Popular Coachella Music & Arts Festival could stay put, after Indio, Calif. council member drops bid for $18 tax
Fear not (and stock up on the sunscreen), music fans — it looks likely that the Coachella Music and Arts Festival will remain on the scorching-hot grounds of Indio, Calif., despite a scare earlier this week.
Indio council member Ascension "Sam" Torres announced on the city's web site Thursday that he was dropping plans to put an admission tax on the fall ballot, a move that had the concert's promoters threatening to pull up stakes in Indio after its contract runs out following the next festival.
In his statement, Torres conceded that the loss of the annual Coachella festival would "negatively impact the region" and hoped that "we can now move past this episode.
"The potential for the music festivals to move out of the city exists, and if this should occur it would negatively impact the region; I cannot in good conscience allow this to happen no matter how dire the city’s circumstances.” Torres said. “My sincere hope is that we can now move past this episode and I personally look forward to working to enhance relationships.”
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Indio mayor Glenn Miller applauded Torres' decision, noting, "We are committed to working with [festival promoter] Goldenvoice to identify mutually beneficial solutions to ensure that the music festival economic engine stays in Indio and continues to boost the regional economy.”
Plans for the tax, which would have added $18 to Coachella tickets in 2014, had Goldenvoice threatening to abandon Indio. The company's president, Paul Tollett, told The Desert Sun that it would move Coachella and the another music gathering, the Stagecoach Festival, from the city following the 2013 shows.
“We think this tax is outrageous for all the things we've done with Indio,” Tollett said.
Goldenvoice estimates the festival currently generates more than $800,000 in ticket fees, tax revenue on about $9 million in food and beverages sold, and a Transient Occupancy Tax of more than $800,000.
Torres' statement backs up that estimate, noting that Coachella's presence in the area has "resulted in millions of dollars in revenue to support the local community."
Goldenvoice, which has not yet responded to TheWrap's request for comment, has presented the Coachella festivals since 1999. It has become one of the most popular and critically acclaimed music festivals in the world, attracting a paid attendance of 225,000 each of the past two years. Next year's festival is set for April 12-14 and April 19-21.