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Coachella Beats Recession, Attracts 166,000 For Second-Best Draw in Fest’s History

Thanks to a star-packed lineup anchored by Paul McCartney, Leonard Cohen and the return of My Bloody Valentine, this year’s Coachella enjoyed its second-best attendance ever, attracting roughly 166,000 concertgoers, Billboard reports. The news is a sigh of relief for the entire festival industry, concerns over how the recession would affect the festival biz led to layaway ticket options. Coachella’s 2007 festival, which featured Rage Against the Machine and Red Hot Chili Peppers, remains the event’s most popular year, with a draw of 186,000.

While the economy didn’t prevent the masses from catching performances by Macca and hundreds more, nearly 18 percent of attendants still opted to purchase tickets using Coachella’s payment plan, Billboard reports. Many festivals, like Bonnaroo, Outside Lands and All Points West, have adopted a similar payment approach, while Lollapalooza has stuck with the lump sum method. Still, it was the likely the lineup featuring a member of the Fab Four that most helped Coachella put up the big numbers. “The lineup I thought was really good this year, and we’ve got the momentum of all the years we’ve been going,” Paul Tollett, president of Coachella organizers Goldenvoice, told Billboard.

The actual revenue generated by the 2009 fest hasn’t yet been revealed, but given the higher attendance and the fact that organizers didn’t have to pay Prince $4.8 million to pinch hit like they did in 2008, it’s likely to come close to 2007’s record-setting total of $16.7 million. In addition, Tollett expects Coachella’s sister country festival Stagecoach, being held this weekend at the same spot, to put up record numbers in its third year. Click here for Rolling Stone‘s complete Coachella 2009 coverage.


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