What is Coachella? Brief history of the music, arts festival

What You Need to Know: Coachella

INDIO, Calif. — For nearly decades, the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival has grown from a niche event to a yearly staple in music and pop culture. It’s come a long way from its more indie roots in 1999.

Here are some facts about the music festival:

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First tickets were $50 a day

In 1999, handing over a Grant for one day of a festival was expensive for a trip to the desert to see Beck, Morrissey, Tool, Rage Against the Machine, Moby and others in the indie rock, electronic dance and pop rock space who were popular at the time.

There was no festival in 2000

Money issues from the first festival, which saw a decrease in sales because of violence from Woodstock '99 months prior, meant there was no Coachella 2000. Goldenvoice, the company headed by concert promoter Paul Tollett, lost money. Tollett later said the first gathering cost $750,000.

The festival was two days

Except for the return of Coachella in 2001, which was only one day, the music festival started out as a two-day event. It has since grown to go across three days.

Rap and pop has taken over electronic and rock music

When Prince headlined the festival in 2008, the top-billed headliner tide turned toward more mainstream acts and away from mostly experimental electronic and rock acts. Jay-Z headlined the show in 2012 and that same year, a holographic image of Tupac performed with Snoop Dogg.

Still, alternative artists across multiple genres continue to perform at the festival, including Major Lazer, Erykah Badu, My Morning Jacket, James Blunt, Cardi B, M.I.A., Broken Social Scene, the Chemical Brothers, The xx and others.

The first female headliner wasn’t until 2017

Beyonce was initially announced as the history-making first female headliner for Coachella 2017, but when she dropped out when she was expecting twins, Lady Gaga stepped up.

Beyonce became the first black woman to headline the festival at Coachella 2018, a feat that is chronicled in a Netflix documentary directed by the singer herself.

<p>The main stage lights up after dark at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival April 28, 2002 in Indio, California. Photo Credit: Sebastian Artz/Getty Images</p>

The main stage lights up after dark at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival April 28, 2002 in Indio, California. Photo Credit: Sebastian Artz/Getty Images