The inventor of the world’s top-grossing festival is ready to try a Coachella-like event for the Latin market
If you’re an artist looking to secure a slot at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, booker Paul Tollett is the guy to impress.
Tollett, who was officially named president/CEO of Goldenvoice following a restructuring at AEG Live in November, founded Coachella in 1999. Since then, the two-weekend event at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, Calif., has become the top-grossing festival in the world, according to Billboard Boxscore. In 2013, Coachella grossed $62.7 million and drew 180,000 fans—a $15.4 million increase from 2012.
“That festival naturally gets better and bigger each year,” Tollett says, noting that -Coachella’s ongoing success wouldn’t be possible without his trusted team at Los Angeles-based Goldenvoice, which includes VP Skip Paige and festival director/producer Bill Fold. “We want to maintain cautious growth.”
Tollett says his talent decisions are always based on what best serves the festival and the fan. “I try not to think about how the decisions I make affect the industry. I try and think about how it affects the festival,” he says. “If everyone thought like that, it would be healthier out there.” Coachella recently announced its 2014 lineup—as impressive as always, and including headliners OutKast, Arcade Fire and Muse.
Tollett’s success with music festivals doesn’t end with Coachella. Goldenvoice/AEG Live also produces the annual Stagecoach country music fest, which last year featured headliners Eric Church, Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan and ranked fifth on Billboard’s top 10 festivals of 2013, grossing $11.9 million and drawing 45,000 fans over three days. The 2014 edition was nearly sold out at press time.
Outside of Coachella and Stagecoach, Tollett keeps plenty busy overseeing -Goldenvoice’s 130-person staff, which was involved with promoting approximately 700 concerts in 2013. At the end of last year, Goldenvoice announced new partnerships with EDM promoter LED to produce events in California, and with Latin Alternative Music Conference founder Tomas Cookman for a one-day festival in Los Angeles dubbed Supersonico.