Music festival season officially kicked off last weekend, and by the looks of it, the state of the economy does not seem to have...

Music festival season officially kicked off last weekend, and by the looks of it, the state of the economy does not seem to have deterred fans of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which was held April 17-19.

According to festival producer Paul Tollett of Goldenvoice, attendance at the festival’s tenth annual event was its second largest at 160,000. Coachella had its best year in 2007 with 186,000 people in attendance. This should leave other destination and multi-day festival producers optimistic.

Held at the Empire Polo Field in the desert location of Indio, CA, Coachella launched the major music festival season with headliners Paul McCartney, The Killers and The Cure, as well as featured sets by Morrissey, Paul Weller and Leonard Cohen, among others. Located 146 miles east of Los Angeles, CA, the festival was priced at $269 (plus service fees) for a three-day pass; $55 for onsite camping (three days); and $99 single-day pass. The layaway plan was used by about 19 percent of the festival-goers.

A part of the destination festival’s success, aside from its brand and stellar artist lineup, could be attributed to introducing a first-time ticket layaway option, which eased some financial strain off of potential ticket buyers.


Coachella’s country music counterpart, Stagecoach, will be held on the same Empire Polo Field site on April 25-26, with country music artists Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker, Reba McEntire, Kid Rock and Kevin Costner. The festival is priced at $129 (plus fees) for a two-day pass; $50 for onsite camping (two days); $79 single-day April 25. Stagecoach also used a layaway plan for ticket buyers.

Other multi-genre, multi-day music festivals like Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival near Nashville, TN (June 11-14), Rothbury Festival in Rothbury, MI (July 2-5), Lollapalooza in Chicago, IL (August 7-9) and New Jersey’s All Points West Music & Arts Festival in Jersey City (July 31-August 2, have become staples of summer. For the past two years, Lollapalooza has been able to put tickets on sale before announing a line-up. Bonnaroo, Rothbury, All Points and Outside Lands in San Francisco, CA (August 28-30) have all introduced layaway ticket plans.

However, some planned festivals fell way to the economy.

The Langerado Music Festival in Miami, FL, cancelled its seventh year because of sluggish ticket sales compounded by moving the event to southern Florida. The Whistler Music Festival in British Columbia was cancelled after its producer, Festival Network LLC, found itself in financial straits and had difficulty in raising new capital for any events this year. And the second Pemberton Festival in British Columbia was nixed due to getting the necessary permits too late.