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Coachella Founder Explains Back-to-Back Weekends in 2012

Tim Mosenfelder/WireImage

People were left scratching their heads earlier this week when producers for the Coachella music festival announced they would go where no music festival has gone before and expand the festival to two consecutive weekends (What?). With the same lineup (WTF?). Questions arose: Why? Which weekend to choose? What would the bands do in the off week between the two weekends? But mostly, why? The festival’s founder Paul Tollett, and president of Goldenvoice who runs the festival, attempted to clear up the big “Why?” question this week in an interview with Billboard Biz.

“We had too many people who wanted to go [in 2011],” Tollett explained. “We feel that [in 2012] there will be even more that want to go, so we’re trying to create more room for them. The options would be to sell more tickets on one weekend or have two weekends, and [the latter] is the option we went with.”

According to Billboard, the 2011 Coachella fest — headlined by Kanye West, Kings of Leon and Arcade Fire — banked a record $23 million in revenue for the festival, a number that will double if the back-to-back weekend idea goes off without a hitch in 2012. Tollett say he’s OK with the fest not selling out the second weekend.

“My favorite thing would be that if it doesn’t sell out but gets close, then I would feel that everyone had a chance to go to the show,” he rationalizes. “It was hard watching people be upset that they couldn’t go last year because tickets were going for $500-$600 [on the secondary market] and that’s just not right.” The price of a three-day festival pass is $269, and has not gone up in six years.

Tollett did not elaborate on the most ambitious part of the Coachella 2012 announcement: that the same lineups would play both weekends. “We haven’t jumped into that yet, but I would think that most of the bands would just tour other cities and come back,” he said.

In the meantime, three-day passes already went on sale for each of the two weekends — April 13 through 15 and April 20 through 22, 2012. The advance sale includes a layaway plan: after an initial 10 percent down, the remaining balance can be paid in full or split across eight separate payments throughout the year.

“This year, we had a phenomenal year, and I’m guessing there will be three times the number of people that want to go,” Tollett told Billboard. “I didn’t want to ruin the show by putting 40,000 more people in per day. We’ve got more land, we could’ve gone that route, but we didn’t want to do that. We found something else that works out. I’m believing in it.”

To purchase tickets to Coachella 2012 head to Coachella.com. For more from the Billboard interview, head here.


Watch Kanye West Perform ‘All of the Lights’ at Coachella 2011

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