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Coachella has become the bread and butter of music festivals. Known for its stacked, star-studded lineups, fashion trends and hippie-style camping experience in the deserts of Indio, the festival has developed a culture of its own. Think you know everything there is to know about Coachella? Read on to sharpen up on your festival wisdom so you can impress all your friends with nuggets of knowledge all weekend long.

The Birth of Coachella

Many festival goers don’t know the story behind how the cultural phenomenon that is Coachella came to be. Surprisingly, it all started with Pearl Jam. Just after frontman Eddie Vedder had spoken out against high fees being tacked on to their show’s tickets, he boycotted the sellers by having his grunge group perform at a remote location in the deserts of California: Empire Polo Club.

Soon-to-be Coachella founders and then-music producers Rick Van Santen and Paul Tollett observed how incredibly popular the event was, despite its inconspicuous locale. If Pearl Jam sold out a mammoth show in the desert, why not throw an even bigger festival in the same middle-of-nowhere desert venue? And thus, Coachella was born. The event still takes place at the Empire Polo Club grounds today, with the unique option to camp on-site.

1999: The First Coachella Music Festival

That’s right, folks. Coachella is a 90s baby (and from its attendees’s fashion trends, rightfully so.) This year, Coachella will be turning 21 years old. Headliners at Coachella’s debut were Beck, Tool, and Rage Against The Machine, who also happen to be headlining this year’s edition of the festival. Other performers included Chemical Brothers, Morrissey, Jurassic World, A Perfect Circle, and Underworld. Surprisingly enough, the first Coachella lost money, and the festival was forced to take a year off to regroup. Now, it’s one of the top grossing festivals in the US. They’ve also held the festival at Empire Polo Club in Indio, CA every year since its start. Talk about not breaking tradition!

Check out the 1999 edition of the festival poster here.

Coachella’s Annual Attendance

Sometimes it seems like everybody and their mother attends Coachella. After reading the stats, you might think it’s true. In 2017, an alleged 250,000 festival goers attended Coachella, grossing over $114 million in total sales, according to Billboard. For comparison, the 2001 edition of the festival only garnered around 32,000 attendees. Coachella is one of the most rapidly growing music events of our time, and the most profitable music festival in the US. With huge headliners this year like Travis Scott, Rage Against The Machine, and Frank Ocean, fans are eager to see how many festival goers the 2020 edition garners this summer.

Live Stream + Documentary

For those who can’t attend the massive festival in person, Coachella annually live streams performances via YouTube. In addition, a new documentary about the history of the iconic festival titled Coachella: 20 Years in the Desert will be released via YouTube Originals in celebration of its 20th anniversary. The documentary will highlight memorable performances from artists such as Kanye West, Björk,  Daft Punk, and Rage Against the Machine (who in fact played at the very first Coachella festival in 1999.) With over two decades worth of music history under its belt, the upcoming festival documentary is sure to be an all-around crowd pleaser.

Coachella: 20 Years in the Desert is set to debut on March 31 via YouTube Originals.

Weekend Ticket Exchange

Have a pass but can’t make it to the festival after all? Did you buy a pass to Weekend 1, but all of your friends are going to be attending Weekend 2? Well, you’re in luck. With Coachella’s weekend ticket exchange program, fans can easily sell or request to swap their tickets with others to make sure they are able to attend the event. While it isn’t guaranteed that Coachella will be able to pair your ticket to swap with someone else, the program only works if people offer up their tickets for a swap. It’s a great way to throw your hat in the ring, and to be sure that you are swapping passes with another legitimate ticket purchaser in need.

Coachella 2020 Tickets

Weekend 1 tickets to Coachella are already sold out on the primary market, though folks can still register for Weekend 2 presale at the official festival website. Miss out on buying passes completely? Check out our ticket buying guide to find out all the different methods of acquiring tickets. You can also head here to start shopping on SeatGeek.

(Image by Jason Persse via Flickr. | CC 2.0)