May 31, 2011 / 8:43 PM / 8 years ago

Coachella music festival doubling in 2012

Dancers perform on stage at the start of Kanye West's performance during the last concert on the main stage of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio, California April 17, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Blake

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Coachella music festival, the biggest annual gathering of its type in the United States, will expand to two weekends next year, its promoters said on Tuesday.

The event, marking its 13th year, will take place in the southern California desert 130 miles east of Los Angeles on April 13-15 and April 20-22, with the same lineups for both events.

Weekend passes, with prices held at $269 plus fees, start going on sale on Friday. Daily capacity at the Empire Polo Grounds in Indio is about 90,000 people.

This year’s event, headlined by Kanye West, Arcade Fire and Kings of Leon, sold out six days after tickets went on sale in January, prompting the decision to expand the 2012 edition.

“We know many of you were unable to attend this year’s festival because passes sold out much sooner than anticipated,” promoters Goldenvoice said in a statement. “We were truly surprised by the overwhelming response and remain honored by your passion and enthusiasm.”

The unprecedented demand also forced desperate fans to acquire their tickets for hefty prices from scalpers, leaving some with counterfeit tickets. Goldenvoice is reportedly considering making the tickets nontransferable, possibly even issuing them with the buyer’s name and photo on them.

The Coachella festival was first held in 1999, a two-day event headlined by such acts as Beck, Tool and Rage Against the Machine. But it was a financial disaster for its promoters, who offered a retooled, one-day version in 2001. The event has been held every year since then, expanding to two days in 2002 and three in 2007.

Reporting by Dean Goodman; editing by Jill Serjeant

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