Goldenvoice signs deal to book Coachella Music Festival-caliber acts for new Hard Rock Hotel
Written by Bruce Fessier, The Desert Sun
Sep. 24, 2013
Goldenvoice Senior Vice President Skip Paige will discuss his company’s plans for east Riverside County on Wednesday in a keynote State of the County speech at the Palm Springs Convention Center.
But the president of the company that produces the Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals in Indio told The Desert Sun on Monday that the firm’s plans could give tourism an even bigger boost.
Goldenvoice President Paul Tollett said his company just inked a partnership deal with the Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs to book Coachella- and Stagecoach-caliber acts to perform poolside at the resort, scheduled to open Oct. 4.
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival books artists ranging from local bands and DJs to superstar headliners such as Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Swedish House Mafia. Stagecoach books modern country and Americana artists.
Tollett said no artists have been signed at the Hard Rock Hotel, but they’ll be booked to complement major Coachella Valley events, such as the Palm Springs International Film Festival, Dinah Shore Week and the White Party, which should attract even more young people to the desert.
“When there are special events in the valley, it will be more tailor-made toward that special event,” Tollett said in a telephone interview. “It could be DJs, it could be other types of talent. The Coachella Valley has so many different types of events now with the film festivals and the different golf matches, Modernism Week — all the different things and Coachella itself and Stagecoach — there are just lots of different tie-ins that we’ll be able to do.”
He said he’s working on an act for the grand opening.
As a part of the partnership, the Hard Rock Hotel will get to offer packages including hotel accommodations, Coachella and Stagecoach passes, shuttle transportation to and from the festivals and entrance to the resort’s pool events.
Hard Rock Vice President and General Manager Hector Moreno said in a statement he was “thrilled to be the exclusive partner to Goldenvoice on this project.”
Electronic dance music around pools has become a Southwest trend extending from Southern California’s beaches to Las Vegas with different types of EDM to suit the different vibes.
Tollett said Goldenvoice will program “lots of different types (of artists), kind of what the Coachella festival is known for.”
The city of Indio earlier this year signed an agreement to allow Goldenvoice to continue presenting Coachella and Stagecoach each spring through 2030, and to present two similar-sized festivals at the Empire Polo Club in the fall. The long-term permits gave Goldenvoice the security to purchase the adjoining Eldorado Polo Club, which had leased Goldenvoice land to use for its events at Empire.
A 2012 economic impact study found that Coachella brings $254.4 million to the desert, with Indio receiving $89.2 million in consumer spending and $1.4 million in tax revenue. Tollett said Paige will amplify on the festival’s economic impact.
But Tollett said he wants to attract more tourism to the desert.
“We want to contribute more,” he said. “That’s part of why we would jump in with the Hard Rock. One of my favorite people in the whole valley is Aftab (Dada, general manager of the Palm Springs Hilton Resort and chairman of the public-private tourism group, PS Resorts). He’s so Palm Springs and I want to help everybody in the valley as much as we can.”
He couldn’t describe other specific Palm Springs projects he’s exploring, but said, “We’re talking about a couple things, trying to see what’s available.”
There have been discussions of Goldenvoice booking a 5,000-capacity space in the redeveloped Desert Fashion Plaza, but he said, “They’re still putting their plans together.”
Harold Matzner, chairman of the Palm Springs International Film Festival, has said he’d like to work with Goldenvoice to add a film festival music component that possibly could be held in the Historic Plaza Theatre after the Fabulous Palm Springs Follies ends its run there in May 2014. Tollett said, “In general, whatever Harold wants, count us in. He’s just been super fun.”
There have been rumors about Goldenvoice being involved in a Hacienda Cantina and Beach Club at the site of the Old Creek Inn on South Palm Canyon Drive, but Tollett said, “If people are dropping our names, it’s the cart before the horse.”
Goldenvoice last year co-produced Tachevah: A Palm Springs Block Party, drawing 6,500 people to downtown Palm Springs. There are plans to continue that between the two Coachella weekends next April.
“Just in general, we want to help Palm Springs and any of the cities up there in the whole Coachella Valley,” he said. “When these things pop up, we’re all ears. We want to help.”
Goldenvoice doesn’t have any plans to add any new festivals or concerts to the Empire and Eldorado polo clubs this year or in 2014, but Tollett said he has been working with Empire owner Alex Haagen III to improve the properties to be ready if a major attraction — such as the 2009 Phish festival — is offered to the highest-bidding promoter.
“When we got the permit to do the extra festivals, we didn’t have anything specific in mind,” Tollett said. “The plan was if something great popped up and we didn’t have to start from scratch, we’d already have the permit in hand. We’re already making the facility nicer.”
Haagen purchased land at the corner of Monroe and Avenue 50 that could eventually allow Goldenvoice to accommodate up to 25,000 more people, he said. He bought another parcel that will provide more VIP parking and a ranch near the Thermal Raceway that has, he said, 7,400 palm trees on it. He’s using that as a nursery and moving many of the palm trees to Empire.
“We just keep trying to make it a little special, a little more different than anything else in the valley,” said Haagen. “I’m never satisfied. Each summer we have to do something else.
Goldenvoice has cleared some barns on the Eldorado property and added grass west of the VIP pavilions to provide more walking space. The grass terraces east of the VIP pavilions have been expanded from eight to 15 feet wide to provide better viewing of the Coachella main stage.
“As of right now we have no plans to add any more performance areas,” said Tollett. “We’re working on spacing things out a little bit more, making it a better experience. We don’t really need to work on the ticket sales aspect of it. We just need to work on giving people a better time.”
Some of the changes at the festivals don’t require financial investments. Tollett said he’s decided to create a general admission pit in front of the Stagecoach Mane Stage instead of restricting it to VIPs.
The country festival lineup is scheduled to be announced within 10 days and naturally Tollett says it may be his best ever.