Multiple sources tell Variety that both weekends of the Coachella Festival as well as the Stagecoach Music Festival that follows have been postponed due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak. Goldenvoiceis informing agents currently and deducing who is available on consecutive weekends in October — starting with Oct. 9.
Organizers have yet to release a statement, but insiders say the decision was inevitable as coronaviruspanic continues to sweep the live entertainment sector.
Dominos are falling in the festival world, as the Coachella and Stagecoach postponements follow quickly on the heels of Friday afternoon’s announcement that South by Southwest is officially off for 2020. That was preceded by a Friday morning news conference officially confirming days of reports that Miami’s EDM-based Ultra Music Festival was being called off. Today, Miami’s Winter Music Conference was also called off.
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which for several years has repeated the same lineup over two weekends instead of just one, was set to take place April 10-12 and again April 17-19. The scheduled nightly headliners were Rage Against the Machine, Travis Scott and Frank Ocean. Stagecoach, one of the nation’s biggest annual country music festivals, was to follow on the same grounds in Indio April 24-26, with Carrie Underwood, Eric Church and Thomas Rhett in the headline slots.
It’s worth noting that 2016’s Desert Trip festival, otherwise known as Oldchella, was a very successful music gathering that was held in the fall — from October 7 to 9 and 14 to 16 — at the same site as Coachella and Stagecoach: Indio’s Empire Polo Club (polo is only played on the grounds from January to March). Desert Trip featured the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Roger Waters and The Who on the bill and grossed more than $160 million.
The Coachella Valley and the city of Indio have the accommodation capacity to absorb the tens of thousands who attend the festivals in the fall. And while the township and county have not forced a cancelation of Coachella or Stagecoach due to coronavirus, five cases reported in Riverside County push it closer to a fait accompli. By moving the festivals as opposed to canceling them, Goldenvoice— and parent company AEG — could shield itself from having to trigger cancelation insurance that may or may not cover communicable diseases.