After another season of record attendance and fast ticket sales, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival will undergo one notable change when it returns in 2012.
The 13th annual Coachella will once again take place at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, CA. But rather than occupying the club grounds for just three days in April, the 2012 event will be there for two back-to-back weekends: April 13-15 and April 20-22.
Festival promoter Goldenvoice made the announcement this morning, May 31, on the official Coachella Web site. But the expanded 2012 schedule wasn’t the only surprise organizers had in store.
Rather than planning six days of unique music, Coachella organizers hope to make the back-to-back weekends as similar as possible. As Goldenvoice’s statement explained, “We will attempt to produce two identical festival weekends. That means same lineup, same art, same place, different people.”
Advance sales for 2012 weekend passes begin this Friday, June 3, at 10 a.m. (PST), and will continue through Friday, June 10, at 10 p.m. (PST). Passes must be used for the dates indicated and will not be interchangeable from one weekend to the next, though festival-goers will be permitted to place separate ticket orders for each weekend.
The base price for three-day passes remains $269, plus applicable fees. Any ticket inventory remaining after the June advance sale will be made available after the lineup is announced (typically sometime in mid-January). Passes will then be mailed in early March 2012, according to Coachella FAQs.
This June sale will be the only opportunity for those wishing to take part in the Coachella Payment Plan. The layaway-style program allows buyers to make scheduled payments toward their ticket orders, starting with 10% down and followed by eight equal, monthly payments.
Despite the lengthy delay between the start of ticket sales and the unveiling of artist lineups, Coachella has not had a problem with its advance sales. Demand for passes has increased over the years, as Coachella has gained a reputation for booking high-profile and eclectic acts.
According to festival organizers, Coachella 2011 sold out in a record six days. The ensuing three-day event, April 15-17, had reported daily attendance levels of 90,000 people, with even more disappointed fans shut out and unable to secure weekend tickets.
With all indications pointing toward another banner year, Coachella organizers decided to ameliorate any potential ticket shortages by added a second, identical weekend in 2012.
“We know many of you were unable to attend this year’s festival because passes sold out much sooner than anticipated,” Goldenvoice’s statement read in part, adding, “We also know some of you purchased through non legitimate sources and were inconvenienced, gouged or totally scammed. We hope that these changes will give everyone the opportunity to purchase directly from Coachella.com.”
Even before Coachella 2011 took place, organizers were discussing potential ticketing changes for 2012.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Goldenvoice president Paul Tollett discussed the possibility of making Coachella tickets nontransferable to alleviate concerns of ticket security and availability. However, Tollett also recognized the potential challenges and negative impact that limited transferability could have on the greater Coachella community.
“There is something hard about [nontransferable tickets],” Tollett told the LA Times in 2011. “Some people will buy two or four tickets, or maybe even six, and they do plan to take their friends. They may not know which friends. They just know they’re going and they’re hoping they have a girlfriend in three months. So if you make everyone put the name on the ticket, it changes the flexibility.”
Details about the transferability of tickets and other security measures for Coachella 2012 have not yet been revealed.
This past year, the festival experimented with RFID-secured wristbands, which were void if removed or tampered with. Coachella staff also combated the influx of counterfeits on the market by publishing photographs of fake wristbands with tips on how to identify possible scams.