Coachella, Stagecoach and Other Festivals Are Back in Business

May 16, 2022

By Rich Nachmias

This April, the festival season kicked off with the return of The Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival and Stagecoach after a two-year COVID-19-related hiatus. With all weekends of these events sold out, any doubts of achieving pre-pandemic success levels for these festivals were put to rest.

New Challenges

Coachella and Stagecoach are several of the largest music festivals in the country, and the local tourist industry and businesses of Palm Springs were eagerly looking forward to their return. During the pandemic, tourism dropped 40% in the county, and more than $1 million of pandemic relief funds needed to be allocated to tourism. For Palm Springs, the festivals are the highest economic generators for the city, and local businesses depend on them each year. The return of these large-scale events means an influx of thousands of people (aka consumers) from across the globe coming to Palm Springs. As local guidelines continue to change, festivals will need to rigorously plan and have the appropriate preventative measures in place to be ready to adapt quickly to public health needs.

Coachella 2022 and Predictions for Festival Season

In-person brand activations were a staple during previous years of Coachella. And while this year they decreased compared to pre-pandemic times, this year was no exception. Many fashion and lifestyle brands activated with social media campaigns as they continue to bring high engagement and interactions with their brands. Brands like Revolve, Levi’s, StockX, and many others made their presence known on the festival grounds or off-site nearby with their events. Absolut Vodka took a unique approach and had a combination of in-person and metaverse activations. Brand activations will continue for other festivals this season, and we are likely to see more brands join in—including those related to the latest tech trends.

NFTs

A new addition for Coachella this year was non-fungible tokens (“NFTs”). Earlier this year, Coachella released three different NFT collections in partnership with cryptocurrency exchange FTX US. The Coachella Keys collection included ten lifetime passes to one weekend of the festival each year. Coachella also offered every paying attendee a free In Bloom NFT, with a limited number containing VIP perks related to the festival. On the festival grounds, these unique digital items could be redeemed at the NFT redemptions lines for a free t-shirt and food voucher. There was also an NFT scavenger hunt in which attendees could participate. The goal of these initiatives, according to Coachella’s emerging technology programs, was encouraging people to engage with NFTs for the first time.

NFTs could be an aspect that other larger festivals explore in the future, due to their high monetary value. They can act as souvenirs for the events and build an online community in the process. Music festivals focus on featuring the next major artists, so featuring the latest tech trends would pair well with the atmosphere.

About Richard Nachmias

Richard Nachmias is an Audit Partner and Partner-in-Charge of the firm's Sports and Entertainment Group. Rich has more than 25 years of experience providing services to companies in the media and technology industries.