Coachella Wins Again: Councilman Drops Tax Proposal
Mark "Cobrasnake" Hunter
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival will remain in Indio, at least for now. City Councilman Sam Torres, who last month proposed an admissions tax that would cost promoters Goldenvoice an estimated $4 million to $6 million, announced yesterday that he is suspending the initiative.
The decision comes on the heels of intense backlash from fans and officials after Goldenvoice president Paul Tollett threatened to move the festival out of Indio -- and cancel the 2014 edition entirely -- if the measure made it onto the ballot.
"The potential for the music festivals to move out of the city exists, and if this should occur it would negatively impact the region; I cannot in good conscience allow this to happen no matter how dire the city's circumstances," Torres said, in a press release on the city of Indio's website.
He added that he anticipates building better relationships with organizers in the future. "I don't take a threat by Paul Tollett lightly," Torres told NBC4 yesterday.
The proposed measure included a five to ten percent admissions tax on all events admitting more than 2,500 people. Though the council declined to consider Torres' proposal at a June 6 meeting, he committed to collecting enough signatures to land the initiave on the municipal ballot in November. A portion of the earnings from both Coachella - which yielded an estimated $47 million across its two weekends in April - and the Stagecoach music festival are already allocated for the cash-strapped city of Indio.
In addition, since launching Coachella in 1999, Goldenvoice has come to be a major employer in the region, providing jobs in the spring related to the festivals. The release describes the festivals as a source of "millions of dollars in revenue to support the local community."
Indio Mayor Glenn Miller lauded Torres' decision. "We are committed to working with Goldenvoice to identify mutually beneficial solutions to ensure that the music festival economic engine stays in Indio and continues to boost the regional economy," he said in the release.
A Goldenvoice representative could not be reached for comment.
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