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People at Coachella share their job salary


Seeing live music is expensive these days. Since the pandemic, the costs of touring are higher, the processes for getting tickets are more difficult, and the demand for live music has skyrocketed.

Attending a music festival, which has long been a way to get more bang for your buck, is no exception. And tickets for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival remain some of the highest-priced in the U.S. In 2019, general admission Coachella passes were $429 including taxes and fees. Now they’re up by more than 25%, with the cheapest option (Tier 1 passes) clocking in at $549 with fees (and selling out rapidly).

When comparing Coachella to festivals across the country that often book similar performers, Coachella’s base pricing can be nearly double that of a festival like the Governors Ball Music Festival in New York City or Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn.

Still, the event is widely seen as the “gold standard of pop music gatherings” and marks the unofficial start of summer festival season. And so with around 250,000 people attending this year’s festivities over the course of two weekends, we wanted to know: Who’s choosing to spend their cash on Coachella? How much money do they make? And most importantly, do they find the steep tickets worthwhile? (Spoiler alert: Everyone we talked to did.)

Danielle Veira, left, and Gabrielle Veira.

(Julia Carmel / Los Angeles Times)

Danielle Veira

Pronouns: She/her

Age: 37

Lives in: Washington, D.C.

Occupation: Strategic communications

Income: $210,000. I’m a rich auntie; I am a single woman in the world.

First time at Coachella? Yes

Worth it? I like the diversity of the artists. I like that I’m not crowded and overwhelmed. Even the food I would say [is worth it], like today we’re having chicken fingers, but yesterday, we had fantastic dumplings and noodles. It’s very organized. We were talking about how, like, East Coast festivals, people are kind of pushy. Nobody pushed me once. Maybe people run into you walking and stuff like that. But we were pretty far up for Calvin Harris, and I didn’t feel any surge of the crowd. Everybody is just nice.

Gabrielle Veira

Pronouns: She/her

Age: 27

Lives in: New York City

Occupation: Strategic communications

Income: $80,000

First time at Coachella? Yes

Worth it? Honestly, we have gone to a few other festivals, and this does feel a lot more organized and spacious. I’m feeling very happy to be here.

Rolando Garcia standing on the grass at Coachella.

Rolando Garcia.

(Julia Carmel / Los Angeles Times)

Rolando Garcia

Pronouns: He/they

Age: 26

Lives in: Austin, Texas

Occupation: None

Income: No income, unless you count Mommy and Daddy.

First time at Coachella? Yes

Worth it? Yeah, I’ve had a great time. I’ve been doing festivals for years, and I feel like this is a festival on “easy mode” because everyone is so nice. No one’s up against you for any reason. I can just walk up to the front.

Alec Mitchell and Dillan Boada with her arm around him among crowds at Coachella.

Alec Mitchell, left, and Dillan Boada.

(Julia Carmel / Los Angeles Times)

Alec Mitchell

Pronouns: He/him

Age: 25

Lives in: Los Angeles

Occupation: Currently studying for the bar

Income: None

First time at Coachella? No, fourth time

Worth it? It’s a super unique experience. And I really like it because it’s one of the only places where you can really unplug for three days. I never check my texts or anything — it’s just so fast-paced. So it’s really good for decompressing, even though it’s a crazy weekend. I mostly go in with the expectation to just go with the flow. It can be really hectic, so I think getting a good group of friends and just sort of sticking with them and accommodating what everyone really wants to see is the best way to go about it.

Dillan Boada

Pronouns: She/her

Age: 25

Lives in: Los Angeles

Occupation: Advertising

Income: $90,000

First time at Coachella? No, fifth time

Worth it? I honestly think this was my best one yet. I don’t know if that’s just because I’m older and more experienced and know how to do it. The setting is amazing — being in the desert is just beautiful. And obviously going with a big group of friends, you’re making memories that you’re just never going to forget. And it’s just total freedom. Nothing to focus on but music for three days.

Marco Salazar wearing an outfit that looks like a swan

Marco Salazar.

(Julia Carmel / Los Angeles Times)

Marco Salazar

Pronouns: He/him

Age: 34

Lives in: San Diego

Occupation: Software developer

Income: More than six figures

First time at Coachella? It’s my 17th year.

Worth it? Yeah. Because I’ve been coming here since I was like 17 or 18, it’s kind of like a formative thing for me. I love coming out to the desert; I’ve lived nearby my entire life. So it’s kind of like revisiting that time when I discovered music, and I’m discovering more and more new artists every time.

Edd and Molly Benda sitting at Coachella.

Edd, left, and Molly Benda.

(Julia Carmel / Los Angeles Times)

Edd Benda

Pronouns: He/him

Age: 32

Lives in: Los Angeles

Occupation: Works in film

Income: Joint six-figure income with Molly

First time at Coachella? Yes

Worth it? I think we were just really excited to have the experience together. We’re big Gorillaz fans, personally, and that was a ton of fun. And then it was really cool to see Chromeo — we were dancing well into the night last night. Truth be told, this was so awesome. It’s like, what more do we want to get out of it?

Molly Benda

Pronouns: She/her

Age: 32

Lives in: Los Angeles

Occupation: Works in film

Income: Joint six-figure income with Edd

First time at Coachella? This will be my fifth or sixth time.

Worth it? This is the best [Coachella] so far. It helps when you’re with someone you love. We’re excited to see Frank Ocean but also just exploring some new music.

Christina Basile and Giorgia Calabria among crowds at Coachella.

Christina Basile, left, and Giorgia Calabria.

(Julia Carmel / Los Angeles Times)

Christina Basile

Pronouns: She/her

Age: 43

Lives in: San Diego

Occupation: Marketing

Income: $150,000

First time at Coachella? No, second time

Worth it? Absolutely. Also having the secluded area and the VIP entrance from parking makes [the walk] shorter.

Giorgia Calabria

Pronouns: She/her

Age: 17

Lives in: San Diego

Occupation: Student

Income: None

First time at Coachella? No, second time

Worth it? Definitely. We met Anderson .Paak in VIP, and you see a lot of other people too.

Charlize Agabon and Kaleem Syed in front of a merch table at Coachella.

Charlize Agabon, left, and Kaleem Syed.

(Julia Carmel / Los Angeles Times)

Charlize Agabon

Pronouns: She/her

Age: 23

Lives in: Cerritos

Occupation: Personal assistant

Income: $30,000

First time at Coachella? No, second time

Worth it? I think it was. Everyone’s here for the same thing: to have a good time. I’ve only been twice and I’ve camped both times, so I think it’s fun overall if you’re down to be low maintenance.

Kaleem Syed

Pronouns: He/him

Age: 22

Lives in: Cerritos

Occupation: Registered nurse

Income: $105,000

First time at Coachella? No, second time

Worth it? They get artists from events that you normally would never be able to see. There’s amazing food. Camping is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I’m always down when my friends are down. I think who you come with is a big part of the experience.

Paulina Gonzalez and Greta Knosel standing on the grass at Coachella

Paulina Gonzalez, left, and Greta Knosel.

(Julia Carmel / Los Angeles Times)

Paulina Gonzalez

Pronouns: She/her

Age: 19

Lives in: Austin, Texas

Occupation: Full-time student

Income: None

First time at Coachella? Yes

Worth it? Yeah, like, Bad Bunny, it’s $600 just to see him. But [here] we’re seeing Bad Bunny and other artists.

Greta Knosel

Pronouns: She/her

Age: 21

Lives in: Laredo, Texas

Occupation: Full-time student

Income: None

First time at Coachella? Yes

Worth it? The only thing that’s not worth it is how expensive the food is. You’re already paying tons for the ticket and to travel here.



This story originally appeared on LA Times

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