Could Coachella Leave the Empire Polo Club?

Could 2013 be the last year we see the Coachella Music Festival in Indio?

The LA Weekly points out the wildly popular three-day event would take a year off and find a new venue if a proposed tax initiative makes it on the November ballot:

“[W]e’re going to take off 2014,” [Goldenvoice president Paul] Tollett threatened to the Desert Sun, which covers Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley. “2015 we’ll be at a new facility outside of Indio.”

The measure, proposed by councilman Sam Torres, applies to 2014 and would require an extra five to ten percent tax on admissions fees to events with attendance above 2,500 people. Tollett estimates that would come down to about $36 per ticket for a festival that drew nearly half a million attendees over its two weekends in April.

Tollett says he has no plans to tack those fees onto ticket prices, so the cost to promoters would thus be in the millions. Ticket prices for 2013 have already jumped by $34 to a total of $349 for next year’s festival; a portion of that increase, $2.33 per ticket, has been allocated specifically for the City of Indio.

Torres estimates that the proposed tax will amount to only about $18 extra per ticket, which would go toward balancing the city’s books after recent budget cuts.

From the outside looking in, Coachella appears to be too much of a cash cow for the festival to take a year off and relocate to a new facility. This (hopefully) appears to be just a bluff on the part of Goldenvoice.

Update – 07/06/12: Indio councilman Torres has withdrawn his proposal for the admission tax.

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