May 7, 2019

Improving Wireless Coverage at Coachella Music and Arts Festival

Since 1999, Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival has called the 330-acre Empire Polo Club its home, Grossing $114.6 million in 2017.
Coachella has grown significantly, and now attracts millions of concert goers from all over the world while becoming one of the largest, most popular, and most profitable music festivals in the United States.

In 2016, Goldenvoice, producer of the Coachella Festival, announced increased capacity by raising its attendance cap from 99,000 to 126,000. Although higher attendance raises profits for Coachella and its neighboring residents, this poses an issue for attendees who seek to stay in contact with friends, family, and their online followers while at the festival. After all, a major component of today’s events is being able to share photos and videos on social media. Whether photos are taken in front of large, colorful cacti or hippo-filled rocket ships, they need wireless connection in order to utilize Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook in real time.

This year, Coachella improved the attendee experience further by partnering with AEG Presents and Postmates for a new “skip the line” service for food and merchandise.
This means that robust cellular coverage at the festival grounds is a necessity in order to meet the surge of data usage and keep up the organizer’s desire to improve the visitor experience.

As part of a movement to enhance the attendee experience with wireless coverage, the venue sought help from Anthem Telecom, a leading Neutral Host carrier, to design and install the network infrastructure. In 2018, they installed signal sources as well as our ADXV fiber distributed antenna system (DAS). The 2018 deployment included a design configuration consisting of 39 sectors utilizing our high power ADXV DAS remote units.

Yet, setting up a large system in such a vast venue with hot and windy weather conditions is often met with challenges. The design had to be strategically planned in order to meet Coachella’s specific needs.  After monitoring the network during the 2018 Coachella festival, it was clear that since the attendance continued to grow it would require more capacity. So, for 2019, we worked closely with Anthem & the Carriers to redesign and expand the network to 85 MIMO sectors and 148 remotes units.  With record attendance expected to exceed 750,000 this year, it was anticipated that every concert goer would be utilizing their phones to the fullest extent.

In order to optimize cellular coverage and enhance both voice and data usage at Coachella, the Neutral Host DAS included a unique mix of medium and high power DAS remote units for the most effective solution.  Our ADXV DAS Head End and remotes enabled fast, easy, swappable upgrades to support a Neutral Host deployment. We aimed to create the most optimal coverage with the use of 700MHz, 850MHz, PCS, AWS, and WCS frequency bands supporting the major carriers in the United States.

While Coachella continues to see success year over year, we hope to continue making an impact by supplying better cellular service for attendees to keep up with the new digital experiences the event will surely add moving forward. To learn more about ADRF’s wireless solutions for entertainment venues, click HERE.