Don’t cancel that April Airbnb reservation for Palm Springs just yet. Despite reports Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is moving to October 2021, the rescheduling is far from a done deal, a source at event producer Goldenvoice tells Billboard.
An October 2021 Coachella is definitely a possibility, but is still not a sure thing. The decision depends on how the coronavirus pandemic progresses through the rest of the year and whether or not Goldenvoice — along with local and federal officials — feels that the event can be safely staged in April. The current Coachella dates are April 9-11 and 16-18, 2021.
That decision is expected to be made after Election Day on Nov. 3 but before the end of the year. (Concert promoters are hesitant to make any major announcements during a year with a presidential election because of a widely held belief that anxiety about the future tends to affect how people plan for recreational activities.)
According to the source, there was likely confusion that led to rescheduling reports because performance contracts for artists playing in 2021 include language saying that if the April 2021 festival has to be postponed due to COVID-19, the replacement dates would be in early October.
Moving to October 2021 would mark the third time Coachella would have to change dates as it deals with the reality of the constant spread of COVID-19, which many believe will delay the return of live events until at least summer of 2021. Nearly all 2020 festivals that postponed their dates to later in the year have since been canceled, as have the early 2021 dates for the Live Nation-owned Bonnaroo festival. Officials with AEG and Live Nation say they can’t reopen until given the all-clear by health officials, which might not take place until a vaccine can be distributed widely to the public.
Coachella was previously scheduled to take place April 10-12 and April 17-19, 2020, 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. This year will be the first since 2000 that Coachella has not occurred. The festival previously took a gap year break after its 1999 debut and its 2001 return.