It has been discovered that seminal rap-metal outfit Rage Against The Machine returned half their fee to the Coachella festival after the band performed at the first-ever event in 1999. According to guitarist Tom Morello, the inaugural festival lost more money than it made in the first year.
Speaking in a recent interview, Morello explained that the festival had been so incredibly unsuccessful that first year that the organisers asked Rage Against The Machine to return half of their fee. Although a little surprised, the band were happy to oblige “because they were friends,” Morello said.
The first festival was a huge hit with fans on a fundamental, musical level. But that didn’t stop Coachella from losing around $850,000 after attracting 37,000 people over two days. Surprisingly – and perhaps thanks to RATM’s generosity – Coachella took the next year off before returning in 2001. That year’s festival was an immense success, and saw the promoters, at last, make a profit.
These days, Coachella can expect to see something like 200,000 plus people attend the annual festival, which, today, is one of the most successful in the world, raking in tens of millions of dollars each year. In the interview, Morello described how “they [festival promoters, GoldenVoice] had booked every back-alley show from day one. They were the punk rock promoters. They were just like bros.”
Rage Against The Machine were supposed to perform a headline set at the Coachella 2021 festival. Unfortunately, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic forced the organisers to cancel the event. Then, they were forced to cancel it again in 2021. Next year. however, is looking a little more hopeful.
The band are set to headline the 2022 edition of the festival, although the full lineup is yet to be announced. If you want to catch one of Rage Against The Machine’s reunion tour shows, you can find tickets here. The tour kicks off in El Paso, Texas on March 31st 2022. Run The Jewels will be joining RATM on tour throughout April and May.