The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (commonly known as Coachella, Coachellafest or Coachella Festival) is an annual three-day music and arts festival, organized by Goldenvoice (a subsidiary of AEG Live) and held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, in the Inland Empire's Coachella Valley. The event features many genres of music, including rock,indie, hip hop and electronic music as well as large sculptural art. The event has several stages/tents set-up throughout the grounds, each playing live music continuously. The main stages are: Coachella Stage, Outdoor Theatre, Gobi Tent, Mojave Tent, and the Sahara Tent (2006 and 2011 also saw the addition of a smaller Oasis Dome).
On May 31, 2011, Goldenvoice announced that the festival will be held over two separate weekends, starting in 2012. The festival is renowned for its cutting edge lineup, showcasing many of the top and up-and-coming acts in music as well as legendary artists and reunions. Notable performers include Paul McCartney, Prince, Radiohead, Dr. Dre, Oasis, Daft Punk,Roger Waters, Madonna, The Cure, Arcade Fire, Kanye West, The Black Keys, Rage Against The Machine, At the Drive-In,Beck, Gorillaz, Bjork, Nine Inch Nails, The Strokes, The Chemical Brothers, Pavement, MGMT, The White Stripes, Jay-Z,Tool, The Prodigy, and the Beastie Boys. The Coachella Music Festival has a desert setting (the city of Indio is a part of theCalifornia Desert), with daytime temperatures frequently rising to over 110 °F (43 °C).
On November 5, 1993 the rock band Pearl Jam performed before almost 25,000 fans on the lawns of Indio's previously rock-festival free Empire Polo Club. Although band management had chosen this untested and under-developed site as part of a boycott of Ticketmaster and the Southern California auditoriums it controlled, the event established the new venue's suitability for large-scale rock events. Such suitability was not a given: the grounds, essentially one vast irrigated desert lawn, sit in one of America's hottest and driest spots, and the region's lightly populated towns, while having a history as resorts, are several hours' drive from regional population centers (San Diego, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Phoenix).
Six years later, on October 9 and 10, 1999 (a mere three months after the Woodstock 99 festival) the first actual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (usually abbreviated simply as "Coachella Fest") was held. Due to Woodstock 99's fires and riots, Coachella promoters were not allowed to offer on site camping, a ban that continued until the 2002 festival.
About 25,000 people attended the two-day inaugural event, supporting headlining acts Beck, The Chemical Brothers, Tool, Morrissey, and Rage Against the Machine. Other acts included Jurassic 5, DJ Mike Hawk, and Underworld. Originally, promoters had hoped to make the event three days (Friday-Sunday) and even considered the UK band Massive Attack to be the third day headliner - but those plans never came to fruition. The event went smoothly, with the biggest complaint being the blistering heat. It is reported, however, that the event failed to generate any profit, which nearly put an end to the festival.
No festival took place in 2000, likely due to the financial troubles of the inaugural festival. In 2001, however, festival organizers decided to give it another try. They decided to move the event to April (to avoid the intense heat of the late summer), and it was only scheduled for one day, most likely due to a tighter budget. However, the 2001 organizers once again ran into some trouble organizing the festival. Just months before the event was to occur, promoters still did not have a big headliner, and the festival was once again at risk of turning a net loss. In a surprise move, promoters turned to friend Perry Farrell, and were able to bring a reunited Jane's Addiction to the main stage as the event's headlining act.
In 2002, the event once again returned to the two-day format, and saw a reunited Siouxsie and the Banshees, as well as headlining acts Björkand Oasis. The strong supporting acts helped prove to the community of Indio, California that the event was capable of bringing in money and ending without conflict.
Following the 2002 festival, Coachella began to generate large-scale interest, and the 2003 festival featuring Red Hot Chili Peppers and Beastie Boys (as well as a reunited Iggy Pop and The Stooges) drew the largest crowd yet. (This record, however, was broken by Rage Against the Machine's 2007 reunion performance which drew nearly 100,000 attendees.) Around this time, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival began to develop worldwide interest.
The 2004 event, featuring a reunion of the Pixies, as well as Radiohead, Kraftwerk, The Cure and a number of other major bands, was the event's first sellout, with 50,000 tickets sold for each Saturday and Sunday. Since then, the festival has continued to generate large draws due to strong lineups from top to bottom, including such bands as Nine Inch Nails, Coldplay, Depeche Mode, Tool, Daft Punk, and Massive Attack.
The 2007 show was extended to three days and included headliners Red Hot Chili Peppers, a reunited Rage Against the Machine, and Björk, with all three headlining for their second time. Other notable performers included Arcade Fire, which had made a memorable 2005 Coachella appearance, LCD Soundsystem, Manu Chao, a rare American performance by former Pulp-frontman Jarvis Cocker, and Scarlett Johanssonsinging with a reunited the Jesus and Mary Chain.
The 2008 event did not sell out, for the first time since 2003, while featuring headliners Prince, Roger Waters, and Jack Johnson, along with notable rare appearances from Portishead, a reunited , a reunited Love and Rockets, and a reunitedSwervedriver.
The 2009 event was hosted a week earlier than normal. The new dates were April 17, 18 and 19 with the third annual edition of the country-musicStagecoach Festival, to start the week after. The event featured notable performances such as Paul McCartney, The Cure, The Killers, My Bloody Valentine, Morrissey, Franz Ferdinand, M.I.A., who made a memorable appearance in 2005 with the first encore the festival had seen in a tent, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and rare appearances from artists Leonard Cohen and Throbbing Gristle.
From April 16–18, 2010 the festival drew a reported 75,000 spectators or more each day. Over the course of three days, the festival attracted an estimated average aggregate of 225,000 attendees, not 225,000 individuals as only 60,000+ 3 day pass tickets were sold. Headliners included Jay-Z, Muse and Gorillaz, along with LCD Soundsystem, a reunitedFaith No More, a reunited Pavement, Thom Yorke of Radiohead and his live band Atoms for Peace, Tiesto, and supergroup Them Crooked Vultures. Other notable acts were Fever Ray, Porcupine Tree, deadmau5, La Roux, MGMT, Florence and the Machine, Spoon, Bassnectar, Phoenix, Vampire Weekend, CéU, Echo & the Bunnymen, The Specials, a reunited Public Image Ltd., a reunited Orbital, a rare Plastikman live set from Richie Hawtin, Sly Stone and David Guetta.
The headlining act in 2011 was Kanye West and included performances by Mumford & Sons, a reunited Big Audio Dynamite, Arcade Fire, Kings of Leon and the Black Keysamong the 190 acts.
Each year, the festival also features interesting installation art and sculptures. Most of the pieces are interactive, and provide entertainment and eye candy for attendees walking throughout the Polo grounds. Some of the works were initially created for the Burning Man festival. In contrast to the largely non-repeating roster of musical artists represented at the festival, a few of the visual artists, such as Hotshot the Robot, Robochrist Industries, the Tesla Coil (Cauac), Cyclecide, and The Do LaB, along side avant-garde performance troupe Lucent Dossier Experience, have appeared during several consecutive years at Coachella. Another installation to the art of Coachella includes the limited edition posters produced by poster artist Emek. Emek started designing posters for the festival in 2007 and has continued to do so each year since.
On May 31, 2011, Goldenvoice announced that the festival will be held over two weekends starting in 2012.
Coachella 2012 tickets went on sale at on January 13, 2012 at 10am and were sold out by 1pm PST. During Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg's performance in the 2012 show, a projection of deceased rapper Tupac Shakur came up from under the stage and began performing "Hail Mary" and "2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted". Although often referred to by the media as a 'hologram', the projection was in fact created using the Musion Eyeliner system, which employs a version of Pepper's ghost. Following the performance, the projection disappeared. Dr. Dre had asked the permission of Shakur's mother Afeni, who said the next day that she was thrilled with the performance. A projection of another deceased rapper, Nate Dogg, was planned but Dr. Dre decided against it. Eminem, 50 Cent, Kendrick Lamar, Wiz Khalifa, Warren G, and Kurupt made unscheduled guest appearances. The 2012 edition also featured Pulp, Refused, At the Drive-In, Radiohead, The Black Keys, The Hives, Jeff Mangum, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Arctic Monkeys, Miike Snow,Afrojack, Gotye, Justice, Flying Lotus, St. Vincent, M83, Bon Iver, Kaiser Chiefs, The Shins, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Squeeze, Madness, awolnation, Fitz and the Tantrums, Santigold, Band of Skulls, A$AP Rocky, Childish Gambino, and The Weeknd.
In 2003 Coachella started to include tent camping as an option for staying at the festival. The campground site is on an adjacent polo field next to the venue grounds. The campground has its own separate festival entrance on the southside of the venue. Goldenvoice/AEG Live contracted out Kevin Lyman, owner/promoter of Warped Tour, Taste of Chaos, and Mayhem festivals, to coordinate and run the Campgrounds. Lyman's campground employees are usually his friends or employees from the Production Office of his tours.Lyman also has a series of interns come out from Citrus College, they are paid a minimal day rate and given free camping for helping work the grounds. The first year saw camping attendance around 10,000. For the 2007 festival, it was reported that camping attendance was in upwards of 17,000. The campground includes a karaoke lounge, general store, and shower trucks (semi trucks with around 6 showers in each trailer). Kevin Lyman was also contracted out to do the Stagecoach Festival camping, which is usually the weekend succeeding Coachella. 2010 introduced many new features to camping such as re-entry from the campsite to the festival grounds, parking your car next to your tent and a limited number of recreational vehicle camping spots.
The Coachella festival tries to reduce its carbon footprint on the environment every year which involves not just employees but also attendees. The festival highly promotes carpooling for its attendees which include rewards for people who participate. Attendees who choose to carpool with four or more people in one car and have the word "carpoolchella" displayed somewhere on their car have a chance to be selected by a secret spotter to win VIP tickets/pass for life for everyone in the car. In 2007 Coachella teamed up with Global Inheritance to start a 10 for 1 recycling program, in which anyone who brings ten empty water bottles will be given a fresh new water bottle for free. In 2009 the festival introduced ten dollar refillable water bottles of which purchasers would get free refills at a number of refill stations inside the festival and within the campgrounds.