The Impact of Coachella on the Community

Author: Suraj Sunkara

The BRB Bottomline

Coachella is finally returning after two years of cancellations due to the pandemic. Continue reading to learn more about the immense impact of the festival on the local community.

Whether or not you follow the music industry, chances are that you know what Coachella is (you might even be going soon). As one of the largest music festivals in both the United States and the world, Coachella attracts hundreds of thousands of people together to watch renowned acts with the likes of Harry Styles, Billie Eilish, and The Weeknd. For such an anticipated event, it might come as a surprise that Coachella takes place in a historically agricultural area. Indio, where Coachella has been held since its inception in 1999, is a city in Riverside County, CA with a population of under 100,000. The city itself is thus smaller than the crowd it attracts at Coachella.

Financial Impact of Coachella

With the enormous crowds Coachella attracts comes an incredible amount of financial stimulation to the local economy. Attendees need places to eat, sleep, and drink when they’re not jamming out to their favorite artists. According to a study from 2016, the festival brought about $106 million to the Indio’s economy and $600 million to the wider Coachella Valley economy. On top of the increased revenue local businesses see due to festival goers, the city itself also gets money from sales taxes, occupancy taxes, and additional fees the festival organizers pay to the city per ticket. The impact of Coachella on the community is so immense that over the past two years when the festival was canceled due to the pandemic, many local businesses struggled financially.

Environmental Impact of Coachella

The massive festival does not come without drawbacks. Most notably is the huge negative environmental impact it has on the surrounding area. It’s been estimated that Coachella generates 107 tons of solid waste each day with only 20% of that getting recycled. The Coachella organizers have been attempting to minimize their footprint through various sustainability initiatives, however.  For example, concertgoers can trade bottles, cans, and cups for merch, food vouchers, and more. They also try to minimize their carbon footprint through offering shuttles and prizes to carpoolers. While there is still a long way to go to minimize the negative impacts of the festival on the community, these are some steps in the right direction.

Final Words

If you are planning on going to Coachella this year, try to eat at and buy from local businesses. On top of that, try to carpool and bring a reusable water bottle to reduce your negative impact. Pick up after yourself, and maybe you’ll even have a chance to win some free merch. Finally, make sure to have a blast!

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