One of AEG Live’s flagship American destination festivals is thriving while another is facing elimination. According to the company’s CEO Randy Phillips, New Jersey’s two-year-old event All Points West is on the chopping block. “We’re probably going to kill it,” Phillips tells Reuters. “As beautiful as [the site] is, it’s very hard to get New Yorkers to cross that river. All Points West is an experiment that just didn’t work.” The festival took place at scenic Liberty State Park in 2008 and 2009, and many festivalgoers griped about the cost of and long lines for the ferry that transported New Yorkers to the site.
Last year’s All Points West suffered two blows: the loss of headliners the Beastie Boys due to Adam Yauch’s cancer treatment, and punishing rains that created massive mud pits and drove many would-be attendees home. Jay-Z filled in for the Beasties, turning out a powerful headlining set Rolling Stone called a “hard-rocking, non-stop blizzard of hits, punctuated by tributes to the Beastie Boys and Michael Jackson.” The 2009 fest also featured big sets from Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Vampire Weekend, Coldplay, Tool and My Bloody Valentine, but event organizers resorted to handing out free passes to those who purchased single-day tickets to encourage attendees to return for the later-weekend shows.
In its debut year, All Points West recruited Radiohead for two headlining sets, along with Jack Johnson and Kings of Leon. As Rolling Stone reported in February, an AEG rep told the New York Times the company was having difficulty nailing down big-name headliners for summer 2010. Last year the fest reported attendance of 71,500 over its three days, a slight decrease from its maiden year figure of 75,000.
Coachella, however, simply continues to grow. The monster desert fest is reporting attendance of 225,000 for last weekend’s event in Indio, California, which was anchored by Jay-Z, Muse and Gorillaz. The number tops the fest’s previous attendance record, which came when the reunited Rage Against the Machine rocked Coachella in 2007. Phillips said the 2010 gross is expected to top $20 million.
Check out all of Rolling Stone‘s reports from this year’s Coachella fest here: