Save your Oldchella jokes, and start saving your cash instead. Desert Trip is happening, and with a lineup composed of globally-beloved classic rock legends, it’s shaping up to be one of the hottest concert tickets in decades. This October, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Roger Waters and The Who will descend on the pristinely manicured Empire Polo Fields in Indio, California for one of the most posh concert experiences of all time. Here is everything you need to know about this massive and unprecedented gathering of musical icons:
THE ARTISTS: The Stones. Dylan. McCartney. Neil. The Who. Roger Waters. It reads like a list of the most influential rock artists of all time, and that’s exactly what Desert Trip organizer and Goldenvoice CEO Paul Tollett was aiming for. Tollett confirmed to Rolling Stone that two years ago, he wrote down those exact six names and, one-by-one, pitched them on the opportunity to be part of the “greatest concert of all-time”. Tollett admits that without even one of those six names, the show would not have gone on. Billboard reports that the talent budget exceeds $35-million, with the Stones and McCartney earning anywhere between $7 to $10-million each. Four of the artists will earn the highest payday of their storied careers. And with only two acts playing per day, each artist will perform a full set rather than an abbreviated festival show.
THE LOCATION: Desert Trip will take place over two weekends in October — the 7th to 9th and the 1th to 16th — at Empire Polo Fields, site of Coachella. It seems fitting that a site normally used for the world’s most ostentatious sport would host a festival designed to attract an audience of elites. Unlike the multi-stage layout of Coachella, Desert Trip will only feature one (massive) stage. The music will begin at sunset every night, but gates will open at 2PM each day for attendees to start creating revenue.
TICKETS: [UPDATE: All tickets for both weekends are now sold out. Limited travel packages remain.] General admission weekend passes start at $399 and go on sale here May 9th at 10AM PST. However, according to posted seating charts, GA passes will leave you about a football field away from the stage — and that’s if you’re at the “front”. Organizers have implemented several levels of premium seating for those with the dough to blow. $1599 will get you access to an exclusive standing pit at the very front of the stage for the weekend, but if standing isn’t your thing, you can opt for reserved floor seats, or tiered grandstand seats. Floor seats start at $699, grandstand at $999, with both topping out at $1599. The highest-priced passes will include access to the Platinum Lounge, which offers all the comforts (shade, couches, premium bars and bathrooms) necessary to spend a weekend in the scorching desert heat without breaking a sweat. At the moment, only general admission passes are available as single-day offerings.
THE CAMPING/LODGING SITUATION: On-site camping passes start at $99, but organizers realize their target demographic might not be the camping type. Everything from luxury yurts to lavish hotel packages will be available for those with the dough, with deluxe add-ons virtually limitless. Bored with the musical offerings? Add a tee time and go golfing instead! Or maybe enjoy a day at the spa before a night with Roger Waters. Initial demand for luxury accommodations was so high that all options were temporarily pulled down from Desert Trip website and later re-posted with “adjusted” prices. If you want to stay locally but not in a luxury package, good luck. The announcement of Desert Trip saw some hotel rates in Indio and Palm Springs soar to over $500/night, and that’s if they’re available at all. While many will want to stay as close as possible to the festival site, round-trip weekend shuttle passes are available for $25 and service hotels up to 25 miles away — one of the only Desert Trip offerings that could be considered a steal.
THE FOOD: Forget the Stones, how ’bout some ‘scones?! Over 50 of North America’s most well-known chefs will be on site to hock their gourmet grub, from former Top Chef contestants, to the guy who invented the Cronut. Food and booze packages can be pre-ordered, and start at $129 for two entrees and unlimited craft beer for a day. Also on offer is the “Outstanding in the Field” package, which, for $229, will include a four-course meal cooked by celebrated chefs. And of course, for $499, you can have it all! Thankfully, plenty of non-gourmet festival staples will be available for those whose idea of a four-course meal is a burger, fries, milkshake and a sundae. Check out the vast array of culinary options here.
An event with a lineup of this magnitude has never before been attempted, and Paul Tollett admits he has lost some sleep thinking about the risk. “With Coachella, we knew what the crowd was going to be. This one’s a head-scratcher.” Should the event succeed, we may see Goldenvoice (and other promoters) cashing in on this previously-untapped market of rich retirees with a thirst for nostalgia. No one knows exactly what kind of journey Desert Trip will be, but with the most successful festival promoter in North America behind it, everyone will be watching.