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Founded by Paul Tollett in 1999 and organized by Goldenvoice ,which is a subsidiary of AEG Live, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which is also known simply as Coachella or the Coachella Festival, is held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California every year over two weekends and includes a music festival as well as an arts festival.
Indio is located in the Inland Empire’s Coachella Valley in the Colorado Desert, an amazing locale for a festival of any kind, and features an incredible variety of music genres including hip-hop, rock, electronic dance music, indie and more. As it’s also an art festival, there are a plethora of art installations and sculptures to be found all over the festival as well.
During the entire festival there are several stages lined up across the grounds and live music plays continuously every day. The Coachella Stage, Outdoor Theater, Mohave Tent, Sahara Tent and the Gobi Tent are the main stages at the festival and there’s also a smaller one called the Oasis Dome that was used once in 2006 and then again in 2011. In 2013 another new stage, the Yuma Stage, was also introduced.
It was actually back in 1993 that the festival actually began when the rock group Pearl Jam first performed at the Empire Polo Club. The reason they were there, ironically, was because they were boycotting all venues that were controlled by Ticketmaster at the time as they disagreed with the way they handled, well, everything. What the Pearl Jam concert did however was prove that Coachella was indeed a viable site for hosting large festivals and events, and do it profitably. This led to the inaugural festival in October 1999 and, since April 2001, it’s been an annual event. (No festival was held in 2002 due to financial reasons.)
The event has had several different formats over the years. When it started in 2001 it was only a single day event but it became a two day event in 2002 and then, in 2007 a third day was added. In 2012 a second entire weekend was added because of its popularity, mostly due to the fact that spectators were allowed to camp on the grounds beginning in 2003. This was one of several expansions and additions that were made to open the festival up to a larger audience, and it worked.
If you’re a new band trying that’s trying to establish yourself, playing at Coachella is definitely a great way to do it as they showcase new and emerging artists as well as groups that have reunited after long periods away from the music scene. This year the festival is going to feature over 180 different artists and should be, as it has been in past years, and absolutely awesome time.
Some of the most notable appearances at Coachella in the past include the fantastic Paul McCartney, Prince, Amy Winehouse, That Killers, Arcade Fire, the Strokes, the Beastie Boys, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters and, more recently, Lorde. Madonna, Kanye West and Jay-Z have also made appearances there, as well as Beck and Radiohead.
One of the reasons that these huge artists show up there to play (and mingle) with up-and-coming bands and singers is that Coachella is one of the most profitable music festivals in the country and also one of the largest and most famous. When it was held in 2010, 75,000 people showed up every day for a grand total of 225,000 attendees per weekend. In 2013 the festival grossed $67 million according to Billboard Box score, making it the highest grossing festival ever held in the United States.