As organizers of the Coachella Music & Arts Festival in Indio, Calif., tee up the event's 2014 run, Paul Tollett, president/CEO of producer Goldenvoice, has some hot news to reveal.
“We’ve built permanent toilets,” Tollett tells Billboard. “We built 96 of ‘em, for women, and we’re in the middle of the finishing touches. We’ll have half opened this weekend, and all of ‘em open next weekend. Next year we’ll have men’s, also. If all goes well, we’ll move to 100% permanent in the future.”
So anyone who thinks that Tollett is just focused on the talent side of the business is misinformed. As this year’s Coachella fest gets under way, much of the heavy lifting is done for Tollett, who indeed books the talent (headliners include Outkast, Muse, Arcade Fire, the Replacements, Beck, Queens of the Stone Age, Pharrell Williams, Skrillex and Lorde), and whose vision has steered the festival since its inception in 1999. His enthusiasm about the new facilities at the fest site on the Empire Polo Grounds in Indio, Calif., is only slightly sarcasm, as Tollett admits, “we really want people to have a great time.”
In its early days, odds were against Coachella even making it to Year two, much less developing into one of the most successful and influential music festivals in the world. But now, Coachella is ingrained into the fabric of popular music and, with Bonnaroo in Manchester, Tenn., is often (and correctly) credited with jump-starting a North American festival scene that remains robust and growing.