sold out.

 


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Paul Tollett on Coachella’s past, present & future

Goldenvoice boss Paul Tollett has opened up on the evolution of Coachella and offered a glimpse into the future of the event in a new interview.

Bad Bunny, Blackpink, Frank Ocean and Skrillex, Fred Again.. and Four Tet headlined the most recent edition at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, back in April, which also featured acts such as Calvin Harris, Gorillaz, Burna Boy, Blink-182, the Chemical Brothers, Blondie, Rosalia, Eric Prydz, The Kid Laroi, Charli XCX and Björk.

The US festival’s co-founder Tollett was joined by AEG’s global touring SVP Michael Harrison for an ‘in conversation’ session at the inaugural SXSW Sydney last week in Australia.

Tollett revealed that Coachella was unlikely to grow beyond its current 150,000-capacity – in person at least.

“I don’t know it needs to be bigger,” said Tollett, who highlighted the event’s long-running livestreaming deal with YouTube as a means for it to expand its audience without increasing on-site capacity.

YouTube livestreamed performances from all six stages at Coachella, on both weekends of the festival, for the first time this year and Tollett credited the partnership – along with international headliners such as Blackpink – with extending the brand’s global reach.

“Things have changed so much now, people want to book a year in advance. I don’t want to, I want to wait and see what’s out there”

“All of a sudden you have the biggest artist in that region. And what it does is, it just gets everyone watching from that area,” he said. Coachella wasn’t really that well known in Asia. Now, everyone in Indonesia follows it, not just Korea. It became a thing where no matter what country you’re in, you could watch it like it’s your show.”

Tollett said the first two Coachellas, held in 1999 and 2001, lost a million dollars after attracting just 17,000 and 21,000 fans respectively, reports Audience Republic.

In its first decade, Tollett added, he didn’t start booking the line-up until around six months before the event, and still believed in not planning too far ahead of time.

“It’s a rolling 90-day masterplan,” he said. “I haven’t even finished booking next April’s show, and it announces in January. Things have changed so much now, people want to book a year in advance. I don’t want to, I want to wait and see what’s out there.

“I never say, ‘In the next three years, I’m changing it to this,’ it just changes. As it goes you look back and go, ‘Oh it changed over the last three years.’ You do it by the music. The music is leading the culture. You just start seeing trends when you look back.”

Coachella is scheduled to return over two weekends from 12-14 & 19-21 April 2024.

“There’s a growing trend out there between managers, agents, promoters, who like to do these multi-year, multi-cycle deals”

LA-based Australian promoter Harrison, meanwhile, who made the switch from Frontier Touring five years ago, discussed how global touring deals had changed the live music landscape.

“There’s a growing trend out there between managers, agents, promoters, who like to do these multi-year, multi-cycle deals,” he said. “What that allows you to do is have longer periods of time where a promoter is engaged with an artist, and you can really get involved and invest in their growth campaigns by touring.”

A celebration of the tech, film and music industries South By Southwest (SXSW) made its debut in Sydney, Australia from 15-22 October, and featured 400 sessions and more than 700 speakers from around the world, including Nicole Kidman, Naomi Watts, Chance the Rapper and Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker.

In addition, the SXSW Sydney Music Festival took place across locations including the Hollywood Hotel, the Lansdowne and Lord Gladstone, hosting more than 250 artists and over 300 performances.

The official annual Asia Pacific instalment of the US conference and showcase festival, SXSW Sydney was a collaboration with promoter TEG, the NSW government and tourism agency Destination NSW.

The next edition of SXSW’s flagship US event is set for Austin, Texas between 8-16 March 2024.

 


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Jenn Yacoubian and Stacy Vee named Goldenvoice EVPs

AEG Presents has named Jenn Yacoubian and Stacy Vee as executive vice presidents of its subsidiary, Goldenvoice.

The pair will oversee the booking department at Goldenvoice, in addition to continuing their roles as talent buyers for their respective festivals and venues, reporting to the president of Goldenvoice Paul Tollett.

Yacoubian joined Goldenvoice in 2009 and is currently a national touring talent buyer and the primary talent buyer for the Greek Theatre Los Angeles and Splash House festival. She is also one of the core members of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival booking team and the producer and booker for the Los Angeles festival Cruel World.

Vee started with Goldenvoice in 2002 and is currently responsible for producing and booking the Stagecoach and Just Like Heaven festivals, as well as consulting on booking strategy across many of the festivals in AEG Presents’ global portfolio.

“They have built extraordinary careers here and I couldn’t be happier to elevate them both”

“Goldenvoice is a company that has endlessly supported my creativity and career growth,” says Jenn Yacoubian, “I am beyond honoured, and excited, to be in a position of leadership, where I now get the opportunity to support and nurture the next generation of rising stars at GV.”

Stacy Vee adds: “It is a privilege to play such an important part in the ongoing growth, creative strategy and success at Goldenvoice. I am inspired by the people and culture around me every day and look forward to continuing to push boundaries in a leadership role at this company.”

Paul Tollett comments: “Stacy and Jenn play a large part in the culture of Goldenvoice. They have built extraordinary careers here and I couldn’t be happier to elevate them both to executive vice president.”

Goldenvoice is a subsidiary of AEG and one of the world’s biggest promoters. The company produces several festivals, operates 14 mid-sized venues and promotes over 1,800 shows per year.

 


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Tyler, the Creator’s festival returns from hiatus

Tyler, the Creator’s Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival will be returning to Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium (cap. 56,000) on 11 and 12 November.

The LA-based festival has been on hiatus since 2020, due to the pandemic and the increase of festivals that followed, along with the rapper’s busy touring schedule.

The 2019 lineup included performances from Solange, YG, FKA twigs, Juice WRLD, Brockhampton, H.E.R., Daniel Caesar, and surprise guest Drake — who was infamously booed offstage by a crowd that was expecting Frank Ocean.

The LA-based festival has been on hiatus since 2020, due to the pandemic and the increase of festivals that followed

Camp Flog Gnaw Festival was last held 9-10 November, after switching locations to Dodger Stadium from Exposition Park the year before. Kanye West, Kid Cudi, Lana Del Rey, SZA, and the late Mac Miller have all been on the lineup in previous years.

The Goldenvoice-produced festival first launched back in 2012 with Odd Future and Lil Wayne at Club Nokia in LA and was tagged as the OFWGKTA Carnival, in reference to the hip-hop music collective that was home to Tyler, Ocean, Earl Sweatshirt and many others.

The lineup for the 2023 event will be announced at a later date. A limited number of advance sale passes will be available starting 2 June.

 


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Skrillex, Fred Again, Four Tet to close out Coachella

Skrillex, Fred Again.. and Four Tet are teaming up again to close out weekend two of Coachella this Sunday (23 April).

The Goldenvoice-promoted festival took to social media today (21 April) to break the news, confirming that the three Wasserman Music-repped acts will assume the ‘TBA’ slot after Blink 182 on the main stage on Sunday.

All four acts were confirmed for the closing slots after Frank Ocean withdrew from Coachella weekend two on doctor’s orders due to leg fractures sustained by the singer.

The Goldenvoice-promoter festival took to social media today to break the news

Coachella was in a similar position last year when Ye (formerly known as Kanye West) pulled out shortly before the festival’s opening day. Swedish House Mafia, who were already on the bill in a headlining but unlisted time slot, played a tag-team set with the Weeknd in the rapper’s place.

This Sunday’s closing set with Skrillex, Fred Again.. and Four Tet comes after the trio teamed up for a five-hour set at Madison Square Garden (21,000) in New York in February.

Prior to that, they joined forces for a run of three surprise shows in three nights at Camden’s Electric Ballroom (cap. 1,500), Electric Brixton (1,700) and the art deco Troxy (3,100) in London.

 


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