Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Surprise! Coachella 2013 isn’t sold out … yet

Tickets for the first weekend of the 2013 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival reportedly sold out within 15 minutes of going on sale at 10 a.m. PST on Tuesday, but as of press time Tuesday evening, tickets for its identical second weekend remain available. That marks a sharp contrast from 2012, when both weekends of the popular SoCal desert festival sold out in less than three hours.

The majority of this year’s Weekend 1 tickets were bought up during a pre-sale last May; fans seeking to buy the remaining first weekend tickets (face value: $365) this morning were also required to purchase a shuttle pass or camping, bringing the minimum total cost of a single festival pass to $399 (camping passes ranged from $30 to $85).

Explanations for the unsold Weekend 2 passes can only be left to speculation, and the fest still might sell out soon. However, with the 2013 lineup eschewing the superstar DJs who helped broaden Coachella’s mainstream appeal in favor of hipper but lesser-known (in the United States) acts like Blur and Nick Cave, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to suspect that certain festival fans feel underwhelmed. In addition, with tickets more expensive than ever—last year’s passes started at $285—Coachella might simply no longer be affordable for some.

Still, none of this is to say Coachella has lost its high-stakes appeal: As of Tuesday evening, there were 264 ticket listings on the LA Craigslist website, with the asking price for a GA Weekend 1 ticket as high as $900. Las Vegas’ Craigslist already features 15 listings for Coachella tickets, with prices as high as $750.

Fans also reported a number of technical issues Tuesday while attempting to purchase passes through Coachella's ticket brokering site, Front Gate. Many took to the festival's official Facebook page to complain about problems ranging from long wait times to mid-purchase site crashes to reportedly being able to purchase Weekend 1 tickets hours after Coachella officials declared them to be sold out.

"I was on payment page typed in all my credit card information and it crashed. customer service PLEASE!" wrote one disgruntled fan.

"Once again these announcements were premature and misled people... at the time of this posting I had just purchased my 2nd pass for w1," wrote another fan at about 2 p.m.

Since launching in 1999, the festival has come to enjoy worldwide popularity, eventually eliminating the option of single-day ticket purchases for more pricey three-day weekend passes and, as of 2012, expanding the festival into two weekends with identical lineups. Coachella has sold out every year since 2009.

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