Coachella is going Web3. Today (February 1), the festival announced a longterm partnership with cryptocurrency exchange FTX. This multi-year initiative will focus on creating crypto-powered experiences at the SoCal festival.
The project is beginning with the launch of Coachella’s NFT marketplace and the release of its first NFT series, Coachella Collectibles. The three NFT collections within Coachella Collectives include 10 lifetime festival passes, on-site experiences, physical products, and digital collectibles, all verifiable through blockchain technology. The online-only sale begins life on Friday (Feb. 4) at 10 a.m. PT through Friday, Feb. 11 at 8 p.m. PT.
The NFT series marks the first time Coachella has ever made lifetime passes available. The Coachella Keys Collection features 10 one-of-one lifetime pass NFTs include VIP on-site experiences for the 2022 event. The offerings available via these keys will change and expand from year to year at the festival.
“Since each NFT is a permanent record verified on a blockchain, they have the unique capability to securely guarantee their owner permanent rights to IRL experiences too,” Coachella’s Innovation lead Sam Schoonover tells Billboard. “We think lifetime access to Coachella is a perfect use case for NFTs. These Coachella Keys are digital items that provide real value to their owners over the long term.”
In addition to the lifetime passes, the festival will launch two limited-edition NFT drops. The Desert Reflections Collection is pairing photos from the festival with physical items including posters and photobooks. Buyers will receive one of 10 digital renditions of a Coachella poster from revered poster artist Emek. The Sights and Sounds Collection is offering 10 combinations of festival photos and “never before heard soundscapes from the Polo Fields.” This Collection features 10,000 editions, each priced at $60.
This emphasis on both IRL experiences and physical and digital objects, Schoonover tells Billboard, reflects that “some people value digital art and some people value physical items and IRL experiences. We want to give both groups of people something they can be excited about.” Schoonover adds that all NFTs sold will continue expanding in their utility and offerings.
Coachella’s NFT marketplace was built by FTX, a US-regulated cryptocurrency exchange. “FTX is a brand that prioritizes innovation without sacrificing accessibility and safety,” says Schoonover. “When considering the jump into NFTs, we wanted to partner with a team that would help us to build new and inventive solutions for our fans, while also enabling us to educate and protect those who may not be familiar with this tech.”
Coachella’s NFTs are minted on Solana, a blockchain platform that claims to have one of the lowest energy consumptions in the industry. Schoonover says it was priority for the festival to use such an energy efficient blockchain platform. “Coachella has a large audience of fans and for many of them, this will be their first time interacting with NFTs,” he says. “We needed to mint our NFTs on a platform that’s environmentally sustainable, inexpensive, and doesn’t require high transaction fees to move tokens or assets around in order to make a purchase.”
Additionally, a portion of all sales will be donated to GiveDirectly, a non-profit that makes it possible to directly donate to people living in poverty, Lideres Campesinas, which works to strengthen the the leadership of farmworker woman and girls, and Find Food Bank, a regional food bank serving the Coachella Valley region.
While the music-oriented NFT marketplace is exploding, lifetime passes are still currently rare. In March of 2021, Kings of Leon auctioned off six different “Golden Ticket” NFTs, each giving the owner four front-row seats to one show of every Kings of Leon headlining tour for life. Sales of these “Golden Tickets” generated roughly $633,000.
While there are no projected sales figures for the Coachella sale, Schoonover notes that “NFTs give us the ability to help artists, photographers, designers, and creators earn more revenue for their work.”