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“I want to take the training wheels off. I want to be like the other festivals around the world that create these magical weekends.”
——Paul Tollett
COACHELLA UPS THE ANTE,
SELLING OUT AT $269 A POP
135-Act Bill Led by Jay-Z, Muse, Gorillaz
Draws 80k+ to Desert for Three-Day Event

This weekend’s 11th edition of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival will once again feature just about everybody on the planet boasting a serious cachet, including Thom Yorke’s all-star side project Atoms for Peace, Vampire Weekend, Spoon, Them Crooked Vultures, LCD Soundsystem, Grizzly Bear, Dirty Projectors, Phoenix, Passion Pit, Temper Trap, One eskimO, Yeasayer, Coheed & Cambria and MGMT. Also performing are some bands we haven’t seen in a while: Pavement, Devo, Specials, Public Image Limited, Faith No More, De La Soul, Gary Numan and (place your bets) Sly and the Family Stone. More than 130 acts are scheduled to perform, with Jay-Z, Muse and Gorillaz respectively topping each day’s bill.

What began in 1999 as a two-day event for 38,000 ticket-holders has more than doubled in size, with 80,000 expected to attend each of the three days. Coachella is promoted by Goldenvoice and owned by AEG.

"We almost didn't do Coachella this year," founder Paul Tollett revealed in a front-page feature in the L.A. Times. We felt the economy wasn't looking so hot. But festivals seem to be hanging in there, and I'm as surprised as anyone."

The sellout is all the more noteworthy given a change in pricing this year that does away with single-day $103 tickets in favor of one entry fee for all three days that, with service charges, pushes the cost above $300, note reporters Todd Martens and Alex Pham.

In another interview with the N.Y. Times, Tollett explained his underlying motivation: “I want to take the training wheels off. I want to be like the other festivals around the world that create these magical weekends.”

Tollett defended the decision even though it put Coachella at the high end of the festival market. Chicago's three-day August fest Lollapalooza, for instance, will set fans back $215, and general admission tickets to Bonnaroo in Manchester, Tenn., are closer to the $270 range—and that's for four days. But Tollett said no other major festival offered single-day passes and that the move was meant to preserve hotel rooms for serious fans.

"The value of the festival is comprised of so much more than any one single band," said Spoon manager Ben Dickey in the same article. "I think people will certainly hit a breaking point. If a festival was $500, bands would be playing to an empty field. There is a delicate balance."

COACHELLA 2010 LINEUP
Friday (4/16)
Jay-Z, LCD Soundsystem, Them Crooked Vultures, Vampire Weekend, Deadmau5, Public Image Limited, The Specials, Grizzly Bear, Passion Pit, Echo and the Bunnymen, Benny Benassi, Fever Ray, Grace Jones, She & Him, Erol Alkan, The Avett Brothers, Calle 13, The Whitest Boy Alive, The Cribs, La Roux, Yeasayer, Lucero, DJ Lance Rock, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Proxy, Ra Ra Riot, Deer Tick, Wolfgang Gartner, Aeroplane, Iglu & Hartly, Sleigh Bells, P.O.S., Baroness, Hockey, Little Dragon, White Rabbits, Wale, Kate Miller-Heidke, As Tall as Lions, Jets Overhead, Alana Grace, Pablo Hassan.

Saturday (4/17)
Muse, Faith No More, Tiësto, MGMT, David Guetta, The Dead Weather, Hot Chip, Devo, Coheed and Cambria, Kaskade, 2Many DJ's, Major Lazer, Dirty Projectors, Gossip, Z-Trip, The xx, John Waters, Les Claypool, The Raveonettes, Mew, Sia, Camera Obscura, Tokyo Police Club, Porcupine Tree, Old Crow Medicine Show, Aterciopalados, Bassnectar, Frightened Rabbit, Dirty South, Flying Lotus, Corinne Bailey Rae, Pretty Lights, Shooter Jennings, RX Bandits, The Almighty Defenders, Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros, Craze & Klever, Zoe, The Temper Trap, Portugal. The Man, Band of Skulls, Girls, Beach House, Steel Train, Frank Turner.

Sunday (4/18)
Gorillaz, Pavement, Thom Yorke/Atoms for Peace, Phoenix, Orbital, Spoon, Sly and the Family Stone, De La Soul, Julian Casablancas, Plastikman, Gary Numan, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Sunny Day Real Estate, Yo La Tengo, MUTEMATH, Deerhunter, Infected Mushroom, Club 75, Matt & Kim, The Big Pink, Gil Scott-Heron, King Khan and the Shrines, Florence and the Machine, Yann Tiersen, Little Boots, Miike Snow, Talvin Singh, Ceu, B.o.B., Babasonicos, Owen Pallett, The Glitch Mob, Mayer Hawthorne, Local Natives, Rusko, The Middle East, Hadouken!, The Soft Pack, Kevin Devine, Paparazzi, Delphic, One EskimO.

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