No More Coachella Festivals?!

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Say it isn’t so! The Coachella Valley Music Festival may come to an end!

According to Palm Springs-based newspaper The Desert Sun, promoter/festival founder Paul Tollett and Goldenvoice/polo club owner Alex Haagen III have threatened to take the festival out of Indio after 2013. The festival would take a break during 2014 and re-emerge elsewhere in 2015.

The announcement comes days after Indio City councilman Sam Torres proposed a tax hike for the November ballot. The tax would increase city revenue beginning in 2014 by charging an additional 5% – 10% on admissions to events larger than 2,500 people. Tollett calculates the extra revenue at $36 per ticket. Tollett has already proclaimed that the charge would not be passed onto consumers and would absorb the $4 – $6 million in taxes.

The Desert Sun story quotes a number of text messages between councilman Torres and Goldenvoice VP Skip Paige.

“You know were moving right?” says Paige to Torres. “All this is a game. Why in the world would we stay where we are not wanted. LQ doesn’t want us, Indio wants to take all our profits.”

In a separate text, she mentions the 2011 environment-related lawsuit against the festival by George Williams. She also mentions Goldenvoice’s plans to purchase the El Dorado Polo Club in neighboring La Quinta.

Councilwoman Lupe Ramos Watson has called for a special meeting to keep everyone informed of the ongoing situation while Torres has offered to drop the petition if the city can negotiate a long-term deal to keep the festival in Indio. Tollett and Goldenvoice have signed only short-term deals with the city.

The Coachella Festival debuted in Indio in 1999 and has brought world famous and not-so world famous artists to southern California since then. The festival is also famous as a launch pad for band reunions such as The Pixies, Caifanes, Rage Against The Machine, At The Drive-In, Bauhaus, fIREHOSE and many others.

This begs the question: what will Goldenvoice call the festival if it moves? And will they keep it in southern California or move it elsewhere?

The drama continues…