Ahoy: Coachella sets sail with cruises featuring Pulp, Girl Talk, James Murphy

07.17.12 5 years ago

Coachella turned heads last year when its organizers announced there would be two identical music festival weekends in Indio, Calif. Now Goldenvoice has expanded Coachella’s reach, with two Coachella-branded cruises, also with the same lineups.

Pulp, Hot Chip, Girl Talk, Yeasayer, Sleigh Bells, James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, Simian Mobile Disco, Cloud Nothings, !!!, Warpaint, El-P, Killer Mike, Black Lips, Grimes, DJ Z-Trip, The Gaslamp Killer and more acts TBA are on the bill for late this year.

S.S. Coachella will be on the 2,800-cap Celebrity Silhouette, “a 1,000-foot, 122,000-ton ship,” with the first trip leaving from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. to the Bahamas Dec. 16 for three days. The second also leaves from Fort Lauderdale, and sailing to Jamaica for a four-day excursion on Dec. 19.  

“It even has a half-acre of grass,” Goldenvoice prez Paul Tollett told the New York Times. “It wouldn”t be Coachella without grass.”

Coachella can apparently be whatever it wants to be at this point, grass or not. Goldenvoice responded to skepticism over it’s double-weekend experiment by selling out not just one but both three-day stints. Regardless that the majority of the press coverage occurred over that first weekend, money is money. Twice the money means the brand had room for expansion, and it’s with a smaller-cap environment. On the water. With party bands only.

Ticket prices are set at $500 and above for cabins on the S.S. Coachella, which I daresay is even less than a weekend at Coachella in Indio: consider the flight to Fort Lauderdale, and no need for a parking space or a camp site. Pulp isn’t Radiohead-big, but they already helped to headline their April bill; a Girl Talk show makes much more sense on the deck of a ship or a ballroom than in a danger-ridden pit in front of tens of thousands of music fans (combined, Coachella moved 158,000 tickets this year). James Murphy will at least have an easier time catering his DJ set.

Coachella has helped to define the march of major music festivals in America in 1999, but now may specialize in the niche (not just medium or large-scale). Will this be another experiment that works out for the brand and it’s bankroll? Or does it “dillute” the brand?

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