|The message at Coachella's official website|
With Kings Of Leon and Kanye West as headliners, I understand that some may choose to read that headline with a different meaning.
However, what I mean to say is that festival passes are very, very close to selling out for the 2011 edition of Coachella. UPDATE: Coachella 2011 is officially sold out.
Whenever tickets do sell out -- be it tonight or the end of this week -- 2011 will easily become the quickest sell out for the 11-year-old festival. This sleepy little music festival situated in the Palm Desert has come a long, long way since its humble beginnings. Coachella has now become, as the kids say, the "Glasto" of the U.S., referencing the popular British outdoor music festival Glastonbury that routinely sells out with ease and sees attendance numbers in the 177,000 range -- 102,000 more than Coachella.
If an American music festival had to do it, I suppose Coachella had to be the one.
For those that may not know, I have been attending Coachella for five years now. Last year's edition was perhaps my least favorite of all my years -- and that is equally as much my fault as it is the rapidly-growing festival's.
Coachella was ready for a rapid expansion, but I sure as shit wasn't. What was different about 2010 from year's past, however, was that the festival sold-out about a week prior. That means Goldenvoice, the concert promoter, had sold its allotment of 75,000 tickets before the festival even started. 2010's tickets were different, as well, from years past -- no longer would the three days of the festival be divided by day. Concert-goers now received one ticket that would gain them a wrist-band good for admission to all three days. Those fans that wanted to see, perhaps, only Sunday's lineup -- and had done so with ease in the past -- now had to fork over full-price for a three-day festival pass in the hopes of parsing out their experience to a single day. The reasoning behind all this was mainly due to concerns over single-day concertgoers snatching up surrounding hotel rooms for the entire weekend while attending just one day of festival patronage.
Tickets for the 2011 edition of Coachella went on sale this past Friday at 10 a.m. Camping passes sold out in record time, and we now have word that festival passes are dangerously close to becoming sold out, themselves. So much so, in fact, that the only festival passes available from Ticketmaster include a shuttle pass, so as to cut down on the congestion in and out of the parking lots on the festival grounds. Apparently, Goldenvoice has an agreement that they must be responsible for the shuttle transportation of 15,000 festival-goers per day
. Those purchasing their festival passes as part of the last 15,000, then, have no choice in the matter and must pay the additional $55 for the shuttle pass. Adding to this is another new feature for 2011 -- those without a festival pass or wristband will not be allowed in festival parking lots. Hell, they won't even be allowed within a mile of any Coachella festival grounds.
Estimates put already-sold passes -- as of today -- in the range of 60,000. That's roughly 60,000 tickets sold between Friday morning and this morning -- five days' time. UPDATE
: Goldenvoice's Paul Tollett has confirmed
that they had sold 51,000 tickets by Monday - compared to 11,000 at that same point last year. If you thought the "clusterfuck" that was Coachella 2010 was bad, 2011 doesn't look like its going to be much better. Kings Of Leon can be to blame for that, but they are only at the festival for one night. Goldenvoice isn't stupid, they know they can get big sales if they book a more mainstream act like KoL. Just look at Jack Johnson in 2008, Tool in 2006, Rage Against The Machine in 2007 and even Madonna in 2006. Those days all sold plenty well, and this was in the era of single-day ticket sales. Now that option doesn't exist, so the fan that wants to see KoL on Friday and could really give a rat's ass about the rest of the weekend plops down $300 for that privilege.
Due to the newer ticket policies, we have Coachella 2011 on pace to become the fastest-selling Coachella in history. The festival has shucked its humble roots and emerged as a bona-fide music behemoth. Goldenvoice and Coachella are ready for more massive crowds and, perhaps, an occasional clusterfuck come April. Question is, long-time Coachella attendee, are you?