After witnessing the organizational chaos and potentially disastrous crowd management at the bursting-at-the-seams Coachella 2010, we were shocked to learn that AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips was boasting about the festival's record attendance numbers to The Hollywood Reporter “It was a great weekend,” Phillips said, emphasizing the draw of the booked acts. “We've locked in the two individual owners to long-term leases now,” Phillips added. “So, we have some real continuity. Now we can really try to perfect the festival. We're going to be able to fine-tune it now.”
This week, the print edition of LA Weekly features an article by Steve Appleford addressing the distance between the upbeat tone of parent company AEG and the experience of many fans who took to message boards and blogs to express their frustration at the disorganization they witnessed, partially blamed on corporate greed.
The core of Appleford's piece is an exclusive interview with Goldenvoice president Paul Tollett where he admits to many issues that made the 2010 less than optimal:
In a few days, Tollett and his team were set to travel back out to the desert town of Indio to make plans for next year's festival, now scheduled for April 15, 16 and 17. “It's been a hundred days now since the show, and we've been writing notes down [about] how to make this show better,” he says. “Almost across the board, each one of us came up with the same note: less people.
“The No. 1 thing was just too many bodies,” Tollett adds. “That came from a few things. Number one, we sold more tickets than we have in the past.” Specifically, Goldenvoice sold an additional 6,000 three-day tickets compared with the previous year, a jump in attendance compounded by a tidal wave of “sneak-ins, fence-cutting, counterfeit wristbands, counterfeit tickets,” says Tollett. “We had a lame ticketing thing that we have to change, that actually made no sense.”
Appleford's piece is already garnering interesting comments from veteran Coachella concertgoers:
I'm glad to hear changes are going to be made, as Coachella is one of my favorite festivals. Although, it makes me sad that Tollett has such a narrow minded view of fans that want 1 day tickets. I am originally from Southern California and have many friends that can't afford to stay in Indio or take off of work for 3 days (not everyone works a 9-5 Monday thru Friday job) but annually go out to the Coachella festival for 1 full day and drive back home afterward. They love that they live only a few hours away and are able to enjoy the festival, even if they cannot afford to stay there. I hope that Tollett realizes that he may be isolating long time loyal fans of Coachella. (Rose)
The irony is that you could solve the issues of overcrowding and the ridiculous lines to enter the festival by selling single day tickets again. If they sold 20% of tickets as single day (like they have in every other past Coachella), that would mean 15k tickets would be single day. That automatically means 10k LESS people each day, while still selling the same amount of tix overall (75k). Goldenvoice would also make MORE money this way than if they just cut back to 65k three-day-only tickets. You would also avoid the huge lines on Friday by spreading out some of the arriving traffic to Saturday and Sunday. Three day people could have their own lines to get in fast on these days. The excuse about the hotels that Tollett gave before makes no sense. Like Rose said, most single-day people live in So Cal and commute to and from the festival. I don't think too many people are going to buy a single day ticket and then get a room at a hotel when prices are inflated and cost as much as a three-day pass. Also, please bring Coachella back to its indie/punk/classic rock roots. Acts like Jay-Z, Tiesto and David Guetta bring out the douchebag/thug/kandi kid contingent. Wading thru 75 thousand people is harder when so many of them are underage e-tards and drunk bros who are “totally stoked” to see the Hova. (CoachellaVeteran)
It would have been nice for them to address the change in camping. That was a huge reason why I didn't go this year; being able to leave the campgrounds at night in our car to gather supplies and visit friends is what made Coachella camping the best. I don't want to camp in or around my car. How is that relaxing and fun?! (Camper)