$50 Tickets and Melting Vinyl: A Look Back at the First Coachella Festival In 1999

Ah, Coachella. The only place where you can pay $10 for a bottle of water and still feel like you’re getting a good deal.

Believe it or not, Coachella wasn’t always a giant Instagram filter. Before it was the marketing metropolis it is today, it was a rough-and-tumble romp in the desert on October 9th and 10th, 1999. Devoid of helicopter Uber riders and Walmart yodelers, Coachella’s humble beginnings are crucial to its legacy as a pioneer in the festival space.

Coachella now annually rakes in well over $100 million in revenue. And its impact on the local economy is even larger, with last year’s festival providing a $400 million boon.

But it wasn’t always the golden goose of Goldenvoice. After the inaugural Coachella in ’99, its organizers crumbled under the weight of the pitfalls of running a first-year festival. They lost roughly a million dollars that year, nearly bankrupting the company.

Heavy is the head that wears the flower crown.

“To break a brand-new festival sixty days away is financial suicide,” Paul Tollett, Coachella’s co-founder, told The New Yorker in 2017. “But we didn’t know that.”

The iconic ferris wheel at Coachella.

Brian Rapaport/EDM.com

Today’s Coachella tickets start at $549 before fees and VIP passes will ding you $1,049. How much were tickets back in ’99, you ask? A meager $50, less than 10% of today’s cost.

In 2023, that will buy you chicken tenders and an oat-milk latte.

In retrospect, it was nothing short of highway robbery to pay $50 for a festival headlined by Beck, Rage Against the Machine and Tool. Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction, who co-founded the iconic Lollapalooza festival eight years prior, played a solo set on opening day.

Electronic music was a lynchpin of Coachella from the outset. The Chemical Brothers, Moby, Fatboy Slim, A-Trak, Underworld, Thievery Corporation and Carl Craig’s Innerzone Orchestra were just a few to appear in ’99.

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Before it became a dance sanctuary for EDM fans at Coachella, the Sahara Tent started out as a techno tinderbox. The first-ever Sahara lineup featured pioneering artists Richie Hawtin, Juan Atkins and Kevin Saunderson, among others, who set the stage for many totemic performances in their wake.

Who could forget Daft Punk’s legendary pyramid show of 2006?


While early techno music walloped Sahara, Amon Tobin, Nightmares on Wax, Kid Koala and more performed over at the Gobi Tent. But the structure couldn’t protect them from the blistering desert heat.

The sun at the Empire Polo Club was vicious, beating down on the dust bowl with a 100-plus-degree fist. At one point, Koala said, his vinyl began to melt.

And so did Coachella’s prospects. After taking a loss in ’99, Tollett planned for a turn-of-the-century rebound in October 2000. He ultimately canceled, however, and instead partnered with Pasquale Rotella to produce Nocturnal Wonderland at the Empire Polo Club in September, strengthening its EDM bonds.

The rest, as they say, is history.

The poster for the inaugural Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in 1999.

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival

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At Least 29 Dead After Nightclub Fire In Istanbul: Report

A Tuesday afternoon fire at the Masquerade Club in Istanbul, Turkey has claimed the lives of at least 29 people, the BBC reports.

Istanbul governor Davut Gül said the blaze broke out during the day while the venue was closed for renovations, although its root cause remains unclear. Masquerade was located on the ground and basement floors of a 16-story building in the city’s Besiktas district, the governor’s office stated in a press release.

No events were occurring inside the club at the time and most of the victims, Gül added, are believed to be members of the team working on the renovations. Many were also hospitalized and are currently being treated for their injuries, he said in a statement provided to press at the scene.

In the aftermath of the fire, Istanbul’s mayor, Ekrem Imamoglu, said that Masquerade’s proprietors had failed to obtain the “correct construction permit,” per the BBC.

Arrest warrants were reportedly issued for eight people connected to the incident, including the club’s manager and the person in charge of the renovations. Three of those eight individuals have been brought into custody at the time of this writing.

An official investigation into the fire is now underway, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya announced in a post on X.

Martin Garrix, David Guetta, Hayla, More Take Home 2024 EDMAs: See the Full List of Winners

The winners of the 2024 Electronic Dance Music Awards have been revealed.

A highlight of this year’s Miami Music Week, the 2024 EDMA ceremony took place on Friday, March 22nd at the Eden Roc Hotel a day after EDM.com‘s official pre-party. Normally a sun-kissed poolside affair, the event moved indoors as Miami was getting walloped by 2.34 inches of rain, an all-time daily record for the city.

But the weather didn’t deter the organizers of the EDMAs, which have emerged as the electronic dance music industry’s preeminent award show. Driven by its fan-based voting system, the MTV-style ceremony dishes out unique trophies as mementos, which resemble DJ decks and feature a functional jog-wheel.

deadmau5 and Kaskade of Kx5 holding their EDMA 2024 trophies at the official EDMA ceremony at Miami’s Eden Roc Hotel on Friday, March 22nd.

Nate B

This year’s winners include Martin Garrix, Alan Walker, David Guetta, Kx5 (deadmau5 and Kaskade), HALIENE, Armin van Buuren and FISHER, among other dance music superstars. Mark Knight, the influential founder of Toolroom Records, won the EDMA Icon Award.

Meanwhile, surging singer-songwriter Hayla took home two EDMAs after winning “Vocalist Of The Year” and “Dance Song Of The Year.” She nabbed the latter award for her beloved dance anthem “Where You Are,” a chart-topping collaboration with John Summit.

Hayla holding her two EDMA 2024 trophies at the official EDMA ceremony at Miami’s Eden Roc Hotel on Friday, March 22nd.

Nickolas Wolf

Mark Knight and EDMA Producer Marina Bello celebrating Knight’s EDMA Icon Award win.

Nickolas Wolf

The EDMA for the year’s best techno artist went to Charlotte de Witte and the hardware for the year’s top dubstep producer went to Subtronics. Legendary electronic music duo Chase & Status won the award for the best drum & bass artist.

Elsewhere on the list, French house music star HUGEL won the EDMA for “Breakthrough Artist Of The Year.” Levity, the blossoming EDM.com Class of 2024 trio, were named the “Breakthrough Artist Of The Year” for bass music.

Check out the full list of the 2024 Electronic Dance Music Award winners below.

2024 EDMA Winners

Dance Song Of The Year
John Summit & Hayla – Where You Are

Dance Radio Song Of The Year
David Guetta, Anne-Marie, Coi Leray – Baby Don’t Hurt Me

Male Artist Of The Year

Female Artist Of The Year

Vocalist Of The Year

Club DJ Of The Year
Steve Aoki

Dance Radio Artist Of The Year
David Guetta

Producer Of The Year
Vintage Culture

Album Of The Year
Alan Walker – Walkerworld

House Song Of The Year
Noizu & Westend & No/Me – Push to Start

Music Video Of The Year
Eliza Rose, Calvin Harris – Body Moving

Label Of The Year
Armada Music

Breakthrough Artist Of The Year

Breakthrough Artist Of The Year (Trance)
Tim Clark

Breakthrough Artist Of The Year (Bass)

Best Collaboration
Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike & Tiësto & Dido & W&W – Thank You (Not So Bad)

Tech House Song Of The Year

Tech House Artist Of The Year

Best Group
Kx5 (deadmau5 and Kaskade)

Dance / Electro Pop Song Of The Year
Frank Walker feat. Ella Henderson – I Go Dancing

Best Fan Army
Alan Walker: Walkers

Dubstep Artist Of The Year

Favorite Nightclub Residency (U.S.)
Steve Aoki – HQ, Atlantic City

Nightlife DJ Of The Year
Stoon – NYC

Best Radio Show
Armin van Buuren – A State of Trance

Best Performance
KSHMR – UNTOLD Music Festival, Romania 2023

Best Instrumental Non-Vocal Release
Alan Walker – Dreamer

Techno Artist Of The Year
Charlotte de Witte

Techno Song Of The Year
Hardwell, Maddix, Luciana – ACID

Drum & BassSong Of The Year
Chase & Status, Bou- Baddadan (feat. IRAH, Flowdan, Trigga & Takura)

Drum & Bass Artist Of The Year
Chase & Status

Best B2B
James Hype B2B MEDUZA – New Years Eve, Echostage

Main Stage/Festival Song Of The Year
Martin Garrix & Sentinel feat. Bonn – Hurricane

Favorite Festival Series (U.S.)
Breakaway Festival

Mashup Of The Year [Presented by Digital Music Pool]
Fast Car x Drive (Switch Disco Edit)

Mashup Artist of the Year [Presented by Digital Music Pool]
Anthem Kingz

Remix Of The Year [Presented by Digital Music Pool]
Jain – Makeba (Ian Asher Remix)

Remixer Of The Year [Presented by Digital Music Pool]
Sak Noel

Rising Remixer Of The Year [Presented by Digital Music Pool]
Cheyenne Giles

Best Down Tempo Turned Up [Presented by Digital Music Pool]
ILLENIUM feat. Nina Nesbitt – Luv Me A Little (BONNIE X CLYDE Remix)

Remix Rewind [Presented by Digital Music Pool]
Aqua – Barbie Girl (Tiësto Remix)

Rising Mashup Artist Of The Year [Presented by Digital Music Pool]
Even Steve

Best Use Of Sample [Presented by Digital Music Pool]
David Guetta, Anne-Marie, Coi Leray – Baby Don’t Hurt Me

Remake Of The Year [Presented by Digital Music Pool]
Cash Cash, Taylor Dayne – Tell It To My Heart

Mixshow DJ Of The Year (Top 40 / Dance) [Presented by Total Smash]
DJ GQ (Y100 Miami)

Radio Remixer Of The Year [Presented by Digital Music Pool]

Icon Award
Mark Knight

Legend Award

New Netflix Film From Ed Banger Creative Director Depicts a DJ Redemption Arc

The high-stakes thrills of electronic dance music are set to hit the big screen at Netflix.

Ed Banger Records creative director So Me, whose real name is Bertrand de Langeron, is embarking on his debut feature film. The untitled Netflix original features the influential French electronic music producer Kavinsky as well as Vincent Cassel, whose acting repertoire swings from the dark, haunting corridors of Black Swan to the slick charm of Ocean’s Thirteen.

Cassel slips into the shoes of Scorpex, a once-famous DJ whose career is in decline as new stars rise to fame.

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Cassel’s Scorpex finds a chance at redemption by virtue of a secret mission from an eccentric French intelligence agent wherein he must ultimately take out his ascendant DJ rival, Vestax. Portrayed by the French YouTuber Mister V, Vestax sets the stage for an epic showdown with Scorpex, pitting the wisdom and experience of the old guard against the raw energy and ambition of the new.

The film’s co-stars include Alexis Manenti, Déborah Lukumuena, Nina Zem, Nicolas Maury, Philippe Katerine, Paul Mirabel, Panayotis Pascot, Manu Payet and Alice Moitié, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Production on the film began in Paris on February 26th but it does not yet have an official release date.

Napster Is Promoting Its Music Streaming Platform Through Fortune Cookies

Nearly 25 years after forever changing the fabric of digital music distribution, it seems Napster is still focused on innovation. This time around, they’re experimenting with a more unconventional form of marketing: fortune cookies.

Napster, which is now a streaming service, has partnered with OpenFortune, a marketing company whose mission is rooted in the promotion of brands via fortune cookies distributed to restaurants.

Their campaign will embed papers with QR codes into cookies to promote individual artists as well as the Napster platform, giving them a three-month free trial. Over 50 million fortune cookies will be distributed, Music Ally reports.

While it might seem silly on the surface, it’s tough to deny the creativity of promoting music through an after-dinner snack. We’re not aware of any data from OpenFortune elucidating how much of a boon a campaign like this can provide for streaming numbers, but time will tell if their strategy is worth baking into a music release rollout.

Sweden's Silent Maestro: The Unseen Artist Behind 650 Aliases and 15 Billion Spotify Streams

Fame is often synonymous with visibility, but Johan Röhr has become one of the streaming era’s most illustrious shadows.

Orchestrating a Spotify discography that outperforms the highest echelons of pop royalty without ever stepping into the spotlight, this Stockholm symphonist has been identified as the mastermind behind over 650 artist aliases on Spotify. Röhr’s compositions have amassed a staggering 15 billion streams, according to The Guardian.

Röhr’s prolific output includes over 2,700 songs. His music, a mainstay on Spotify’s mood-centric playlists, serves as the unseen backdrop to millions of daily lives. Much of the artist’s success is believed to come specifically from editorial instrumental playlists.

Critics argue that the dominance of a few, faceless artists undermines Spotify’s pledge to support small, independent musicians. Financially, Röhr’s windfall from his streaming success isn’t fully known, although his company did report a record-breaking year of 32.7 million kronor ($3 million USD) in the 2022 fiscal year.

In response, a Spotify spokesperson told The Guardian: “There is an increased interest in functional music created to enhance everyday activities such as relaxation, focus, or studying, and these playlists are created to match the listeners’ demand. This type of music typically exists in Spotify’s Focus hub which limits competition with artists from traditional genres of popular music.”

Fundraisers Launched for Victims of Deadly Rideshare Accident After Leaving Excision Concert

Fundraising campaigns have been launched after a tragic rideshare accident killed an attendee of an Excision concert in Buffalo and left two of her friends with severe injuries.

The group reportedly left the March 21st show, which was part of Excision’s Nexus Tour, around midnight and hailed a rideshare before their vehicle was struck by a car “at a high rate of speed with no headlights.” The man behind the wheel, Devin Ford, 23, was driving without insurance or a license, according to authorities.

The crash killed Morgan Ehrenbeit and hospitalized her boyfriend, Michael Rosenbaum, who is now recovering at home. Ehrenbeit, 26, is remembered as “an adored aunt to 13 nieces and nephews, a beloved cousin, a loyal friend, and a dedicated dog mom to her best buddy Moose,” per her obituary.

Morgan Ehrenbeit, who died after a tragic car accident after attending a Buffalo EDM concert headlined by Excision.

St. John Funeral Home

Another passenger, Luke Stempuzis, 31, was critically injured and placed in a medically induced coma at a nearby hospital. Doctors there had to remove his spleen due to internal bleeding, according to a GoFundMe campaign launched by his family, and treat life-threatening injuries to his kidneys as well as a broken jaw, collarbone and ribs. Stempuzis also sustained a severe brain injury.

Rosenbaum’s family also launched a GoFundMe for help covering medical costs in the wake of the accident.

“We’re really sad to see this news,” Excision Presents, the concert’s primary organizer, wrote in a post on X. “Sending a lot of love to the people involved in this accident and their loved ones!”

The totaled car that had been carrying Morgan Ehrenbeit, Michael Rosenbaum and Luke Stempuzis.

Kristina Stempuzis/GoFundMe

Police said the driver of the rideshare vehicle, Nasir Musazada, was also killed in the crash.

Ford has been charged with two counts of felony manslaughter, two counts of felony assault, speeding, failure to use headlights, being an unlicensed driver and operating a motor vehicle without insurance, Fox 8 News reports.

The City of Buffalo held a press conference to address the fatal accident, which you can watch below.

Tomorrowland Clarifies Speculation Surrounding Thailand Festival Expansion

Contrary to local reports, a Tomorrowland festival has not yet been confirmed to take place in Thailand, Tomorrowland spokesperson Debby Wilmsen tells EDM.com.

Citing Thai government spokesman Chai Wacharonke, numerous media outlets have reported that the organizers of the iconic, Belgium-based EDM festival have confirmed a new event in Thailand in 2026. However, while Tomorrowland’s proprietors are currently exploring an expansion into the country, they’re in the due diligence phase and have not yet solidified plans for a new festival.

“In December the Tomorrowland team had the privilege of engaging in discussions with various parties and exploring potential locations for a Tomorrowland festival in Thailand,” Wilmsen tells EDM.com. “Deeply touched by the warm support, we must clarify the recent speculation: nothing has been officially confirmed or signed at this time. The Tomorowland team is diligently conducting thorough research and exploration to assess the feasibility of hosting Tomorrowland in Thailand. There is still much to be investigated.”

Wacharonke also said Tomorrowland’s unconfirmed inaugural festival in Thailand is the first of 10 consecutive editions, per The Japan Times. That claim is also unfounded at the time of this writing.

“We continue to work towards bringing the magic of Tomorrowland to new destinations, but for now, all focus on the 20th anniversary of Tomorrowland in Belgium,” Wilmsen added.

She also noted that Tomorrowland is “very honored that the Thai authorities are eager to welcome us” as their team evaluates the viability of a new festival in the region.

“Tomorrowland has a real interest in Thailand and is seriously exploring the possibility of a festival in the Kingdom,” she said. “For now Tomorrowland explores the feasibility of such a project. At this stage, there is no confirmation yet on an actual festival taking place, this is what the feasibility study will make clear.”

Tomorrowland recently expanded to Colombia after announcing a new edition of their CORE offshoot in Medellín. That event is scheduled for May 11-12 at the Botanical Garden of Medellín.

Meanwhile, 400,000 people are expected to attend the flagship Tomorrowland festival in Belgium, which will take place in Boom across two weekends: July 19-21 and July 26-28. This year’s festival will celebrate the brand’s 20th anniversary with a lineup featuring Swedish House Mafia, David Guetta, Hardwell and many more electronic dance music superstars.

How a Team of Creatives Developed Excision's Most Baffling Ultra 2024 Visuals

This is a guest column written by Gordon Droitcour, a co-founder and executive producer at COUR, a multidisciplinary creative house. He also is the co-founder of Syne Research, a brand that celebrates the visual side of the listening experience through digital album artwork displays.

Late last year, the Excision and Immanent VJ team approached COUR to handle the creative and execution for five songs of Excision’s newest tour, “Nexus,” along with Ultra Music Festival in Miami.

Elevating the tracks “Bass to the Dome,” “1 on 1,” “Death Wish,” “End of the World” and “Kern Happy Die,” COUR sought to create five distinct worlds that would seamlessly merge with the music. Aware of Excision’s reputation for creating electrifying performances, the team knew they had to deliver a spectacle that would not only enhance the music, but also leave the audiences wanting more.

The COUR team began work in December 2023, working with Excision and creative/video director Matt Medwid to develop the visuals for five tracks during the performance. Excision and the Immanent team were entirely responsible for the creative concept behind the Ultra Music Festival set and wanted the performance to be visually striking and appear as if the visuals were popping out of the screen towards the audience.

Alongside Matt, COUR drew inspiration from intense twists on nature, the pulsating beat of internet culture and the quirky realms of computer futurism to breathe life into the performance. We came up with unique concepts to accompany each of the five songs.

During “1 on 1,” the team wanted to create a Tron and Tetris-inspired architectural wonderland for Excision that would match the perspective of the stage and extend it. It was a pretty special moment. Lasers were dancing across a wireframe landscape, revealing intricate geometric shapes against the night sky. It was architecturally-led but felt like a fast, rhythm-based cube-crusher game.

Excision’s Visuals for “1 on 1” at Ultra Music Festival 2024 (0:30)

Matching the futuristic bass beats of “Bass to the Dome,” Excision wanted to bring the performance to life with pulsating cubes of lasers rolling and crashing into the earth while unleashing a barrage of pyrotechnics, shockwaves and digital signals. During the track, the sides of the cube begin to fall away, revealing a futuristic bass speaker inside.

Excision’s Visuals for “Bass to the Dome” at Ultra Music Festival 2024 (0:30)

As the show progressed and the energy of the set increased, the team wanted to create an exciting moment for the audience that would match the energy of “Kern Happy Die.” During the track, a laser is emitted from the center of an LED wall, and a reactor core is activated in the centre of the screen.

As the core began to fire up, a bright green backlight slowly began to fill the screen, illuminating a vast array of people standing on a multi-story scaffolding structure. As the song builds, the people on the scaffolding begin to convulse and move frantically.

Excision’s Visuals for “Kern Happy Die” at Ultra Music Festival 2024 (0:30)

Another concept the team developed was a futuristic computer interface that visualized a cybernetic overlord’s voice through a stunning 3D lattice structure during “End of the World.” The computer interface was a thin glass with intricate HUD visuals displaying data.

As the song darkens, the overlord leaves the computer interface, breaking the frame and extruding towards the audience. This moment fully demonstrated Excision’s unparalleled creativity and technical prowess as artists at the top of their game.

Excision’s Visuals for “End of the World” at Ultra Music Festival 2024 (0:30)

Alongside Matt and Excision, COUR transformed the stage into a rocky, hieroglyphic-filled cave for “Death Wish.” An ominous “X” emerged from the darkness, accompanied by bursts of fire, lasers and the chilling proclamation “Time to Grant Your Death Wish” splashed across large screens, which engulfed the audience in an unforgettable sensory experience.

Excision’s Visuals for “Death Wish” at Ultra Music Festival 2024 (0:30)

Though COUR specializes in video content, they pride themselves in being a multidisciplinary creative house handling things from creative direction to design to content. The Ultra Music Festival performance was a testament to Excision’s raw talent and creativity to deliver one of the most forward-thinking and innovative live music experiences.

SLANDER Are Giving Away Full-Ride Music Production Scholarships to ICON Collective

SLANDER are helping pave the way for a new era of electronic music producers to unlock their potential by giving away three full-ride scholarships to ICON Collective.

The LA-based institution’s classes cover the fundamentals and application of music production, vocal performance and music business while emphasizing artistic expression and technological proficiency.

Announcing the scholarships on social media, SLANDER said the school’s programs “changed our lives.”

“Our time at Icon was pivotal,” the duo said. “When we started classes we only had 1 year of self-taught skill in music production, and after graduating there was a night and day difference in our music. It was amazing to learn so much in such little time, and the culture at the school was truly inspiring.”

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“These scholarships aim to provide the education, guidance, and support you need to actualize your dreams,” ICON wrote in their own post.

To enter for a chance to win one of the on-campus scholarships, ICON is asking aspiring producers to share their story in a two-minute video. The content can touch on what fuels your passion for electronic music, your strengths and challenges, what makes you stand out and more.

Applications close on May 3rd and winners will be announced on May 31st. For more information, head here.


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