Desert Trip organizer: ‘We were more interested in putting together a great rock show.’
The first weekend of the mega-concert featuring the biggest names in rock didn’t disappoint. To refresh your memory, that’s Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones (Oct. 7, 14), Neil Young with Promise of the Real and Paul McCartney (Oct. 8, 15), and the Who and Roger Waters In Indio, California.
Who’s responsible for pulling off this mind-blowing rock bill that started off sounding like a far-fetched Facebook rumour and became a rock n’ roll reality?
Goldenvoice chief Paul Tollett is the founder of Coachella. He’s the man behind Desert Trip (“Oldchella”). The inaugural Coachella Festival was held over two days in October 1999.
In a Q&A with Billboard online, Tollet fills in the blanks on how he’s pulled off Desert Trip.
Paul Tollet: Around May of 2015 the thought started to come together — then I went and saw each artist play again. I was blown away by how strong these artists’ shows were, and the varied demographic of the audience.
We didn’t feel the need to define it. Historic is cool and all, but we were more interested in putting together a great rock show. That never gets old.
The Audience Isn’t All “Old People”
The buying pattern is the most across-the-globe to any other event we’ve ever promoted. We have many people in their 20s, and a few in their 90s, who have bought passes. It’s probably the first show that the number of people bringing their kids is equal to the number that are bringing their parents.
“Like a Rolling Stone” made it a natural for Dylan and the The Rolling Stones together in my head, plus I saw a picture of a young shirtless Mick Jagger looking at a Dylan album, which is one of my favorite rock photos. Neil and Paul were close, so that seemed to fit well, and then the Who and Roger Waters together seemed insane. When I mentioned the running orders to the acts, all of them were cool with it right off the bat.
Read the entire chat with Paul Tollet, founder of Coachella and Desert Trip here.