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Coachella compared to Glastonbury


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6 minutes ago, Sku said:

I'm really quite surprised to learn about the "car camping" thing at Coachella. Tightly packed cars and fabric tents in hot weather... what could go wrong?

image.png.ba3fcd4fe055d4f46a69383ce4dec498.png

Pearl-clutching over tightly packed fabric tents in hot weather’s gonna do you no favours at pretty much any festival, mate. You’ll want to reach for the smelling salts when you see they even allow camper vans at Glasto 😱

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3 hours ago, Ddiamondd said:

Was there this weekend (2 — which by all accounts is the better one) and it vastly exceeded expectations. As a Glasto regular since 2003, it would be up there with my fav 3 editions of the fest.

Can post up a few thoughts / points of comparison if people are interested?

When I went at least, weekend 1 was definitely what you wanted. Weekend 2 is still great but any major surprises would usually have been done already or just aren't. Hayley Williams with Billie being an exception but then there was no AF set at all.

The weather course is the best thing.

15 minutes ago, Sku said:

I'm really quite surprised to learn about the "car camping" thing at Coachella. Tightly packed cars and fabric tents in hot weather... what could go wrong?

image.png.ba3fcd4fe055d4f46a69383ce4dec498.png

The cars at Coachella aren't that tight and tbh it's great. especially when you can keep fresh clothes in a boot so they are out the heat.

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Just now, thewayiam said:

When I went at least, weekend 1 was definitely what you wanted. Weekend 2 is still great but any major surprises would usually have been done already or just aren't. Hayley Williams with Billie being an exception but then there was no AF set at all.

Think that might have changed a bit - Kendrick, Andy Paak, Hayley and Lizzo all popped up as special guests in W2 when they weren’t there in W1, for one.

The main thing this year though was a logistical basket case for W1 which got ironed out for W2. Water ran out on the first Friday, 3hr+ queues to get out of parking, late sets and technical hitches… all made seamless for the second run. Might be a unique case for their first fest in three years but I’m very glad to have picked the second overall.

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20 minutes ago, Ddiamondd said:

Think that might have changed a bit - Kendrick, Andy Paak, Hayley and Lizzo all popped up as special guests in W2 when they weren’t there in W1, for one.

The main thing this year though was a logistical basket case for W1 which got ironed out for W2. Water ran out on the first Friday, 3hr+ queues to get out of parking, late sets and technical hitches… all made seamless for the second run. Might be a unique case for their first fest in three years but I’m very glad to have picked the second overall.

Yeah the water issue was what we heard too. I went weekend 2 btw.

Those shower sprinklers are great. Yeah we got out the car park with ease too, admittingly, I left early as we were driving Vegas. 1st and only non working festival shower that day.

See Hayley would be all I cared for there but I get what you're saying. I'd have taken the AF set though.

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Right. Back home and here are some thoughts about Coachella W2.

Anecdotes about Weekend 1 were awful and did a lot to dampen my excitement. Logistically it sounds like a bad dress rehearsal: water shortages on day 1, mental queues for merch, jams getting out of parking were upwards of 3 hours, truncated sets (including SHM x The Weeknd, which was a bust as they scrambled a solution and still blew past curfew) — and yes, influencer-geddon. I'd heard the first weekend attracts a transient and vain crowd, but the second weekend tilts older and more in-the-know, so took that advice. No AF but the decision was a correct one.

We rented a car and stayed ~30min outside of the festival in Palm Springs. Driving in/out every day is quite a freeing experience. You can pop in at midday and get the grounds all to yourself, or split for an In 'N Out Burger lunch / mosey around the mountains before heading in. The roads were clear and well staffed, it was about 10min to get onto the site and parked each day. We tried to beat the rush every night and didn't have any issue leaving at all. It's a roughly 15-20min walk from the car lot and into the site, which accumulates a good buzz (and dust in your throat: a bandana saves the day). I didn't get checked or patted down once. Could have brought in anything — that was a surprise, and a good omen. You get a friendly "welcome to Coachella" or "nah you're good" on arrival when motioning to open up your bag/pockets and waved right through.

The experience is smooth but not sanitised. There's an eye-catching ferris wheel by the entrance and lots of splashes of peppiness/colour about, so it's undeniable American, but big EDM events are much more hokey and Disneyfied than this. Obviously the booking policy caters to what's popular in the charts, which means proportionally more R&B and pop than we'd have over here, but when you sort the wheat from chaff, Gen Z-friendly superstars like Billie, The Weeknd, Doja Cat all turned in very high energy and quite feral performances. Bangers, guitar solos and flames.

It's hot. No two ways about it, it's really hot in the daytime — hovering around 31C for eight hours on the Sat and Sun. Hourly water refills are a must. Although some areas are airconned, such as the punk-heavy Sonora, and others are almost entirely shaded under massive structures, like the rap and dance-leaning Sahara. Locals who are acclimatised to the temperature had no issue getting on it, though. A lot of people floating around on weed, mdma and acid in the crowd.

The crowd was more laid-back and friendly than any fest I'd been at, including – yes – Glasto. No meatheads shoving through the crowd with beer and if you bump into or tread or someone, both parties apologise. The agginess you get in pockets of any UK fest was non-existent, no doubt helped along by the beer garden enclosures (a negative, although workable by decanting booze into flasks, and they're proximate to most main stages so you can listen/watch while you drink), the outrageous alcohol prices (a stone-cold negative, no caveat) and lack of lad rock (great).

The clientele is highly diverse across all lines. Age range was 16 to 45 with some outliers above that and a handful of little sisters becoming accompanied by their tough Angeleno brothers. Take a snapshot of the crowds for headsy acts like DJ Koze, Hot Chip, The Avalanches, Jamie xx, Turnstile, Danny Elfman, Caribou, Spiritualized, Rina, Run The Jewels, Skream etc though and it would feel indistinguishable to what we'd have over here. Caribou in particular was spilling out the 12,000-cap tent and going off hard on Saturday night, even in a five-way clash where he was arguably the least commercial act available.

The fest was full of a lot of fabulous freaks: I'd estimate a good 25%+ of the audience was queer, vastly more than we have on the farm, and people were really dressing up. LED-adorned dreamcoats, synchronised costumes, cowboy attire, racy short shorts, the works. Of course part of that is for the 'gram — and don't get me wrong, there are people taking photos everywhere, and some of them are young and female, so if that's morally upsetting to you then I wish you all the best — but you can overhear conversations in the beer gardens or food areas where people have their clashfinders or apps out, are comparing notes, getting turned onto new things. It's an authentic, if 21st century and internet-native, music crowd.

Overall, I was struck by how much it felt like early-mid '00s Glasto. There are tall, wide and weird installations and experiential areas everywhere, which feel a lot less confected than some of Glasto's recent attempts, and change colour by night which really complements the flat vista and mountains enclosing the grounds. Imagine a Block9 production standard cast across all of Glasto and you're more or less there.

But because night falls by the time of the 3rd-to-last act on each stage, and the headliners go on around 11.30pm, it really reminded me of the slightly more freewheeling and trippy Glasto evenings you used to get. The stages are much closer to one another, although sound bleed is well controlled, so you get a near-total hum of activity. The vibe at night has a similar glow to that around the Pyramid before a headliner. Again, everyone's in a good state of mind.

I appreciate the media narrative is influencer this and TikTok that, but it's the same kind of dunderheaded reporting that paints Glasto as a playground for solely posh glampers, Kate Moss-aping fashionistas or coked-up eels. What was striking is I didn't see one single person at Coachella having a bad time. And as we know from the other thread, a lot of people can't gel with Glasto at all.

Of course some grouches will never be convinced, and there's a justifiable Yank-scepticism underpinning that (h/t David), but I went in with quite low expectations and they were exceeded across the board. Anticipated a 4, got a 9. It's a pricey trip but in theory I'd go back without hesitation and reckon a lot of people here would be very pleasantly surprised.

It's not Glastonbury and never will be, because you can't accurately transpose UK drinking, raving, camping, camaraderie, humour and general festival culture to California. However, on a year like this where everything seems to fall into place, it's up there.

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Nice balanced point of view there. Lineup has swung too far for someone of my vintage but I did look on with envy watching YouTube.

1 hour ago, Ddiamondd said:

The crowd was more laid-back and friendly than any fest I'd been at, including – yes – Glasto. No meatheads shoving through the crowd with beer and if you bump into or tread or someone, both parties apologise. The agginess you get in pockets of any UK fest was non-existent,

Was 2018 when I went but came across a few gangs of knucklehead jock types. Acting like dicks in the bars and harassing women during the headliners. Probably not to the extent of some parts of G mind but was noticeable

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3 minutes ago, Badlands said:

Was 2018 when I went but came across a few gangs of knucklehead jock types. Acting like dicks in the bars and harassing women during the headliners. Probably not to the extent of some parts of G mind but was noticeable

Sorry to hear that. Anecdotally I’ve heard 2018’s crowd was jarring - deserted for a great many acts in the afternoon, rammed for Beyoncé and Eminem, no community spirit at all.

There were def jockbros in attendance this year but they kept to themselves in the bars / probably weren’t crossing over with the acts I saw anyway.

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Fascinating insights, thank you. Well written. Suspect that any coachella trip for me is unlikely however it is great to hear something positive about the place. 
 

Now, would you be able to go to Burning Man my man, and report back as per 😅

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 Some downloads from this weekend. Its the Coachella Curated material. Its a daylong broadcast going through the festival and being a little more in depth about artists and such. plenty of performances not shown in the weekend 1 webcasts and some sonora and yuma clips in there.

https://mega.nz/file/2MtkDQQB#89Qk1YzYm7qrykI2rWjyUu6CWCaYH_U9bJ676twp_Vc

https://mega.nz/file/PQtj0IqZ#j8ro4cPHfwXf8swFY6rXpyvQSMVJRKYgBSlcZ3jk_Dw

https://mega.nz/file/OZcBnSxa#EyeSjhZGLv2hCwjO_5MRB9pQZXz6ISjs1B1gSuZNcMg

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12 hours ago, chuckles07 said:

Now, would you be able to go to Burning Man my man, and report back as per 😅

Afraid I may have used up all my earnest optimism for marmite fests in one go the past weekend. Maybe in a few years.

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1 hour ago, Ddiamondd said:

Afraid I may have used up all my earnest optimism for marmite fests in one go the past weekend. Maybe in a few years.

I get it 😕.
 

Recharge the optimism and hope this summer on the farm and you will be good to go again 🦾👍

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8 hours ago, Ddiamondd said:

Afraid I may have used up all my earnest optimism for marmite fests in one go the past weekend. Maybe in a few years.

I've got one I've not mentioned on here before.

I went to Austin for a few days during sxsw in March 2019.  As someone in their 50s it was very casual and low key and we enjoyed being able to wander back to our nice apartment. 

Only went to a couple of events so very different to your intensive experience (or indeed my own visits to G), but I did have a lovely time 🙂 and Austin was a great city to visit anyway.

Got in for free to see Oh Sees and Fontaines DC (who played very loudly in a tiny room, think they were playing tons of venues in the city as they did in Glastonbury a few months later) and enjoyed being able to buy cocktails at bars with nobody waiting.  Also went to a film event for Joseph Gordon-Levitt which was a nice novelty but I think most of us just went because he's a charming mofo.

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22 hours ago, Ddiamondd said:

Right. Back home and here are some thoughts about Coachella W2.

Anecdotes about Weekend 1 were awful and did a lot to dampen my excitement. Logistically it sounds like a bad dress rehearsal: water shortages on day 1, mental queues for merch, jams getting out of parking were upwards of 3 hours, truncated sets (including SHM x The Weeknd, which was a bust as they scrambled a solution and still blew past curfew) — and yes, influencer-geddon. I'd heard the first weekend attracts a transient and vain crowd, but the second weekend tilts older and more in-the-know, so took that advice. No AF but the decision was a correct one.

We rented a car and stayed ~30min outside of the festival in Palm Springs. Driving in/out every day is quite a freeing experience. You can pop in at midday and get the grounds all to yourself, or split for an In 'N Out Burger lunch / mosey around the mountains before heading in. The roads were clear and well staffed, it was about 10min to get onto the site and parked each day. We tried to beat the rush every night and didn't have any issue leaving at all. It's a roughly 15-20min walk from the car lot and into the site, which accumulates a good buzz (and dust in your throat: a bandana saves the day). I didn't get checked or patted down once. Could have brought in anything — that was a surprise, and a good omen. You get a friendly "welcome to Coachella" or "nah you're good" on arrival when motioning to open up your bag/pockets and waved right through.

The experience is smooth but not sanitised. There's an eye-catching ferris wheel by the entrance and lots of splashes of peppiness/colour about, so it's undeniable American, but big EDM events are much more hokey and Disneyfied than this. Obviously the booking policy caters to what's popular in the charts, which means proportionally more R&B and pop than we'd have over here, but when you sort the wheat from chaff, Gen Z-friendly superstars like Billie, The Weeknd, Doja Cat all turned in very high energy and quite feral performances. Bangers, guitar solos and flames.

It's hot. No two ways about it, it's really hot in the daytime — hovering around 31C for eight hours on the Sat and Sun. Hourly water refills are a must. Although some areas are airconned, such as the punk-heavy Sonora, and others are almost entirely shaded under massive structures, like the rap and dance-leaning Sahara. Locals who are acclimatised to the temperature had no issue getting on it, though. A lot of people floating around on weed, mdma and acid in the crowd.

The crowd was more laid-back and friendly than any fest I'd been at, including – yes – Glasto. No meatheads shoving through the crowd with beer and if you bump into or tread or someone, both parties apologise. The agginess you get in pockets of any UK fest was non-existent, no doubt helped along by the beer garden enclosures (a negative, although workable by decanting booze into flasks, and they're proximate to most main stages so you can listen/watch while you drink), the outrageous alcohol prices (a stone-cold negative, no caveat) and lack of lad rock (great).

The clientele is highly diverse across all lines. Age range was 16 to 45 with some outliers above that and a handful of little sisters becoming accompanied by their tough Angeleno brothers. Take a snapshot of the crowds for headsy acts like DJ Koze, Hot Chip, The Avalanches, Jamie xx, Turnstile, Danny Elfman, Caribou, Spiritualized, Rina, Run The Jewels, Skream etc though and it would feel indistinguishable to what we'd have over here. Caribou in particular was spilling out the 12,000-cap tent and going off hard on Saturday night, even in a five-way clash where he was arguably the least commercial act available.

The fest was full of a lot of fabulous freaks: I'd estimate a good 25%+ of the audience was queer, vastly more than we have on the farm, and people were really dressing up. LED-adorned dreamcoats, synchronised costumes, cowboy attire, racy short shorts, the works. Of course part of that is for the 'gram — and don't get me wrong, there are people taking photos everywhere, and some of them are young and female, so if that's morally upsetting to you then I wish you all the best — but you can overhear conversations in the beer gardens or food areas where people have their clashfinders or apps out, are comparing notes, getting turned onto new things. It's an authentic, if 21st century and internet-native, music crowd.

Overall, I was struck by how much it felt like early-mid '00s Glasto. There are tall, wide and weird installations and experiential areas everywhere, which feel a lot less confected than some of Glasto's recent attempts, and change colour by night which really complements the flat vista and mountains enclosing the grounds. Imagine a Block9 production standard cast across all of Glasto and you're more or less there.

But because night falls by the time of the 3rd-to-last act on each stage, and the headliners go on around 11.30pm, it really reminded me of the slightly more freewheeling and trippy Glasto evenings you used to get. The stages are much closer to one another, although sound bleed is well controlled, so you get a near-total hum of activity. The vibe at night has a similar glow to that around the Pyramid before a headliner. Again, everyone's in a good state of mind.

I appreciate the media narrative is influencer this and TikTok that, but it's the same kind of dunderheaded reporting that paints Glasto as a playground for solely posh glampers, Kate Moss-aping fashionistas or coked-up eels. What was striking is I didn't see one single person at Coachella having a bad time. And as we know from the other thread, a lot of people can't gel with Glasto at all.

Of course some grouches will never be convinced, and there's a justifiable Yank-scepticism underpinning that (h/t David), but I went in with quite low expectations and they were exceeded across the board. Anticipated a 4, got a 9. It's a pricey trip but in theory I'd go back without hesitation and reckon a lot of people here would be very pleasantly surprised.

It's not Glastonbury and never will be, because you can't accurately transpose UK drinking, raving, camping, camaraderie, humour and general festival culture to California. However, on a year like this where everything seems to fall into place, it's up there.

Yup. It's not for me lineup at all now but it's not as bad as people think. That whole drinking thing too was what I said years back. If you aren't used to that heat and drinking, it will make for an unpleasant time.

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On 4/25/2022 at 9:54 AM, Sku said:

I'm really quite surprised to learn about the "car camping" thing at Coachella. Tightly packed cars and fabric tents in hot weather... what could go wrong?

image.png.ba3fcd4fe055d4f46a69383ce4dec498.png

Youre not allowed to have fires and such. And there was one fire in 10+ years of car camping which involved a lighting tower. You can have a propane stove in car camping only though.

 

@Ddiamondd wish i saw you were heading to weekend 2. Too much to read and such on here and all. The parking thing was really just on both fridays cause everyone stayed for Harry. And it depended on your parking lot. 1B is a death wish. Lot 15 and 2A are the ones. But I myself only had that issue W1 friday. The rest of the nights I left before the headliner finished and got out in no time at all.

 

Prob get to a write up tonight or tomorrow and some more photos. 

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I was at Weekend 2 and had quite a lot of fun, but it is definitely not too different from other car camping festivals I've been to in the US/Canada. Going to Glasto for the first time this summer and I'm really expecting it to be unlike anything I've ever been to.

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25 minutes ago, Suprefan said:

@Ddiamondd wish i saw you were heading to weekend 2. Too much to read and such on here and all. The parking thing was really just on both fridays cause everyone stayed for Harry. And it depended on your parking lot. 1B is a death wish. Lot 15 and 2A are the ones. But I myself only had that issue W1 friday. The rest of the nights I left before the headliner finished and got out in no time at all.

Yeah, lots 14-15-16 were a lifesaver. Heard from someone that blue was a comparative breeze and so we made 52 & Monroe our mission every day.

Glad to hear it wasn't too bad for you beyond Harry on Friday. We had pals trapped after SHM/The Weeknd on W1 but I guess the lack of competition for their set and the fact it ran late compacted the whole fest leaving at once. I enjoyed the whole experience plenty overall.

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2 hours ago, TownesMR said:

I was at Weekend 2 and had quite a lot of fun, but it is definitely not too different from other car camping festivals I've been to in the US/Canada. Going to Glasto for the first time this summer and I'm really expecting it to be unlike anything I've ever been to.

Friends who came to Glastonbury whose only previous experience was north American festivals had a fantastic time.  Apparently you have to get used to the filth though 🙂  Hoping you have a great time, I'm sure you will.

To those who did the excellent write-ups, thank you.  All we really hear usually is the media view of coachella (which is clearly about as accurate as the Daily Mail's view of Glastonbury) and it's nice to hear more from an unbiased person with experience of other festivals as comparison.

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Interview with Paul Tollet, head of Goldenvoice and founder of Coachella. Nice nuggets in there and insight on the headliner drops and such. Also a 2023 confirmation
 

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/music/story/2022-04-27/paul-tollett-coachella-2022-goldenvoice
 

Quote

As the opening weekend unfolded at the most famous music festival in the world, the pressure on promoter Paul Tollett could still be felt backstage in Indio, Calif.

In the artist compound at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Tollett, president and chief executive of Goldenvoice, ended Saturday night collapsed into an easy chair in his office trailer. Dressed in his usual jeans and black Dodgers cap, he sat beneath a ceiling fan and was becoming increasingly horizontal by the moment, as if the weight of the last two years of coronavirus delays, cancellations and controversies hadn’t yet lifted.

Things had gone well so far, with good weather (mostly below 90 degrees), a trouble-free opening day and a joyous headline set Saturday from Billie Eilish just an hour before. Tollett was happy but clearly tired, more soft-spoken than ever.

He still sounded like a fan, mentioning the Friday afternoon surprise set by Arcade Fire he watched with his 20-something daughter — “We had such a great time” — and stepping into the Sonora tent for space-rockers Spiritualized. “I walked in and I’m like, ‘What a vibe!’”

On a nearby couch was Tim Armstrong, singer-guitarist for the band Rancid and a longtime friend to Goldenvoice, which shares Armstrong’s roots in the California punk rock scene. “You have so much going on, I don’t know how you do it,” Armstrong said, leaning forward. Armstrong has performed at Coachella seven times over its first two decades, both with Rancid and as a guest to other artists, including reggae icon Jimmy Cliff. “I know festivals. This is the best one.”

 

Coachella has seen many highs and lows since its financially stressed debut in 1999, and has earned renown not just for its unmatched profitability, but for its curation of forward-leaning rock, hip-hop, dance music and increasingly, high-profile pop acts and Latin music. But just after celebrating 20 years as an essential music event in the desert, Coachella was forced to cancel its 2020 edition due to the coronavirus. In time, the 2021 festival was also canceled.

“This one was harder on me than usual,” says Tollett, following two years of lineup switches, cancellations and an unprecedented tidal wave of refunds.

“We refunded two Bonnaroos,” he says, using the rival Manchester, Tenn., music festival’s 80,000 annual attendees as one measure. “I’ve seen big ticket counts go on sale, and it’s fun to watch that graph go up: ‘Wow, look how fast it’s selling!’ I had never seen the opposite with refunds. So it crossed our minds: Is anyone going to come back?”

 

When the 2022 edition was finally announced in January, both weekends sold out their daily capacity of 125,000 — at prices ranging from $449 for general admission to $1,119 for VIP — but the long disruption led to abrupt changes at the top of the bill. The original 2020 lineup of Rage Against the Machine, Frank Ocean and Travis Scott, subject of multiple lawsuits over his role in the Astroworld festival disaster, was scrapped. Eilish subbed for Ocean, who is scheduled to headline 2023. Rage was replaced by Harry Styles, the English pop star whom Tollett had seen perform for the first time this year.

“When [Rage] pulled out, I let a day go by and didn’t think about it,” says Tollett. “I just let it sit there for a second. I figured people have been waiting forever for the lineup already, what’s another day? I came back kind of mellow and the Harry thing worked out. We got a really good response on the poster reveal. People seemed to have been waiting a long time for some good news.”

Then, in early April, Kanye West, who was booked to close the festival on Sunday, dropped out, amid erratic behavior in his personal and public life. “I’m good with Kanye,” Tollett says of Ye’s exit. “I Zoomed with him a couple days prior, and I think it was a good decision for him.”

 

When Ye bailed, manager Wassim “Sal” Slaiby, who reps acts including Doja Cat, Swedish House Mafia and the Weeknd, rang up Tollett. “Abel [Tesfaye, a.k.a. the Weeknd] and Sal called and said, ‘What do you need?’” recalls Tollett. “I said, ‘I actually don’t know yet. Right now I’m a little stunned with Kanye leaving. I’ve got to think what to do here.’”

Swedish House Mafia was already booked for the fest, and had recently collaborated with the Weeknd in the studio. It was decided to pool their efforts into a special performance.

“When all these headliners changed, it was hard, I won’t lie,” says Tollett. “But it’s also just part of what you do. Don’t get upset. Just make a change, you know?”

 

After that final headliner was locked in, the New York Post’s Page Six reported tensions between Goldenvoice and the Weeknd, alleging the singer demanded the same fee as Ye and threatened to walk.

Tollett denies there was any payment conflict, or even a discussion about it. He says he eventually learned the rumor was started by the manager of a rival act who wanted the same slot and payday. (He won’t name the artist.) He took it as a personal vote of confidence when the Weeknd hit the stage on that first Sunday and told the crowd: “Coachella, you know how much I love you? I always got your back when you need me.”

 

Assembling the right mix of Coachella-worthy headliners after two years of COVID-19-related chaos was just one element of uncertainty facing Tollett.

When the 2022 festival was announced, Goldenvoice mandated that attendees would be required to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test. “We really believed that was the right decision,” he says. The same requirements were announced for Coachella’s country music sister event, Stagecoach, beginning this Friday.

Then a friend gave Tollett a ticket to the Feb. 13 Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. More than 70,000 people attended.

“I got there and no one was wearing a mask in the place. No one. So I took mine off,” he says. He soon decided to announce that things at Coachella and Stagecoach would be “back to normal.”

 

“I wanted to be honest [with attendees] that everywhere they turned, it wasn’t going to be on lockdown, because it’s not anymore anywhere. Especially in the desert, in the Inland Empire, it’s just not,” says Tollett. “I didn’t want someone thinking that it was going to be on lockdown and then be caught short. Maybe don’t come if you’re afraid.”

(The Desert Sun reported a 77% increase in cases in nine cities across the Coachella Valley in the week that included the fest’s opening weekend.)

 

The pandemic impacted the festival in other ways. All the usual partners that provide sound, lights, toilets, fencing and more were still standing, but many had lost key personnel and equipment. Also affected were the “supply chain, buses, anything trucking related. We felt it. Things were slow. We were waiting for parts.”

In many ways, Coachella is a different festival than when it began in 1999, but Tollett says complaints that it’s become overly fixated on pop music ignore a deepening commitment to international sounds, from the norteño band Grupo Firme from Mexico to the darkwave pop of Molchat Doma from Belarus.

On the main stage, Colombian pop-reggaeton star Karol G performed in her signature long, Crayola-blue hair, and many fans (of all genders) in the crowd wore matching blue wigs. The international lineup has meant soaring streaming numbers for Coachella on YouTube in Latin America and in Asia for artists from Indonesia, Japan and South Korea.

“The future’s definitely open-ended,” Tollett says.

Even so, some details just can’t be controlled.

“We’ve had three years to prep for this show and doors opened 20 minutes late,” he says with a laugh. “That just shows you how hard it is to get things together.

 

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