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Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival


The Basics:

  • What: Music Festival Coachella
  • Where: Empire Polo Club, Indio, California, USA
  • When: Annually at the end of April
  • Founded: 1999


The first Coachella kicked off in the unlikely desert location of the Empire Polo Club in Indio, CA, on October 9 and 10, 1999. The site of the festival had caught the eye of concert promoters back in 1993, when Pearl Jam and Tool held a concert there, far from the long reach of Ticketmaster and their booking fees.

Location actually looked like it might be the death of Coachella at first. The violence fueled Woodstock 99 festival had just finished, and so camping on site was banned. Given that Indio is several hours from any major city, logistics looked set to threaten the festival. In reality, 25,000 fans turned up.

Financial Problems:

25,000 fans might have been a great turnout for a two day show in the desert, but it wasn't enough to cover costs. The losses meant that Coachella 2000 was a no go, and it seemed that the 1999 festival would be a one off event. However, the organizers eventually regrouped and decided to give things one more try in 2001. They made a few changes based on lessons learned the first time around - like changing the event to April when the heat would not be so intense - and they cut the program to a single day. What they didn't have was a headliner. Enter friend Perry Farrell, who stepped in with a Jane's Addiction reunion.


The Janes Addiction reunion was the first in a long line of what Coachella seems to do best - convince bands to reunite and take to the stage. Some of the bands that have come together again at Coachella include:

Coachella Now:

In years since returning to the scene in 2001, Coachella has grown into one of the premiere music festivals in the world. Acts from all genres of music appear on the stages, attracting fans from all over. Coachella is now a three day event, and camping is now allowed. The festival has always featured art installations as well, but in recent years, this space has been expanded as the organizers have opted to give display space to artists instead of vendors.

Playing Coachella:

An invite to Coachella is a much sought after things for musicians, and it's not easy to come by. There is no official application procedure. The show is booked between the organizers, promoters Goldenvoice and the agents of bands in the running.

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