Concerts

Why are sales of Coachella tickets so slow this year? Let’s take a look.

Usually when Coachella tickets go on sale, they’re all immediately snapped up in minutes. It could take as little as 40 minutes to maybe four hours. At least that’s been the situation for the last decade. This year, not so much.

Tickets went on sale last Friday (January 19) and as I write this, there are still tickets available for the first weekend.

According to SF Gate, ticket sales were a little slow last year, a few days to sell, including the first weekend, which is traditionally what everyone wants. That’s being repeated in 2024. Actually, things are lagging behind that. Why?

A couple of explanations. First, the lineup feels (at least to me) rather uninspiring. With headliners Doja Cat, Tyler, The Creator, Lana Del Rey, and a reunited No Doubt, the whole thing kinda feels like a big yawn. The smaller font acts aren’t generating a lot of excitement, either.

Second, if you’re going to splash out on an expensive festival ticket plus all the travel spending that goes along with it, there are better choices in 2024.

  • Lovers & Friends Festival (Las Vegas): Janet Jackson, Usher, Backstreet Boys, Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg and Alicia Keys.
  • New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival: Foo Fighters, Queen Latifah, Hozier, Earth Wind & Fire.
  • Bonnaroo (Tennessee): Red Hot Chili Peppers, Post Malone, Fred Again…, Pretty Lights
  • When We Were Young Festival (Las Vegas): This is turning into a major Millennial event.
  • Goodbye Cruel World (Los Angeles): Late Boomer and Gen-X retro alternative heaven.
  • Lollapalooza (Chicago): We’ll see.

Third, we’re running out of stars capable of attracting huge audiences in a mass appeal way. The heritage acts are retiring (Elton John, Fleetwood Mac) and while others are breaking up (cf. Rage Against the Machine). Meanwhile, acts like Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Drake, The Weeknd, U2, Guns N’ Roses, and The Rolling Stones, can make a lot more money outside of playing festivals–and with a lot less hassle.)

Fourth, the Gen-Xers who helped make Coachella what it was have long given way to Millennials. They, in turn, are ageing out of their festival-going years, meaning that Gen Z is the main target. Is that cohort as big into the festival experience as previous generations? Maybe not. They’re more of an online crowd. Many of them don’t have driver’s licenses so have no way of getting out to the desert. How else to you get there?

The live music business is changing again. Let’s see where this goes.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37808 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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