See also: Coachella 2012 Lineup
Goldenvoice announced Sunday that it has purchased 280 acres of land in Indio, ensuring that the Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals will continue to be enjoyed by generations of girls in spirit hoods and dudes in speedos and fanny packs.
The purchase includes El Dorado Polo Club, which Goldenvoice has used for years as parking and camping space for the festivals. A statement released by the concert promoter also named three new, additional properties: one is owned by Glen Holden, polo enthusiast and former ambassador to Jamaica, and the two others, Fish Creek and Triangle Bar Farms, are both home to polo teams. The deal does not include the Empire Polo Club itself, where the festival itself has been held since 1999.
So…what does it all mean?
A Goldenvoice representative had no comment, but Indio mayor Glen Miller told The Desert Sun the sale gives Goldenvoice an opportunity to bring in three to four additional events a year, “such as a jazz and wine festival.” Wine and jazz could be wishful thinking on the mayor's part though — last year when Goldenvoice had the chance to add an event, the promoter hosted Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax.
Gary Bongiovanni, editor-in-chief of Pollstar, a trade publication that covers the live music industry agrees that the purchase suggests that that Goldenvoice could be looking to host more events on the site.
“They've been gradually investing in the infrastructure there,” Bongiovanni says. When overhead costs are covered, it's easy for the promoter to add events. That's one of the reasons Stagecoach, Goldenvoice's country festival, was so successful when it was first held in 2007.
“They'd already done all the set-up work for Coachella — the site was prepared. They modified it so it had more of a country theme to it but a lot of what you had to bring in was already going to be there,” Bongiovanni says.
The purchase also demonstrates — and to a certain extent, protects — Goldenvoice's interests in Indio. In October, disputes with locals threatened to delay or block permits for both festivals. Residents of the neighboring community of La Quinta complained that the festivals attracted hordes of undesirables (at one city council meeting attendees were called “the people who destroy our environment”) who, area residents said, were loud, polluted, trespassed on their property and rode their horses without permission.
Goldenvoice ultimately reached an agreement with locals that would extend both festivals for two years and allocate $2.33 per ticket to Indio. The fee could generate as much as $500,000 for the city on top of millions of dollars in revenue that the local economy reaps from the festivals every year. (Coachella and Stagecoach both sold out well in advance this year.)
In donating a portion of ticket sales back to the community, Goldenvoice may be taking cues from the organizers of Bonnaroo, the annual music festival held in Manchester, Tennessee. For the last ten years, $3 of every Bonnaroo ticket — a total of more than $5 million in 2011 — has gone to programs in Coffee County.
The money is part of the reason the local community has embraced the festival, and supported the sale of farmland in 2007 that would help give the festival a permanent home in the area. Last year, organizers were rumored to be putting together a package to buy the remaining 250 acres it currently leases.
In many ways the decision to purchase land is a natural one for festival organizers. “Every year you've got to bring a certain amount of infrastructure to stage it and they decided if we're going to spend the money to make some of this stuff permanent we should own the land too,” Bongiovanni says. “Now when they are going to invest, it's going to be in more permanent things.”
In the end, it comes down to manufacturing a positive experience. “People like going there; they have a good time; they want to come back next year. That's extremely important,” Bongiovanni says. “Talent is going to change but people know if they have go they are going to have a good time–that's extremely important for future business.”
View Goldenvoice Land Purchase in a larger map
See also: Coachella 2012 Lineup