Despite fears that new tax regulations were set to push the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival out of its Indio, Calif. home, reports have stated that the lawmaker who introduced the new ticket tax has backed down from the proposed legislation.
The proposed law, set forth by Indio city councilman Sam Torres, would have put a 5-10 percent admission tax on each ticket for any event that hosted more than 2,500 people beginning in 2014. For Coachella -- the three-day festival that expanded to two weekends this past year, and has been based in Indio since 1999 -- that would amount to around $36 on top of the base $349 that festival-goers already paid to attend last year's event.
The 2012 installment brought in over 158,000 people, according to Billboard Boxscore, and grossed a staggering $47 million.
The proposed tax was voted down by the city council, but Torres had vowed to persist with the initiative, looking to drum up signatures that would allow the tax to be put to a vote. This upset Goldenvoice, the AEG Live-owned promoter who puts on Coachella, with president Paul Tollett vowing that he would not pass that $36 tax on to ticket buyers, and that he would consider cancelling the 2014 festival and moving to a new locale for 2015. By absorbing the proposed tax, Goldenvoice would lose between $4 and $6 million.
Now, faced with the prospect of a Coachella-less Indio, Torres has backed away from the ticket tax, acknowledging that if Coachella disappeared from the city it would have a far more damaging affect than the supposed benefit of the extra revenue the city would generate by enacting the law.
"The potential for the music festivals to move out of the city exists, and if this should occur it would negatively impact the region; I cannot in good conscience allow this to happen no matter how dire the city's circumstances," Torres said in a statement posted on the city of Indio's website yesterday afternoon (July 5). "My sincere hope is that we can now move past this episode and I personally look forward to working to enhance relationships."
In March, Goldenvoice completed the purchase of 280 acres of land, which, combined with other holdings on long-term lease in the area, comprise Coachella's festival grounds. Last May, the festival's official website announced that the fest would return to its two-weekend format again next year, taking place both April 12-14 and April 19-21.