Goldenvoice has officially postponed Coachella because of fears around the coronavirus outbreak. This year’s Coachella, originally set for the first two weekends in April, will now take place in October, on the weekends of 10/9-11 and 10/16-18. Additionally, Goldenvoice’s Stagecoach festival planned for 4/24-4/26 is now moving to 10/23-25. There is no word if the festivals will have the same lineups. Unlike SXSW and Ultra festivals, Coachella and Stagecoach will offer ticketholders refunds if they can’t attend.
This move is not unexpected. The journalist Yashar Ali first reported it on Twitter last night, and people have been speculating about it for weeks. This year’s Ultra and SXSW festivals have already been cancelled over coronavirus concerns, and there have been a number of confirmed coronavirus cases in California’s Coachella Valley. Still, Coachella is America’s biggest music festival, and this move feels momentous.
Various outlets are now reporting on the impact of force majeure contract clauses. According to the experts at the Los Angeles Times and HITS Daily Double, those clauses — protections against things like emergencies or acts of God — mean that artists who signed on for Coachella won’t get paid unless they perform at the rescheduled version of the festival — if there even is a rescheduled festival. Force majeure clauses might also mean that Coachella promoters Goldenvoice and AEG would not get insurance reimbursement if they cancelled the festival themselves. Insurers would only have to pay because of a city, state, or county ordering the cancellation.
For a festival as large as Coachella, there are potentially hundreds of millions of dollars on the line here. Its postponement could have massive ripple effects on the entire festival season. The music festival economy has already struggled in recent years, with some large festivals shutting down over lack of ticket sales. We’re now looking at a cataclysm that could completely reshape the way these things will operate going forward.
Read Goldenvoice’s media alert about the change below.
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.
Coachella will now take place on October 9, 10 and 11 and October 16, 17 and 18, 2020. 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.