Coachella, now the most successful outdoor music festival ever, sprouted from humble beginnings. The first Coachella was held in 1999, just coming off the hype and coverage of Woodstock ‘99.
Today, Coachella is the hottest ticket on the music festival market, selling out their 2014 general admission passes in just 20 minutes. Weekend two kicks off April 18 with performances by Outkast, Muse, Pharrell Williams and Beck, along with several art installations, shops and a marketplace of local artisan foods to top it all off.
But Coachella has become something of a financial monster. This isn’t just a festival about music anymore. For businesses and bloggers, it’s a media and marketing pit. For festival goers, it’s a place to been seen and have social media bragging cred. And that doesn’t come cheap.
Business is booming
Attendance numbers keep climbing every year. And so does the total revenue. There are no more bankruptcy worries, to say the least. Coachella 2012 shattered previous revenue and attendance records, bringing in $47 million. Along with Coachella’s promoter, Goldenvoice, the duo outdid themselves in 2013 when revenue hit $67 million.
The Price of Admission
Weekends One and Two are both sold out, so if you were thinking about going — better luck next year. It’s probably a good thing. If you even think you want to go to Coachella 2015, start saving now. Both weekends have the exact same lineup, so you only have to brave the Indio desert for one weekend.
General admission for one weekend is $375 per person and VIP admission is $799 per person. The prices packages continue to climb from there. Weekend passes with your own personal teepee will set you back between $2,200-$4,700.
Celebrity Product Placement
Just about every pop culture and news media outlet is present at Coachella. And they are looking out for famous faces among the crowd.
With Coachella being a highly sought after ticket, big name attendees are sure to follow. And fashion companies are taking advantage of that. The Daily News reported that Lea Michelle is being paid $20,000 by Lacoste to attend and wear their threads at the festival. Other celebrities, like Aaron Paul and Joe Jonas, have caught the Coachella bug and are now seeking walking product placement deals from retailers.
Similar to other got-to-have commodities, eBay is there to offer people who wait until the last minute, highly sought after and sold out items at a ridiculous markup. General admission tickets to the final 2014 weekend festival are ranging from $500 for one pass, to $4,500 for a pair of passes for “Buy It Now” transactions.
Ticket packages, including four or more passes, and may include other items like parking and lodging, and are being sold in the tens of thousands of dollars.
Safari tents and $80 camping
Think the camping prices in Malibu and Orange County are steep? You haven’t seen anything yet.
For those trying to cut some cost and are able to live without a hotel room, general camping is $80. But the real cash grab is happening over at the Safari Tents.
Including 2 admission passes, a separate VIP check-in area, free private parking and complimentary snacks, the Safari Tents can be reserved either as a private bedroom or lounge. The tents are completely furnished, with 24-hour on site security on the premises.
All this for the cost of $6,500 for two people. Additional bodies in the tent will cost $1,500 per person.
Vendors are paying top dollar too
At 75,000 festival goers a day, over two 3-day weekends, the mat speaks for itself when it comes to businesses. And vendors want a piece of the Coachella action.
The Coachella vendor fees range from $850-$1,200 plus a percentage of gross sales. There’s no site fee for food trucks. But they are also paying out a percentage of gross sales, plus the cost of permits and power.
A shopping center in the desert
Three days is a long time to set up camp anywhere. So, the festival has made it possible to keep its 75,000 per day attendees occupied and comfortable. There are activities such as games, an art studio, and massages at $1 a minute.
However, retailers, small business owners and restaurants have made their way to Coachella as well. Pick up artisan snacks at the Coachella Yurt. The Terrace is the food court you wish you had at your local mall, featuring craft beers and refined street food. The boutique features curated products of limited edition collectibles, fashions and art. Lomography even has an exclusive 35mm Coachella camera available for purchase, that can be all yours for $200.
Nothing but love from the city of Indio
What’s good for Coachella has been good for the city of Indio. An economic report said that Coachella brought $254.4 million to Indio. An Indio is perfectly happy with that, signing a deal with the festival to keep Coachella coming back until 2030.
If you opted to skip Coachella this year, you’re still in luck. You can stream Coachella live on YouTube from the comfort of your living room, for free. So, leave the crowds in Indio and keep that money in your pocket.