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Coachella’s Iconic Location Up In The Air After Tax Row

Written by Mike Hohnen on July 4, 2012

Organisers of the mega festival Coachella have threatened to move the iconic event to another location should the city of Indio’s government follow through with a referendum to introduce a tax hike that will see ticket prices increase by $18 to $36.

The Guardian reports that Paul Tollett, the President of Coachella’s parent company, Goldenvoice, said in an interview with Desert Sun that “If the tax initiative … gets on the ballot, we’re going to take off [in] 2014,[By] 2015 we’ll be at a new facility outside of Indio.”

As legend has it, local councilman Sam Torres has put forth the idea of an admissions tax of between 5% and 10% for events of more than 2,500 people. Torres needs to gain 2,700 signatures from Indio residents. However, Torres offered on Tuesday to end his campaign for signatures on the proviso that he be added to Indio’s Coachella negotiating committee.

Tollett’s colleagues have not been so civil over the issue, with a vice-president posing the question: “Why in the world would we stay where we are not wanted?” But Tollett remains diplomatic, futher stating that “We love the city…we think this tax is outrageous for all the things we’ve done with Indio. [Sam’s] slogan should be: ‘I want to turn the City of Festivals into the City of Festival’ – the Tamale festival, which is free … That’s his legacy.”

Organisers won’t need to look far for a new location. The event already injects several million dollars into the city’s economy; other councils will jump at the idea. “In any other place, this festival would have had a long-term deal”, he complained. “With Indio, it’s been this year-to-year thing.”

Indio has been the host city for the event since 1999 and has seen Coachella grow to one of the biggest festivals in the world, a benchmark for other events to follow. This year it even made history by bringing departed rapper Tupac back to life.

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