Woodstock vs. Coachella

Melanie Laschiver, Mykala Healy, Michael Hogendorn and Brandon Lang

  • How have music festivals evolve?
  • The history and origin of them?
  • What makes these festivals worth going to?
  • What is the target audience?
  • What type of music is played?


  • The Woodstock Festival was a three-day concert that rolled into a fourth day.  The concert involved lots of sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll.  This music festival of 1969 is considered an icon of the 1960's hippie counterculture.  
  • The concert was created by Michael Lang, John Roberts, Joel Rosenman, and Artie Kornfeld.  Their idea was to make enough money from the event to build a recording studio near the arty New York town of Woodstock.
  • Location: Max Yasgur's dairy farm in the town of Bethel
  • Date: August 15-18, 1969
  • Tickets: $7 for one day, $13 for two days, and $18 for three days. Once the crowd was over 200,000 people fear from the creators led the concert to be open for all no admission fee.
  • 400,000 people attended
  • Janis Joplin, Arlo Guthrie, Joe Cocker, Joan Baez, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Sly and the Family Stone and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young all performed.
  • 2 deaths: one overdose and another was run over by a tractor
  • There were two births
  • The music that was played was mostly songs that were influenced by the Vietnam War in which most artists and the audience opposed
  • Started counterculture: a way of life and set of attitudes opposed to or not the social norm
  • In 1994 the 25th anniversary held Woodstock II same place
  • Now Mystery Land replaces Woodstock

"The Hippie Look": fringes, floral, bright colors, loose, rainbow, "peace signs", tie dye, headbands, glasses, beads, rock jewelry, and bohemian style

This video is a quick recap to show how many people went and all the different performances that took place.  Also who went to this concert as well as the type of music that was played.

Why Woodstock was shut down?

The last Woodstock was held in 1999.  This was the last one and ended in abruptly because there was violence, rape and fires in which the scene became unsafe.  While the Red Hot Chile Peppers were performing on the second night candles were given out to be swayed but instead they were lit up and bond fires were made.  After that an audio tower caught on fire and the fire department was called.  New York State Troopers then arrived and declared everyone to leave.  Woodstock had changed since the first one in 1969 because now tickets were $500 for all 3 days and the audience was capped at 200,000 people.  Lastly there were multiple stages which differed from the first one because there was only one stage.  

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival

Coachella is an annual festival hosted in Indio, California at the Empire Polo Club. The festival was founded in 1999 by Paul Tollett and organized by Goldenvoice.  Each year, the festival is held on three consecutive weekends in April, each weekend with an identical two-day line up.  The festival is all about music, sex, selfies, fashion, and drugs.  Coachella is considered the music festival of the year and has inspired many others across the country.

Granted the Empire Polo Club is very large and provides room for many stages, each with a different musical artist and genre continually hosting concerts.  The main stages are the Coachella Stage, Outdoor Theatre, Gobi Tent, Mojave Tent, and the Sahara Ten.  Unlike Woodstock, Coachella hires artists who perform not only rock but Indie, Hip-Hop, and Electronic Dance Music (EDM) as well.  In addition, Coachella pays tribute to other artists and includes various art installations and sculptures.  One of the more well-known sculptures is the large Moon Man.  

History: In 1993, Pearl Jam was looking for a new venue to host concerts due to their boycott of TicketMaster.  They hosted the first concert at the Empire Polo Club proving it was a successful concert venue and inspired Tollett to host a festival here.  The festival was shut down in 2000 due to Woodstock's tragic accident in 1999 but was reintroduced in 2001 as a day festival.  Beginning in 2002, the festival was brought back as a two day festival and in 2007 was turned into a three day festival.  Due to its growing popularity, in 2012, Goldenvoice added a second weekend.  Beginning in 2011, YouTube has live-streamed the whole festival and each festival since can be viewed online.  

Coachella is considered the most well known and top grossing festival making $78.3 million in two weekends for the 2015 festival.  In 2014, over the six days, attendance reached around 579,000 people.  General admission to the festival is $375 but general admission including a shuttle is $435.  VIP admission is $899 and an additional $150 for VIP parking.  Camping on site is an additional $85 for car or tent and $30 for companion parking.  

It is considered a destination festival attracting attendants from across the country.  Due to its large number of travelers, Coachella has many travel and transportation accommodations as well as a campground site across from the Empire Polo Club.  The campground was opened in 2010 and had approximately 17,000 visitors.  By 2012, the camp was equipped with onsite facilities including bathrooms, phone charging stations, food and wifi.  

Clothing is an important aspect to the festival.  When attending Coachella many try the bohemian look, almost a 70's hippie look.  Often times girls will wear beaded bracelets, head wraps (often flowered).  On site, H&M sponsors a booth selling official Coachella clothes but also their line "H&M Loves Coachella."  H&M is one of the few sponsors of the festival because Tollett believes the festival should be more about the arts than its sponsors.  

This video highlights the 2015 Coachella Festival, illustrating the layout of the Empire Polo Club, the type of people and performers at the festival.  


Inspired by Woodstock, the first Coachella concert occurred three months after the devastating Woodstock festival.  Although the two had similar concepts, Coachella was much different than Woodstock and changed the American view and culture with regards to festivals.  Coachella took place in sunny Indio, California, while Woodstock occurred in New York.  The physical geography of the two locations heavily impacted attendees views on the festivals.  The sunny skies, warm weather, manicured lawns and palm trees of the Empire Polo Club were more favorable and adapting to the weather than the hot, arid, shadeless lawn in New York.  The music between the two varied as well.  At Woodstock, the music was predominately rock while Coachella had rock but also incorporated other genres to please a larger audience.  At the time, sounds like EDM were new to the American culture and was risky to play.  Woodstock was heavily documented and national television, radio and news sources captured the essence of the show which allowed viewers to experience the thrill of Woodstock from their own home.  Prior to 2011, Coachella wouldn't allow any media into the festival which created a sense of unity at the festival and drew a larger crowd because in order to experience the thrill of Coachella, you had to physically be there.  Many believe Coachella drew up a lineup more favorable which brought in a "more intelligent crowd" which helped prevent the disasters from Woodstock from happening again, but many feel the strategic and beautiful landscaping and placement of artwork and stages helped encourage concertgoers to maintain the beauty of the land.  After the success of Coachella, festivals across the country erupted and the American festival craze had begun.  

Although the two festivals varied greatly, the concepts were the same.  Both Woodstock and Coachella bring together people with common musical interests and create a sense of unity within an enclosed region.  The festivals of the past and today all incorporate sex, drugs, alcohol and music and are centered around these ideas.  The music, demographics and methods of execution may be different, but the festivals have adapted with the time and technologies of the future, therefore enabling Coachella to be more advanced.  Ultimately, the heart of the festivals remain the same and are becoming a growing part of American culture.  

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