The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and country music festival Stagecoach will not take place this year due to county and state restrictions.
Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday (June 10), the festivals would not be held in Indio, California, this October — as had been planned when promoter Goldenvoice was forced to reschedule from their original April dates last March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Kaiser cited California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s four-step outline for re-opening the state as the reasoning behind the decision, noting music festivals are not permitted to reopen until an effective treatment for the virus is widely available.
“I am concerned as indications grow that COVID-19 could worsen in the fall,” Kaiser told the newspaper. “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. Given the projected circumstances and potential, I would not be comfortable moving forward.”
Coachella was previously scheduled to take place April 10-12 and April 17-19 with headliners Travis Scott, Frank Ocean and Rage Against the Machine. Due to the pandemic, it was then pushed back to the weekends of Oct. 9-11 and Oct. 16-18 and Stagecoach was moved to Oct. 23-25.
Next year dates for the festivals have yet to be announced, but sources tell Billboard officials at Goldenvoice are determining whether to slate the two-weekend, 125,000-capacity Coachella at likely a limited-capacity return in April 2021 or stage a higher-capacity comeback in October 2021. The company is holding off on making a decision until they get more clarity on the pandemic’s long-term trajectory.
This will be the first year since 2000 that Coachella has not occurred. The festival previously took a gap year break after its 1999 debut and its 2001 return.
On Monday, Goldenvoice parent AEG announced it would be laying off 15% of its workforce, furloughing over 100 employees across several divisions and instituting 20-50% pay cuts due to the ongoing COVID-19 downturn that has devastated the live events industry. “It is clear now that live events with fans will not resume for many months and likely not until sometime in 2021,” AEG chief executive Dan Beckerman wrote in a note to employees in advance of the layoffs.
Goldenvoice and Riverside County officials did not respond to requests for comment at time of publishing.