April 21, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Coachella and Stagecoach festivals canceled, again (again)

To the surprise of absolutely no one who has been paying attention to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and Stagecoach Festival, scheduled for three consecutive weekends in April at Indio’s Empire Polo Club, have been canceled.

According to an announcement by the Riverside County Public Health Officer posted Friday afternoon, the events were shuttered “based on concerns of a fall resurgence” of COVID-19.

“This order is intended to reduce the likelihood of exposure to COVID-19, thereby slowing the spread of COVID-19 in communities worldwide,” wrote Dr. Cameron Kaiser in the order canceling the festivals. “If COVID-19 were detected at these festivals, the scope and number of attendees and the nature of the venue would make it infeasable, if not impossible, to track those who may be placed at risk.”

Coachella and its country music cousin Stagecoach were both originally scheduled for April 2020 and were among the first festivals canceled during the initial throes of the coronavirus pandemic. They were then rescheduled for October, then rescheduled again for April 2021.

Travis Scott, Frank Ocean and Rage Against the Machine were the scheduled Coachella headliners. After previous pandemic-related cancellations, Goldenvoice assured ticketholders that their passes would be honored at the rescheduled fest, and refunds were offered for a set period afterward.

The concert industry has been all but obliterated during the pandemic. The global live events industry is estimated to have taken a $30 billion hit since March 2020, according to industry trade publication Pollstar. Coachella, the most profitable music festival in the U.S., typically nets between $75 and $100 million over its two weekends.

Meanwhile, other festivals have begun to hint at possible returns later in the year. Chicago’s Pitchfork Music Festival applied for permits to host an event in September of this year, and Bonnaroo is currently booked for the same month in Tennessee. Several major festivals in Europe like Spain’s Mad Cool are, as of now, still on schedule for summer.

AEG, which owns festival promoter Goldenvoice, declined to comment on the cancellation or offer information on rescheduling or refunds. Representatives for Goldenvoice did not immediately return requests for comment.

Times staff writer August Brown contributed to this story.