UPDATE: 6/10/2020 – Music festivals Coachella and Stagecoach have announced that they will cancel their 2020 dates entirely. While the cancelation of the fests had long been expected, organizers had initially hoped that moving to a fall date might make it possible to carry on. Today, they conceded that would not be practical.
“I am concerned as indications grow that COVID-19 could worsen in the fall,” Riverside County public health officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser told the Los Angeles Times. “In addition, events like Coachella and Stagecoach would fall under Governor Newsom’s Stage 4, which he has previously stated would require treatments or a vaccine to enter.”
No estimate is currently available for when Stage 4 may arrive, which has caused grave concern for many in the live entertainment industry. AEG, the parent company of festival organizers Goldenvoice, announced pay-cuts, furloughs, and layoffs in an attempt to stay afloat until that time comes.
UPDATE: 5/28/2020 – New signs that Coachella may be entirely off for 2020 have emerged today, with Bloomberg reporting that festival organizers are asking artists from the festival’s lineup to perform in 2021 instead.
Since moving the festival dates from April to October, Goldenvoice has made little in the way of public comment on how the megafest could possibly accommodate the “new normal” of social distancing, strict hygiene standards, and minimal contact with strangers. Other, smaller festivals from Goldenvoice have announced cancelations already, including Lovers & Friends, which announced its cancelation just last Friday.
While Goldenvoice has not made any official statement about the fate of Coachella 2020, Jay Marciano, the chairman of Goldenvoice’s parent company, AEG, was blunt in a New York Times article this week: “It doesn’t seem likely we are going to open in the fall.”
UPDATE: 3/10/2020 – Predictions that Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals would be postponed to October have now been confirmed with a press release issued by Goldenvoice.
“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,” the statement reads. “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.”
Tickets to the April 2020 events will be honored for the October dates. Attendees unable to attend the new dates will be given information about requesting refunds starting on Friday, March 13.
The Coachella music festival is expected to announce that, rather than cancel entirely for the year, the festival will simply be postponed until October 2020. This news comes as new cases of the novel coronavirus continue to pop up and many people are choosing to avoid public gatherings. If Coachella is indeed postponed, the move would impact the Stagecoach festival as well.
Billboard broke the news, confirming that Goldenvoice representatives were reaching out to performers on the bill to see if those musicians would be open to moving to the proposed fall dates.
At the time, sources told Billboard the new dates were not yet a completely “done deal,” but was the direction things appeared to be headed. A formal announcement is expected to be made by midweek.
In this scenario, it is believed Coachella would move to October 9-11 and 16-18, and Stagecoach would move to October 23-25.
Pulling off the switch just weeks ahead of the April dates will be a complicated and costly process for Goldenvoice–to say nothing of the disruption to fans who may have already booked travel arrangements. But it may still be seen as preferable to another option that is now reportedly on the table: canceling the 2020 festivals entirely.
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