Sorry, Led Zeppelin fans: Despite weeks of rumors, fueled by a mysterious message on Robert Plant's website that read only, “Any time now …”, neither Zeppelin nor anyone else will be performing at Desert Trip this year. In an interview with Billboard, Goldenvoice founder and CEO Paul Tollett confirmed that his company's classic-rock festival, which debuted last year with performances by The Rolling Stones, The Who, Roger Waters, Paul McCartney, Neil Young and Bob Dylan, will not be held again in 2017.
“We're not doing Desert Trip this year,” Tollett told Billboard. “We loved 2016 Desert Trip — that was a special moment in time. Maybe someday in the future we'll do something similar.”
Tollett's remarks end months of speculation over how Goldenvoice, which also produces Coachella, Stagecoach and FYF among other events, could possibly top Desert Trip's historic debut. Despite lots of jokes calling it “Oldchella” (it was held on the same site as Coachella, the Empire Polo Club in Indio), Desert Trip became the highest-grossing festival in U.S. history, raking in $160 million over two weekends.
With that much money to be made, many industry observers assumed that a second Desert Trip was a foregone conclusion. But though the Billboard does not quote Tollett as giving a reason for the event not returning this year, it's safe to assume that the right mix of artists to equal or top the first Desert Trip just wasn't on the table — and Goldenvoice's famously ambitious founder was unlikely to ever green-light a lesser lineup like the one L.A. Weekly posted as an April Fools' Day joke (and to those of you who fell for that — sorry/not sorry).
So will Desert Trip return in 2018? We'll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, Goldenvoice will be plenty busy producing its newest festival, Arroyo Seco Weekend, with Tom Petty and Mumford & Sons in June, as well as FYF in July and the 50th anniversary reboot of the Monterey International Pop Festival, which Goldenvoice is co-producing with founder Lou Adler, also in June.