Metallica Leads The Big 4

Having conquered indie rock with Coachella (April 15-17) and country with Stagecoach (April 30-May 1) at the Empire Polo Grounds in Indio, Calif., Goldenvoice will take on metal with the Big 4, featuring Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer and Megadeth, on April 23: the Saturday between Coachella and Stagecoach.

That means the infrastructure for those festivals and the metal megaconcert will be in place and in use, cutting costs considerably from the price tag of staging any of these three events separately. In this case, the event will play like a concert -- if a really, really big one -- as opposed to a full-blown festival.

Adding the Big 4 to the mix "came together kind of at the last minute," Goldenvoice president Paul Tollett tells In the past, Stagecoach has run the weekend immediately following Coachella, but was pushed back a week because Easter falls on April 24 this year. Tollett didn't think putting either festival on Easter weekend was a good idea.

"We had no intention of doing a show during that time," Tollett says of the weekend between the two fests. "We thought, 'OK, we'll spread it by two weeks, even though it's pretty expensive to do that, with all the equipment and what-not."

But when the Big 4 opportunity presented itself, particularly in the Inland Empire of California where metal has always played well, the planets aligned for yet another event.

"Apparently, these four bands had been looking to do something like this in America, because they'd been doing it in Europe," Tollett says. "They don't really seem to have a schedule; it seems like when all of them aren't so busy they knock one out."

The Big 4 will just feature the four acts and not all the ancillary stages and attractions built around the other two fests. "It's a nice, solid show," Tollett understates.

Tickets go on sale Friday at $99 GA, with some VIP tickets at $199. Capacity is still being determined, but will likely be less than the 75,000 that pack the Polo Grounds during Coachella.

"It's going to be fun," says Tollett.