Due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, neither the Coachella Music and Arts Festival or the Stagecoach Music Festival this year will take place as scheduled, organizers confirmed to Rolling Stone.
Coachella was originally slated for two consecutive weekends next month — April 10th, 11th, and 12th, followed by April 17th, 18th, and 19th — at Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, about two hours outside of Los Angeles. A newly reunited Rage Against the Machine was set to headline alongside Travis Scott and Frank Ocean. Multiple sources told Rolling Stone on Monday that Goldenvoice, the AEG subsidiary that organizes the festival, had been in talks with various artists’ management teams about postponement for the last week, adding that the talks were still ongoing as of late Monday night.
In a statement to Rolling Stone Tuesday evening, Goldenvoice said: “At the direction of the County of Riverside and local health authorities, we must sadly confirm the rescheduling of Coachella and Stagecoach due to COVID-19 concerns. While this decision comes at a time of universal uncertainty, we take the safety and health of our guests, staff and community very seriously. We urge everyone to follow the guidelines and protocols put forth by public health officials.”
California has confirmed over 167 coronavirus cases and two deaths as of Tuesday. Riverside County, which stretches from outside of Los Angeles into the Southern California desert and includes the small town of Indio, declared a public health emergency on Sunday after it accepted a coronavirus patient at a local hospital, and it announced a total of six cases of COVID-19 in its county on Monday night.
“Coachella will now take place on October 9, 10 and 11 and October 16, 17 and 18, 2020,” Goldenvoice said in its statement. “Stagecoach will take place on October 23, 24 and 25, 2020. All purchases for the April dates will be honored for the rescheduled October dates. Purchasers will be notified by Friday, March 13 on how to obtain a refund if they are unable to attend.Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to seeing you in the desert this fall.”
A source close to the situation told Rolling Stone that the wording of Goldenvoice’s statement intentionally avoided mention of the word “cancel,” because “if they cancel, they have to refund tickets, whereas if they postpone they can hold the money much longer.” Another source in the touring industry says they believe other upcoming festivals like Bonnaroo and CMA Fest, which are due to take place in June, are also in jeopardy.
Coachella is the third major festival to be called off due to the coronavirus outbreak, following South by Southwest in Austin and Ultra Festival in Miami. Additionally, Nashville’s Tin Pan South Songwriters festival was postponed because of both coronavirus fears and a recent tornado that tore through the city last week. Major acts like Pearl Jam and Madonna have postponed or canceled personal tours due to the virus outbreak as well.
For the past few months, the coronavirus has also upended the Asian live music market as an array of regional acts canceled shows and Western acts plotting overseas tours, like Green Day, Stormzy, Khalid and the National, soon followed suit. Madonna pulled the plug on the final two stops of her tour, which were scheduled to take place in Paris, Slipknot postponed Knotfest Japan and Kiss put a stop to all upcoming meet-and-greets.
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