How long does Coachella last and when was the first festival?


Coachella is back after a Covid-related hiatus (Picture: Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Coachella)

Hippy-dippy and uber-trendy Coachella is Southern California’s best known music festival.

Officially called the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, the annual event takes place near the valley – in the 78-acre Empire Polo Club in Indio, set in the Colorado Desert.

It’s always crammed with celebrities, and without fail introduces new fashion and beauty trends for the summer ahead.

And the line-up is always noteworthy, with Harry Styles, Billie Eilish and The Weeknd drawing crowds in 2022 – despite headliner Kanye West’s sudden cancellation.

But how long is the festival itself, and when did it begin?

How long does Coachella festival last?

Usually, Coachella lasts six days, split over two consecutive weekends.

In 2022, the festival kicked off on Friday, April 15, with performances on Saturday, April 16 and Sunday, April 17.

The second weekend in 2022 occurs from Friday, April 22 to Sunday, April 24.

Notably, the festival was cancelled in 2020 and 2021, due to the Covid pandemic. But it does usually happen each April, even though the exact dates change.

When did the first Coachella festival take place?

Originally, Coachella began life as an October music festival, starting in 1999.

Beck, Tool, Underworld, Moby and Rage Against The Machine were among the first headliners and acts to take the stage.


Calvin Harris DJing at Coachella 2014

Calvin Harris performing at Coachella 2014 (Picture: DAVID MCNEW/AFP via Getty Images)

It was founded by Paul Tollet and Rick Van Santen, and their music events company Goldenvoice.

US publication The Ringer noted in a deep-dive into Coachella’s history that the first festival wasn’t a financial hit for Goldenvoice – losing them approximately $1 million.

But that wasn’t to stop Coachella from one day becoming a behemoth among music fans.

The festival returned after a break in 2000, with a one-day show in 2001. Coachella (and Goldenvoice) were later acquired by AEG Worldwide – aka Anschutz Entertainment Group.

Coachella then grew into a two-day event in 2002, and by 2003 had started making money. It’s been held most years since, with the exception of 2020 and 2021 for obvious, pandemic-related reasons.

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