Coachella Threatens to Move Fest over Proposed Tax

Coachella Threatens to Move Fest over Proposed Tax
The Coachella festival has brought countless acts and thousands of fans to the Empire Polo Club in Indio, CA, since starting up in 1999, but a proposed city initiative to add a new tax to admission fees has organizers contemplating a change of scenery.

A report from L.A. Weekly explains that Indio city councilman Sam Torres is behind the tax push, which organizers estimate would add about $36 to each ticket sale (the current general admission rate for a weekend-long pass to next year's event is $349).

While the city of Indio has decided not to consider the tax hike, Torres has started a petition drive to secure the increase. He needs to obtain 2,700 signatures supporting his plan before an August 10 ballot.

Paul Tollett, president of Coachella promoter Goldenvoice, said his company refuses to implement the tax, and has revealed that they've already begun looking for alternative grounds to hold the event in the future.

"We've spent money on options for new venues," Tollet told Desert Sun. "I regret that, but I had to. There's too much uncertainty. In any other place, this festival would have had a long-term deal. We have it with the venues. With the city, it's been this year-to-year thing."

If the tax increase passes, event organizers will skip over a 2014 edition and return in 2015 at a new location.