There is almost always at least one unforgettable experience or event each year that leaves an everlasting imprint on our culture’s history and serves as the annual reminder of what defined hip. It’s what people will remember and take with them as they grow older.
For many, this was the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. A postponement this year and a looming cancellation may change that.
Coachella, founded in 1999, began as a three-day music festival with headlining performers being paid as much as $1 million for performances and costing around $50 for concert goers. Both of these numbers have inflated ever since.
The increase in fees has been coupled with the sudden increase of celebrity presence in attendance. A festival attendee wouldn’t be surprised to see anything from an A to D list celebrity enjoying Coachella right beside them — waiting for a performance, eating a falafel, smoking a joint or waiting in line to purchase a bottle of water or a beer.
Aside from a slight delay in 2001, Coachella hasn’t missed a year since its inception. Instead, it has evolved from a one weekend, three-day event, to a two weekend, six-day event. Headline performers’ salaries have increased to upwards of $3 million and $4 million and general admission tickets start at roughly $429 and can go up as high as $9,500 for exclusive onsite camping areas or other VIP perks.
The event is in such high demand that tickets to the event sell out in mere minutes and lodging and travel tickets are booked as early as the year before. Due to its reputation for never missing a year, the thought of a sudden and prolonged postponement to October never crossed many festival goer’s minds.
This Coachella was poised to be the 20th anniversary of the festival but was derailed by the global pandemic COVID-19. If the festival is forced to cancel, it would be the only time in its history. While the event was postponed until October, this isn’t a sure bet as the timely containment of the rapidly spreading COVID-19 is doubtful.
Should an overall cancellation be the outcome, aside from the disappointment of 250,000 or more people wanting to attend, there still remains the unresolved dilemma of providing refunds. The questions that will need to be answered will be how refunds for tickets and other accommodations will be issued — if at all.
According to numerous sources, the promoters and venue are preparing for the worst and have already devised plans to refund all paid tickets and offer some kind of incentive for those who will still remain loyal and attend Coachella in 2021. What that incentive would be has not been outlined at this point.
As for the airline ticket and lodging accommodation refunds, it is a bit more complicated as many no refund and no cancellation rules are starting to come into play.
The airline have always had a pretty strict non-cancellation policy and due to the loss of revenue from COVID-19, some airlines are reluctant to offer full refunds. Aside from those flying with some major airlines like American, Delta and United, many would-be festival attendees are awaiting a response.
Lastly, hotels and rentals are having similar issues due to lost revenue throughout the year, however larger corporate hotel chains such as Hyatt and Westin have already assured full refunds should the festival face a total closure this year.
Despite all of these things, optimism remains high and there has yet to be much negativity displayed toward what potentially could become a frustrating and costly situation should the festival be cancelled completely.