Bruce Fessier of The Desert Sun writes in a recent article that industry projections for the upcoming 2 weekends of Desert Trip, the Goldenvoice event featuring the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Roger Waters and The Who, are for a box office gross of $150 million, breaking the all-time record gross of $84.2 million set in 2015 by Goldenvoice’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.   

Just one year ago. Goldenvoice President Paul Tollett said the concept of a multi-day concert of legendary rock stars was just one of many ideas he was batting around. While Tollett has talked for years about his desire to book major acts for Coachella, such as U2, the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, the Stones and U2 don’t usually play festivals because they prefer the control and greater stage space of their own mammoth shows. Less than a year ago, as Tollett was making his usual contacts to stay in touch with the artists he admired, he noticed several of his dream acts didn’t have concert dates in October. That’s the only time he knew he could do a fall festival at the Empire Polo Club because polo season starts in November and it’s too hot in September. When it became clear that every act was free in October, he started approaching their agents and managers one by one and explaining his concept of presenting six bands who were vital to the launch of classic rock and were still creative, working bands 50 years later. Billboard cited anonymous sources as saying that each night’s “headliner” (the Stones, McCartney and Waters) was offered between $7 and $10 million a night while the “support acts” (Dylan, Young and The Who) were offered more than $1 million per show. Tollett, who doesn't discuss numbers, said his company had been upset with Billboard, but has since repaired relations.

Tollett credited his company’s personal relationships with the artists for making this event possible. But Goldenvoice is also giving the artists an opportunity to produce a show that goes beyond the usual festival set. They’ll have a stage that’s bigger than Coachella's main stage and the sets, scheduled to start at sunset, shouldn’t be constrained with a city curfew at midnight. According to Tollett, “The size is basically the height of the palm trees we have there and [there is] a video wall that’s curved. If you can think of Cineramadome, that sort of panoramic shape? That’s what it’s going to be. We had to find something the six bands could embrace and I think it’s going to be something. I don’t think this crowd will have seen anything like this. I haven’t.” Tollett won’t talk about what each artist will be playing, although there have been discussions about that in production meetings. But he said their shows will be tailor-made for this stage. That and the Goldenvoice staff’s experience, he said, will give each artist an opportunity to optimize how they execute their material. 

Goldenvoice also is offering attractions before show time to motivate people to come early and help defuse a possible rush hour traffic snarl. Gates open at 2 p.m. and a DJ will play music transmitted to speakers throughout the field. There will be more than 250 food booths and bars, more than either Coachella or Stagecoach, lined inside and out of the stadium in large tents and on the terrace. Some 800 people also have signed up for a four-course, sit-down culinary experience being prepared by 16 chefs. 

Another major attraction will be a classic rock photo art gallery in a 36,000-square-foot tent, with a hardwood floor and air-conditioning. Raymond Roker, founder and publisher of URB magazine, has led the effort to curate the photo exhibition with 200 quality pictures of the Desert Trip artists and other rockers from the 1960s, ‘70s and early ‘80s. The 20 featured photographers include some of the greatest of their era, including Henry Diltz, who took the album covers for Crosby, Stills & Nash's eponymous debut and the Doors’ “Morrison Hotel”; Ethan Russell, who took the “Who’s Next” album cover and a classic picture of Keith Richards emerging from the Rolling Stones giant tongue-emblazoned jet with a drink in his hand; and Michael Cooper, who took some iconic photos of Richards and Gram Parsons in Joshua Tree. 

To read more, including a link to the original article and accompanying pictures, courtesy of The Desert Sun, please visit: