Retail

Coachella By The Numbers Looks More Like Cashella

Coachella has kicked off the 2018 U.S. music festival season with a $704 million bang.

According to The L.A. Times, that’s how much is spent by consumers and businesses over the course of the two-weekend Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival as well as its sister event, country music festival Stagecoach, which takes place the following weekend in the same location.

The nearby city of Indio takes in $3.18 million just in taxes from ticket sales, comprising 5 percent of the city’s general fund, while its overall economy enjoys a $106 million boost thanks to the festivals. Other surrounding cities such as Palm Springs and La Quinta also see a massive boost, with hotels selling out five months in advance of the event.

The numbers show that Coachella has become wildly popular over its 20 years of life. In fact, it had to reach an agreement with the city to up its attendee cap from 99,000 guests per day to 126,000 per day, as well as increasing the acreage of the festival grounds.

Even with these expansions, tickets sold out within three minutes, although it was possible to get them from resellers — if you were willing to shell out $1,500 per ticket.

It may come as no surprise that the type of consumer who’s willing to pay that kind of money on a ticket will also shell out for other expenses over the course of the weekend, from local lodging to food and, of course, drinks — no matter how much the prices are inflated that weekend.

Here are just a few of the expenses that festivalgoers are tacking on to their weekend price tag (and who’s making money off it).

Lodging

Many attendees book a hotel room if they’re able, and nearby hotels seize the opportunity, with some as far as 30 miles away attracting thousands of festivalgoers with pre-party events. However, there are only about 16,000 hotel rooms in the region and 125,000 concertgoers who need a place to sleep.

Attendees who don’t want to camp and missed the boat on a hotel room often turn to the only option left: Short-term home rental platforms such as Airbnb and VRBO. That can be a windfall for locals who want to get out of dodge before the crowds roll in.

One person told local news source The Desert Sun that he raked in $1,000 a weekend during Coachella — $300 more than he would ordinarily charge a student or traveling nurse to rent the space for an entire month. Another rented out his home in Indio for $2,000 to $3,000 a weekend — enough to pay half his mortgage over the course of three weekends.

Thanks to bed taxes on short-term rentals, cities get to reap the benefits of this arrangement too.

Travel

Why book a regular old flight or road trip when you could be flying on a semi-private jet? Private aviation companies JetSuiteX and JetSmarter are offering pop-up flights from Los Angeles to the festival.

Pop-up flights are special services scheduled around popular events that can be difficult to get to by traditional airline. The strategy was first introduced at last year’s Coachella and has also been used to ferry attendees to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas as well as the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, both of which took place in January.

Pop-up tickets start at $199 each way, but if festivalgoers want the real VIP experience, they can book one for $2,490. That includes in-flight cocktails, ground transportation at the festival and additional cocktails from the Absolut tent during the event.

Food

Coachella stepped up its refreshments game this year with the all-new Indio Central Market, featuring 15 restaurants from across the country. There’s vegan ramen at Ramen Hood, dim sum at Ms Chi, trendy poke, ice cream tacos and a kombucha bar with rotating taps that even has its own kombucha sommelier to guide customers through the 20 varieties of kombucha featured from across the U.S.

There are also opportunities to splurge a little more on a dinner by a famous chef: $225 buys four courses with beer and wine pairings by “Top Chef” favorites such as Bruce Kalman and Shirley Chung.

For an experience somewhere between the two (in terms of both fare and price), guests can head to one of the pop-up restaurants that Coachella introduced in 2015. Reservations are required via mobile app Open Table. The pop-ups offer a full-service, sit-down dining experience for a middling price — but only VIPs can enter, so is it really saving money to dine there?

Drinks

It’s no secret that record labels have struggled in the age of digital content. What does that have to do with alcohol? Meet Electric Sky, a company founded by an Interscope Records executive who was in search of his big break outside music production.

The company sells bottles of wine as detachable stacks of four plastic cups — making it much easier for festivalgoers to carry them back to their friends.

According to The New Yorker, Electric Sky Founder Daniel Sena’s wheels started turning when he learned that millennials are some of the biggest wine buyers in the country — but the one thing they love more than buying wine is buying experiences, such as those found at music festivals like Coachella.

Sena married the two concepts, and in the span of two years, his creation has become the go-to wine offering for some of the country’s most popular music festivals, including such marquee events as Bonnaroo and Governors Ball.

Now that’s a business plan worth drinking to.

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