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Coachella brings heat to California Desert!

It’s time to bust out your flower crowns! Coachella kicked off this past Friday drawing a huge international audience with worldwide sales up 125 percent from last year. Let’s check out the origins of one of the largest and most awaited festivals in the US: the Coachella music arts and festival, or simply Coachella.

In the beginning there was Pearl Jam

Coachella is an annual music and arts festival held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio California which is located in Inland Empire’s Coachella Valley. The idea of putting up a festival took root as far back of 1993 when Coachella founders Paul Tollet and Rick Van Santen saw the success of a concert held by Grunge legends Pearl Jam at the Empire Polo Club. At that time, Pearl Jam was boycotting ticket sales giant Ticketmaster and the venues they controlled. So with help of Tollet’s concert promotion company Golden Voice, the band was able to book the Empire Polo Club and performed for almost 25 000 fans. By 1997, Golden Voice was struggling in their competition with promoting giants. That was the beginning of Tollet’s plan to mount a brand new music festival.

Coachella was somehow overshadowed by Woodstock 1999…

The idea was to get popular music acts who weren’t necessarily chart movers, put a number of them together in one event and hopefully attract enough people to attend the gig even if the venue may be far from any major city. Tollet and Golden Voice vice president Van Santen looked at several venues before heading back to the Empire Polo Club and booking their festival. Coachella made its debut on October 1999 but was somehow overshadowed by another festival, Woodstock, which was unfortunately tainted by looting, violence, arson and even rapes. Despite the rising insurance costs and uncertain ticket sales brought by the incident at Woodstock, Coachella was able to push through with inaugural festival with help of headliners such as Beck, The Chemical Brothers, Tool, Morrissey and Rage Against the Machine. After no festival was held in 2000 due to the oversaturation of such events in the area, Coachella made its return in 2001 as a single day event. It then continued to expand until its current setup as a consecutive three-day weekends in April. Coachella has started on the last weekend and will continue over the weekend of April 21-23. Tickets cost $399 or $474 with a shuttle pass included. VIP admission is $899. This year’s headliners are Radiohead, Lady Gaga and Kendrick Lamar.