The minds behind the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival have just announced that Coachella 2012 will be held over two weekends.
The Coachella promoters cited an inundation of negative feedback from upset fans that were surprised by how quickly tickets to this year’s festival sold out. A large number of these festival goers were either unable to attend the festival or had to go into the online ticket scalping arena where prices often jumped 100-200% in price, making the entire process uncertain, prohibitively expensive, and completely frustrating.
From a financial standpoint this makes perfect sense, but logically this has to hurt the quality of each weekend of the festival. This year’s lineup already lacked the headliner power of past years, and asking the biggest acts to schedule their tours to include two consecutive weekends in the heat of the Indio Valley will definitely make potential headliners think twice. Try asking someone like Paul McCartney that if he wants to play Coachella he’ll have to stick around for a week and do it twice!
The quality of the music will take a hit from the top down. Coachella purists won’t like this compromise of quantity over quality, but it’s certain to bring more people through the gates. The festival will make more money and the promoters will be happy. But, if they can’t bring in the acts to make it worth paying around $300 (since everyone has to buy 3-day passes anyways), then Coachella risks losing its charm and could have difficulty competing with other festivals.
To be fair, there can be some positive things to come out of this divide.
First, and most obviously, more people will be able to experience a Coachella weekend (even if the music quality is lower). Going out to Indio and spending a weekend chalked full of music and art is generally a good thing.
Second, the LA music scene may benefit during the week break in between the two festival weekends. Many of the acts will be forced to stay around the southland, especially since the Coachella promoters are trying to have identical lineups. The performers will most likely have to find something to do in the interim. Solution: play gigs in LA!
Third, local LA acts will have a better opportunity to join the Coachella lineup. With fewer big time acts being able to commit to two weekends the bar will be lower and some fringe bands will most likely find themselves making the cut. Also, if some acts commit to only one weekend as opposed to two there will be more time slots available.
Wait, wait. Do they really expect me to buy tickets right now for a festival a year away with bands who have yet to be announced? Ya, not happening. This sounds like a money grab to me, not a “we are doing it for the fans” moment.