Coachella: 20 Years in the Desert image. Photo by YouTube / Google
Coachella: 20 Years in the Desert image. Photo by YouTube / Google

The Documentary Features Interviews with Steve Aoki, Wu-Tang Clan, Perry Farrell, and Billie Eilish

YouTube has just released a new documentary that highlights the 20 year history of Coachella. The film runs close to one hour and forty five minutes in length. It was produced and directed by Chris Perkel. Executive produced by Raymond Leon Roker and Paul Tollett.

The documentary begins with the humble beginnings at Empire Polo Field in Indio, California and the punk scene in Southern California. Gary Tovar, Goldenvoice Founder, provided insight on his passion for booking live music events. He teamed up with Paul Tollett, Founder of Coachella, to collaborate on booking and promoting shows in California.


In 1993 Pearl Jam was at a tipping point on the amount of fees being added to tickets, and were looking for options aside from the mainstream players. Goldenvoice worked to host a concert with Pearl Jam at Empire Polo Field with 25,000 attendees.

Six years later in 1999, on October 9 and 10 the first Coachella festival was hosted with Rage Against the Machine, Tool, Beck, Jurassic 5, the Chemical Brothers. The first year numbers were lower than expected with 17,000-20,000 attendees.

After the first event drawing less than expected numbers, Goldenvoice partnered with AEG to help fund the 2001 event with Jane’s Addiction headlining.

At one time, I was doing promotion for small festival in Southern Illinois. We had many of the similar issues that Goldenvoice has had over the years, but with less population in Illinois in comparison to California, we had less of a chance to secure partnership with AEG. Over the past few years, I have worked with AEG promoters on concerts. I love the partnership now living in Denver.

In many ways, travel costs, time and schedule, and accessibility to Coachella has kept me away from the event. The live streaming and reviews of the festival have made being physically apart from the action manageable.

The Madonna performance at the 2006 event still pulls at my heart strings. It would have been a treat to be in the Dance Tent within the intimate setting. In 2006 they also hosted Daft Punk in the Sahara Tent. That year the festival set itself apart from all other major music festivals in the United States.

When the festival released the 2020 lineup and announced they would be bringing back Rage Against the Machine, I was close to working on travel plans. I continue to wait for the right time to cover the Coachella Music and Arts Festival. It is one of the few festivals still on my bucket list to cover as a journalist.

In 2020, Coachella has rescheduled their event from April to October 9-11 and October 16-18.

Watch Coachella: 20 Years in the Desert on YouTube.

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Matthew McGuire is the founder and editor of Crescent Vale News. In 2014, he acquired a master's degree in Professional Media and Media Management from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.