We thought Goldenvoice was concerned about City Councilman Sam Torres.
It turns out they were more worried about another part-time Indio resident: Live Nation chairman Irving Azoff.
Live Nation Chairman Irving Azoff (left) and Goldenvoice President Paul Tollett
(Photos by Rick Diamond/Getty Images and Chris Miller)
Azoff and Goldenvoice President Paul Tollett are friendly rivals. They played golf last year in La Quinta. They’re both speaking Nov. 7-8 at the Billboard Touring Conference & Awards in New York. Azoff is giving the keynote Q&A and Tollett, Skip Paige and Bill Fold will talk on “The Grass, The Palms, The Music: Inside Coachella.”
Live Nation dove head first into the cruise entertainment business last January by launching its Holy Ship!! cruise on the Italian liner MSC Poesia. Its next one departs Jan. 4-7 from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. through the Bahamas. It’s already sold out with an entertainment lineup of DJs — most notably Justice doing a DJ set.
The creators of the Mayhem Festival, the country’s largest touring heavy music event, also are taking music to the high seas. They’re launching a heavy metal cruise from Miami through the Bahamas on the Carnival Imagination line Dec. 7-10 with entertainers including Lamb of God, Machine Head and Anthrax.
Broadway showed its interest in cruise entertainment at last month’s Tony Awards. The Royal Caribbean International’s troupe of performers did two numbers from their full-length production of “Hairspray” in a cutaway segment on the television broadcast.
The S.S. Coachella lineup poster
So it was only a matter of time before Goldenvoice jumped on board with their brand of entertainment.
Coachella’s brand has become like a Good Housekeeping seal of approval for bands. It signifies a certain level of achievement.
A corporation’s job is to grow its brand, so it was only natural that Goldenvoice would take bands parading the Coachella brand and put them on the new hot entertainment platform with a smattering of Coachella accoutrements.
Voila! Step this way for the magical, mystical S.S. Coachella cruise, featuring Pulp, Hot Chip, Z-Trip and more! It casts off from Fort Lauderdale roughly one month before the Live Nation cruise.
But what’s interesting about this Goldenvoice venture is that the 30-year-old company that started out promoting punk bands has teamed up with the most luxurious liner on the Solstice series: The Celebrity Silhouette.
That almost shouts that Goldenvoice has accepted the celebrity hipster label many critics have applied to Coachella as a pejorative.
99 PERCENT OCCUPIES EMPIRE
Coachella became a cultural force at the dawn of the millennium when it united a multitude of acts that couldn’t command mass media attention. Many of them couldn’t get on radio, let alone television.
Tollett realized that if he gathered a whole bunch of these “niche” acts, they could attract enough intelligent but disenfranchised fans to become one massive audience.
Goldenvoice and the Coachella crowds reveled in the fact that they weren’t mass market. TV and radio crews weren’t even allowed on the grounds of the Empire Polo Club. With the Internet and social media, they were out to prove they didn’t need the old mass media.
And they changed pop culture by proving they didn’t.
By producing Coachella on polo fields, Goldenvoice celebrated nice musical tastes. (Omar Ornelas, The Desert Sun)
Coachella also became a social phenomena by enabling these niche groups and their fans to experience the sensation of being among the elite.
Goldenvoice produced Coachella on fields where people played polo — the most elite of all sports. These young people, who were bright enough to recognize good music without it being force fed to them, felt entitled to a festival programmed by people as smart as they were. So, when they were put on a lawn for rich people, it was like a celebration of their great taste.
They looked around at the nicest large concert venue in America, and all of the great music on it, and went, “Wow!”
When the movie stars and young socialites began coming to Coachella, they attracted the attention of the mass media. But most of that interaction took place at parties miles away from the Empire Polo Club. It didn’t affect the Coachella vibe at all. The Coachella fans were still mostly 99 percenters occupying the Empire.
Think about that subliminal message for a minute. The 99 percenters were occupying the Empire.
Tollett never liked talking about the “Hollywood hipsters.” He didn’t really have anything to do with them. His organization gave passes to talent managers and they gave them to the celebrities. They were the ones who made sure publicists fed the mass media the names of their hipster clients.
So it’s kind of surprising that Goldenvoice would suddenly embrace those elitists as part of the Coachella brand.
NICHE MUSIC TO SAIL ON LUXURY LINER
Goldenvoice is using its same formula of putting niche music in an elitist venue — a luxurious cruise ship. But this time, only the wealthy can afford to go. This is more for the hipsters than the 99 percenters.
Stiletto President and CEO Garry Kief, who produces Broadway-oriented music for the Holland Cruises, doesn’t even call the cruisers “hipsters.” He calls them “yuppies.”
The music on the S.S. Coachella cruises will be hipper than any other cruise ship. But there will be more regimen and class structure than you’d ever find at a music festival.
Do you think the kids crammed into a cabin of four for $500 a person, plus $200 service fees, will be seated at the same dinner table as people who pay $9,000 for a sky suite?
Do you think the ship security will tolerate people walking into certain restaurants with their shirts off? If the infamous Naked Wizard takes off his clothes on the S.S. Coachella, they’ll probably throw him in the brig.
I’m most interested in seeing if that grass on the S.S. Coachella’s deck is real. If it’s artificial, it doesn’t deserve the name Coachella.