The Appeal Of The Coachella Way Of Life

by MR Magazine Staff

I’ve never been to Coachella, and yet it surrounds me at all times. Coachella is a music festival—and now an enormously profitable one—but it is also a fully formed aesthetic, a lightning rod of aspiration, a way of being. The inaugural Coachella took place in 1999, but its origins extend further back. In 1993, Pearl Jam, in protest of what the band felt were exorbitant Ticketmaster surcharges—remember when surcharges were novel enough to stoke ire?—held a concert in a non-Ticketmaster-controlled space: the Empire Polo Club, in Indio, California. At the time, the outdoor desert venue had never held a rock show, and this event served as a kind of test and a precursor to future events there. Coachella would be among those future events. Founded by a man named Paul Tollett and his events company, Goldenvoice, the first Coachella drew a crowd of about twenty thousand people each of its two days. Goldenvoice lost close to one million dollars on Coachella during its first year, and went dark the second year. The struggle didn’t last long—the festival returned in 2001, and in 2004 tickets for the festival sold out for the first time. By 2012, Coachella had become so popular that Goldenvoice instated a second weekend of the festival. Read more at The New Yorker.