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Coachella in crisis: festival organizers threaten move over major tax hikes (Update: tax plan dropped)

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A new tax initiative in Indio, California could force Coachella from its famed home. According to The Desert Sun, a local news outlet, festival organizers are seriously considering moving due to the significantly higher expenses. “If the tax initiative of putting $4million to $6million onto Coachella gets on the ballot, we’re going to take off 2014; 2015 will be at a new facility outside of Indio,” said Goldenvoice president Paul Tollett.

Since 1999, Coachella has attracted countless visitors — 225,000 in the past two years alone — which has earned the city millions of dollars in taxes year after year. The new admissions tax would double from 5% to 10% and could cost Goldenvoice millions of dollars – a spike that has outraged the promoters enough to explore relocation.

“You know were moving right? All this is a game. Why in the world would we stay where we are not wanted. LQ doesn’t want us, Indio wants to take all our profits. Its a joke.”

The potential relocation may mean expansion, as Goldenvoice has explored the idea of occupying 1,000 acres – almost double the size of the current 600 acre location. The move doesn’t have to mean a change of scene – loyal Coachella attendees will be pleased to hear that there are several potential destinations that could keep the festival in the Coachella Valley.

 “My thinking is if there’s another venue, it ought to be a venue that has 1,000 acres. Why go back to 600 if that’s where we’re at now?”

Good news for festival-goers in addition to the possible larger venue – president Tollett has also made statements indicating that he would like a later curfew and more liberal sound restrictions. Coachella 2013 will occupy Indio for possibly the last time for its double header set to take place April 12-14 and April 19-21. We will wait for the dust to settle on the controversial text-threads and legal issues in California as we follow Coachella’s changes.

Update: The Desert Sun is now reporting Indio councilman Sam Torres has dropped the tax plan after the threat of losing the festival angered residents and fellow council members.

ViaThe Desert Sun

Jacob Schulman contributed to this report

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