The Last Coachella?

It seems like every year is rumored to be the last and final Coachella. Why? Well, putting on festivals is a very expensive business and the profits are a rocky one. In an article from Forbes.com, they break down the cost of putting on a major festival like Coachella.

Well... I'll just break it down for you... The 2007 Coachella festival, that featured Bjork, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Rage Against the Machine, brought in $17 million in ticket sales. Kaching! Wait, then how much does it cost to put on Coachella? It is estimated that it can cost around $12 million to put on. So if you look at these figures, then 2007 Coachella is a success. Only Tennessee's Bonnaroo, grossed nearly the same amount.

Then what's with the rumor of the last Coachella? Well, I've been hearing that although they made lots of money in 2007, 2008 wasn't much of a success. And seemingly so, as I can't find the full statistics for 2008, Forbes has stated that Prince cost over $2 million for him to walk out on stage. Although, Rolling Stone estimates this price to be more like $4.8 million. And if this is deemed likely to be true, then rumors about Coachella losing money in 2008 seems more likely true, also (Yes... I've been hearing that).

Supposedly, Paul Tollet, the man responsible for putting on Coachella, signed a long-term deal acquiring the use of the Empire Polo Fields, where Coachella takes place. So, location probably isn't the problem. The problem is that it's a business, and to stay in business you need to make more than you spend, and in 2008, he might of spent more than he profited.

One such issue leading to this, is that more and more festivals are taking place around the country and some of the same bands that are playing at Coachella, are also playing at these other festivals. In such case, it would make people less likely to travel to Coachella if a certain band is playing in their hometown.

So what Tollet has done to get around this, is throw in huge acts that no other festival can get, like Prince or Madonna. According to Forbes, top bands earn $1 to $3 million per festival (despite Prince's $4.8 million rumor), considerably more than if they were to tour alone. While, mid-market bands can earn roughly $25,000 for every half and hour set. (I have also heard that Madonna cost $1 million for her less-than-an-hour set)

The economic downturn has also hit the festival, as their have been job cuts. And some amenities will also be slashed down. So if you attend this year, you might notice. Adding to this, Indie 103.1, which was a major radio station sponsor and advertising market for Coachella, folded earlier this year. (read demise of Indie 103.1 here)

And as for 2009's line up, many critics have been on the fence because, with the exception of Paul McCartney, it's pretty much the same bands that have played at Coachella before. Perhaps many of the critics are waiting for a Hail Mary pass like last year's late addition of Prince, to make it a must attend event.

Anyways, I guess we'll have to wait and see like every year, as to whether Coachella will be around again.

No more Indie 103.1

Forbes article
Coachella TV Commercial
Coachella Checklist

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