Coachella: 20 Years in the Desert

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival or rather Coachella is a music and arts festival that occurs once a year at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, located in the Coachella Valley in the Colorado Desert. It is typically held Mid-April and this year (2020) would have marked the festivals 21st anniversary if it were not for the Coronavirus pandemic which resulted in the festival being pushed out until October (fingers crossed).

Coachella was co-founded by Paul Tollett and Rick Van Santen back in 1999, people initially doubted the festival but it has come to be one of the worlds largest, with over 250,000 people attending every year and many more tuning into the acts that are broadcasted. The line up typically covers a wide variety of acts, spanning across various genres of music, including rock, pop, indie, hip hop and electronic dance music. You can also see many art installations and sculptures scattered across the grounds.

Coachella earned the title of “the anti-Woodstock” because Goldenvoice has been set on booking acts based on artistry rather than how popular they are on the radio. In 1999, tickets sold for $50 each but the festival only managed to sell about 37,000 out of the expected 70,000. Regardless of the relatively low attendance it was well received by those who did attend and Coachella managed to be named festival of the year.

However, Goldenvoice made a loss of $850,000 and because of this the festival didn’t host a 2000 edition. In this YouTube Original documentary we see how Coachella managed to move forward after taking such a financial hit and become the beast that it is today, successfully transferring the burgeoning European festival scene to the United States.

While many would-be festival-goers were more than disappointed with this year’s postponement, the release of this documentary should help soothe the pain ever so slightly.

Directed by: Chris Perkel

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