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“Youth must be served”: Diverse, green Coachella draws positive reaction

After a stormy start, the second weekend of the 2018 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival received a favourable reaction from the nearly 125,000 people on site, according to local media, with music fans responding positively to bookers’ hip hop-heavy, youth-focused programming.

Promoted by AEG’s Goldenvoice, Coachella – which traditionally marks the beginning of the international festival season – returned to the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California for its 19th outing on 13–15 April and 20–22 April, with the Weeknd, Beyoncé and Eminem headlining.

Coachella weekend two got underway on Friday morning (20 April), after revellers were turned away from campsites on Thursday evening owing to intense winds. (Many camped out in the car park of Indio’s Walmart, holding a mini festival of their own,‘Walmart-chella’.)

Coachella has been split into two weekends since 2012, and while there are only minor differences in the music at each (mainly when it comes to special appearances), weekend two is widely regarded as the quieter of the two, with fewer celebrities flaunting their outfits for the ’gram and arguably more ‘real’ music fans, along with an increased number of industry guests.

Headliner Beyoncé largely repeated her performance from the first weekend, once again ‘turning Coachella into Beychella’ with the help of her former Destiny’s Child bandmates, although Japanese rock act X Japan simultaneously gave a strong performance in the Mojave tent, joined by special guest Marilyn Manson.

Temperatures were also higher for Coachella 2018’s second outing, reaching more than 90°F (33°C) compared to the low to mid-80s the previous weekend.

Following AEG UK’s events in banning plastic straws, the festival additionally notable for its ban on single-use plastic straws, phasing them out in favour of paper. “Plastic pollution is a huge problem around the world, and it’s exciting to pioneer change by phasing out the use of single-use plastics from our festivals,” says Mapi Moran, Goldenvoice’s director of festival marketing.

The eclectic line-up drew “an appreciative crowd that looks different from other years”

“Our new straw policy is estimated to eliminate about 300,000 plastic straws from Coachella and Stagecoach. We look forward to announcing similar initiatives later that go beyond just plastic straws.”

According the Desert Sun, Goldenvoice founder Gary Tovar described the audience for Coachella 2018 as a “new generation” of festivalgoers. The “youth must be served”, he said, referencing the urban-focused music line-up – which included fellow headliners Eminem and the Weeknd, along with Post Malone, Vince Staples, Tyler the Creator, Migos (pictured) and Cardi B.

And served the youth were, with the eclectic line-up drawing “an appreciative crowd that looks different from other years”, writes Desert Sun reporter Bruce Ferrier. “It seemed the diverse bands booked by Goldenvoice were attracting diverse audiences.”

“When a singer with Los Angeles Azules proclaimed, ‘We have no wall here’ in Spanish, cheers erupted from the crowd,” he continues.

“Singer Maria Conway of the Marias, dressed in a glittering gown in front of a quintet of guys wearing red suits and white open-collar shirts, mixed English and Spanish-language dream pop-rock in the Sonora tent. She noted there are 167 acts on the Coachella bill and 15 [are] Latino [or] Latino-led. ‘I’m so proud to be part of that,’ she said.”

Goldenvoice has yet to release audience figures from the festival, but CEO Paul Tollett said before the event he expects similar numbers to 2017, when all 250,000 tickets sold out, making it the highest-grossing festival in the world.

Coachella will return for its 20th-anniversary event next April.

 


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Coachella 2018: Valley braces for boom as festival season begins

Local businesses in California’s Coachella Valley are stocking up in preparation for this weekend’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, the star-studded 125,000-cap. phenomenon that traditionally marks the start of the international festival season.

Promoted by AEG’s Goldenvoice, the event returns to the Empire Polo Club in Indio for its 19th outing on 13–15 April and 20–22 April, with the Weeknd, Beyoncé and Eminem headlining. Around 250,000 tickets were sold for Coachella 2017, making it the highest-grossing festival in the world, and Goldenvoice chief Paul Tollett expects similar numbers this year – as do the small businesses set to take advantage of the event’s huge economic impact.

According to the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership, last year’s festival season brought in $400 million to the Coachella Valley, and $700 million to the surrounding region.

Richard Thomas, GM of Indio’s LG Desert Store, tells local radio station KMIR extra foot traffic not only comes from festivalgoers but also the thousands of employees the event hires. “Police come by, security guards come by, the truckers come by,” he comments. “We will even have an artist drop by every once in a while.”

Chamber of Commerce president Joshua Bonner says Coachella makes up for the slower summer months of business: “Sitting at the end of the [winter] season helped to really expand the shoulder all the way to April, and that’s a massive impact on our economy in every level.”

Commenting on the reaction to Coachella 2018’s hip hop-heavy line-up – in addition to the headliners, Post Malone, Vince Staples, Tyler the Creator, Migos and Cardi B feature prominently –Tollett tells the Desert Sun: “I don’t like when there’s an instant review of a line-up. I wish there was a 60-minute cool-down period of people to be able to click through everything. ”

“It has a massive impact on our economy in every level”

He concedes that “the last couple years we’ve been going a little heavier on hip-hop”, but says it’s “just that this is what it turned out to be. We’ve had all rock headliners before. We’ve had different things. It’s not forever.”

Representing the older demographic, meanwhile, are electronic music pioneer Jean-Michel Jarrre, former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne, UK jazz-funk outfit Jamiroquai and Chic’s Nile Rodgers.

By far the biggest name on the bill, however, is Beyoncé, who pulled out last year on the advice of doctors. Tollett says he’s breaking his own rule on not booking artists already playing in LA in order to get the new mother back to Indio for 2018.

“The Beyoncé story dominates everything,” he says. “She saw her husband play here [in 2010] and came back as a fan. So did Jay-Z. They’ve been friends of the festival. We actually had a blast with them.

“So, she gets pregnant. Twins. Cancellation. Because of the timing of her postponing to this year, they had a whole tour set up, her and Jay-Z. Generally, I won’t let an artist announce a local [Los Angeles] show if they’re playing Coachella. I want them to concentrate on this show. That was the intent here, too, until I started thinking: There have just been so many extenuating circumstances on this one. I can’t even add them all up.

“I’m not looking to put lines in sand right now on Beyoncé. She’s been great to us.”

Coachella 2018 takes place on 13–15 April and 20–22 April.

 


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No Desert Trip 2017, says Goldenvoice’s Tollett

Despite grossing in excess of US$150 million and spawning an imitator in the form of Live Nation’s The Classic, Goldenvoice’s Desert Trip megafestival will not return this summer, Goldenvoice’s Paul Tollett has confirmed.

“We’re not doing Desert Trip this year,” Tollett, the CEO of the AEG-owned promoter and co-founder of Coachella, tells Billboard. “We loved [the] 2016 Desert Trip; that was a special moment in time. Maybe someday in the future we’ll do something similar.”

“Maybe someday in the future we’ll do something similar”

There had been widespread speculation Goldenvoice would try to repeat the success of 2016’s inaugural event, which was dubbed ‘Oldchella’ for its heritage line-up of The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Roger Waters and The Who.

In addition to delivering an estimated $160m for AEG, Desert Trip contributed $250m worth of economic impact to the surrounding area in Indio, California, around the festival.

 


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