Business News Live Business

Coachella would move if new city taxes introduced

By | Published on Thursday 5 July 2012


The President of Goldenvoice, the AEG Live subsidiary that produces the Coachella Festival, has said he will move the event, and sister festival Stagecoach, if its current home city, Indio, introduces a new tax on large-scale entertainment events.

A member of the Indio council, Sam Torres, has proposed a new city tax of 5-10% on ticket revenues for events attended by over 2500 people, which would include both the Coachella and Stagecoach festival ventures, staged at the city’s Empire Polo Club.

Torres reckons a tax on the Goldenvoice events would generate the city an extra $4 million in revenue (the promoters reckon it could cost them up to $6 million), which could be used to counter recent budget cuts. But Goldenvoice’s President Paul Tollett says that the tax would be an unfair burden on his festivals’ customers, especially given the contribution the Coachella and Stagecoach festivals already make to the Indio economy.

It was in a series text messages, published by The Desert Sun newspaper, that Goldenvoice VP Skip Paige first told an Indio official that the company would seriously consider moving its events to another city if the new tax was introduced. Subsequently Tollett had told reporters: “If the tax initiative of putting $4million to $6 million onto Coachella gets on the ballot we’re going to take off 2014; 2015 we’ll be at a new facility outside of Indio”.

Earlier this year Goldenvoice, which has a long time lease on the Empire Polo Club, bought some neighbouring land so that it controls all of the area used by its festivals, enabling it to put in some permanent infrastructure. Torres might argue that this would make it unlikely for Tollett’s company to really depart the city if the new tax was introduced, but Goldenvoice insists that option is seriously on the agenda.

Indio City Council declined to consider the proposals at a meeting last month, but Torres is now pushing for a vote on the matter in November.