After much speculation, Goldenvoice Entertainment confirmed yesterday that there will be a new music festival this year called Desert Trip. Taking place on the same grounds as the annual Coachella Music & Arts Festival in Indio, Calif., from Oct. 7-9, Desert Trip will be a three-day event aimed at the hearts (and wallets) of an even more nostalgic crowd than Coachella.
The lineup boasts a star-studded list of rockers: Bob Dylan, Neil Young, the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, the Who and Pink Floyd's Roger Waters. A veritable roster of every baby boomer's favorite bands, CBC pointed out that the age range of artists starts at 70 (Young) and goes up to 75 (Dylan). Many on social media have been quick to dub the festival "Oldchella" or "Geezerfest."
"I think everybody has a sense that this is going to be something historic, and I really do not think that's overblowing it to say that," Said Chris Sampson, founding director at the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music.
Paul Tollett, the CEO of Goldenvoice, told RollingStone.com "the theme was rock and rock bands that have been playing consistently since the early days." The Who's Roger Daltrey added, "It's the greatest remains of our era. I'm glad we made it. "
While this lineup of rock 'n' roll legends is indeed impressive, it's neither historic nor historically accurate. Desert Trip advertises an experience that brings us the biggest rock icons, but those bands represent a very narrow category of rock bands - of the white and male variety. A genre often correlated with white men wielding guitars, rock 'n' roll is just as indebted to women and people of colour.
Fleetwood Mac, Joan Jett, Patti Smith, Chrissie Hynde, Debbie Harry, Lenny Kravitz, Bad Brains, Pat Benatar, Roxette, Tori Amos, Siouxsie and the Banshees, even Tina Turner are all examples of iconic figures who have been instrumental to rock music - and this is just a list of artists who are still alive and have continued to be active musically. What the Desert Trip lineup tells us is that these artists won't attract the same amount of attention or dollars; that nostalgia is only financially viable when it's presented as white and male.
But only time will tell whether Desert Trip is actually a success. Tickets for the festival are, as expected, on the pricey side: single-day passes are $199, three-day passes are $399 and there are a few options beyond that, for the festival's potential older attendees. Three different $ 1,599 packages are offered that would include "Platinum level parking," access to the Platinum Lounge and a reserved spot in either the standing pit, reserved floor seating or something called "grandstand seating." For additional costs, you can also access shuttles, camping and special meals cooked by celebrity chefs.
For millennials - an audience Sampson insured will be interested in attending - that's a steep price for reliving your parents' record collection. But hey, perhaps this is just the price of premium rock 'n' roll machismo.