The New Yorker today published an endlessly fascinating profile of Coachella mastermind Paul Tollett that gets into the nuts and bolts of how the massive festival is operated. No detail, though, seems to have caught as much attention as the allegation the festival recently turned down a chance to host the first-ever U.S. performance by Kate Bush.
As Pitchfork brought to our attention, the story contains a passage in which Marc Geiger, a William Morris Endeavor booking agent and the co-founder of Lollapalooza, reveals that he pitched a Bush appearance following the stage-shy singer’s 22-night run of performances in London in 2014. Those highly theatrical concerts were the first full public performances by Bush since 1979.
New Yorker writer John Seabrook recounts:
In addition to curating the lineup, Tollett had booked the hundred and fifty acts himself, negotiating all the offers with agents—a six-month process. He also fielded a lot of pitches that he had to turn down. Geiger, of W.M.E., described their working method: “I’ll say, ‘Kate Bush!’ And he’ll go, ‘No!,’ and we’ll talk through it. I’ll say, ‘She’s never played here, and she just did thirty shows in the U.K. for the first time since the late seventies. You gotta do it! Have to!’ ‘No! No one is going to understand it.’ ”
Tollett doesn’t corroborate the Bush story, and it’s not clear whether it was a serious effort to get the singer on the festival’s stage. While the appearance of ‘Kate Bush’ on a Coachella lineup poster may not be an instant ticket draw, it certainly would have generated massive amounts of buzz for the festival.
For much, much more detail about Coachella and its co-founder/booker, read the full New Yorker feature.
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