The 2009 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival rang up its second biggest year ever, with an aggregate attendance of 160,000, according to producer Paul Tollett, president of Goldenvoice, a division of AEG Live. The event was held April 17-19 at the Empire Polo Grounds in Indio, Calif.
Tollett credits a lineup that boasted such acts as Paul McCartney, the Killers, Leonard Cohen, My Bloody Valentine, and the Cure for the success of this year's event, along with the equity established with fans over the past decade. "The lineup I thought was really good this year, and we've got the momentum of all the years we've been going," Tollett tells Billboard.
About 18% of attendees took advantage of Coachellas's layaway plan this year, Tollett says. "The last few weeks ticket counts really skyrocketed," he adds, which he in part attributes to developing bands gaining traction with fans in the weeks heading into the festival. "When people first see the poster they recognize some of the band names, but as we start getting closer to the show, these bands start to become better known."
The highest attendance for Coachella to date was 186,636 in 2007, which grossed $16.3 million. Last year's festival drew 151,666 and grossed $13.8 million.
The Coachella fest shares costs with the third annual Stagecoach, held April 25-26 on the same site. Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Reba McEntire, Kid Rock, Miranda Lambert, Lady Antebellum, and Poco are among the acts on the bill for the country fest, also produced by Goldenvoice/AEG Live. Stagecoach has enjoyed rapid growth, grossing $11.4 million and drawing 120,903 aggregate last year, and this year's event will be "the biggest year by a mile," Tollett says.