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Coachella and Stagecoach festivals postponed until October due to coronavirus

 Coachella festival
The Coachella Music and Arts Festival’s 2020 edition has been canceled as a result of the Corona virus. So has theStagecoach country-music festival, which is held at the same location in Indio.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

An average of 20 percent of attendees each year at both festivals hail from San Diego County

It’s official: The 2020 edition of the sold-out Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival and the Stagecoach country-music festival in Indio have both been postponed from April until October due to coronavirus-related issues.

The announcement, which had been anticipated for days, was made Tuesday by Goldenvoice, the Los Angeles company that produces both festivals, which are held on the grounds of the Empire Polo Club in Indio.

“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,” Goldenvoice said in a statement.

“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.”

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This year’s Coachella festival was scheduled to take place on the weekends of April 10-12 and April 17-19, with the same performers appearing each weekend. The headliners included rap-metal band Rage Against the Machine, hip-hop maverick Frank Ocean and rapper Travis Scott.

The April Stagecoach festival was scheduled to be headlined by Thomas Rhett, Carrie Underwood and Eric Church.

Coachella will now take place on the weekends of Oct. 9-11 and Oct. 16-19. Stagecoach, which was scheduled for the April 24-26 weekend, will now take place Oct. 23-25.

According to Goldenvoice, “all purchases for the April dates will be honored for the rescheduled October dates. Purchasers will be notified by Friday, March 13, on how to obtain a refund if they are unable to attend.”

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Goldenvoice’s statement made no reference to any lineup changes, which suggests that the same artists scheduled to perform in April will be able to perform at the re-scheduled October Coachella and Stagecoach festivals.

The Coachella and Stagecoach postponements come just two days after Riverside County public health officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser announced on Sunday that the county had declared a public health emergency.

The emergency declaration was prompted by a patient who underwent testing and was found to be “presumptive positive for coronavirus.” The patient in question was placed in isolation at Rancho Mirage’s Eisenhower Medical Center, which is barely 12 miles from the festival site on the grassy fields of the Empire Polo Club.

The decision to call off this year’s edition of Coachella comes following last week’s cancellation of the annual South by Southwest Festival in Austin and the electronic dance music-fueled Ultra festival in Miami.

On Monday, the band Pearl Jam — whose 1993 one-off concert at the Empire Polo Club inspired Goldenvoice to mount the first Coachella festival six years later — postponed its 2020 spring tour, including an April concert at San Diego State University, because of coronavirus-related concerns.

After a very shaky start in 1999 and nearly a decade of slow but steady growth years, Coachella is now the most successful annual music festival in the world. It now sells out, in advance, each year for both of its consecutive three-day weekends and draws a daily audience of 125,000 for a total attendance of 750,000. Twenty percent of those attendees hail from San Diego, according to Goldenvoice, which tracks U.S. ticket sales by ZIP code. The 2017 Coachella festival, the last year for which Goldenvoice released figures, grossed a record $115 million.

It is too soon to tell if the postponement of Coachella will have a domino effect on other festivals, such as the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (which is also produced by Goldenvoice), the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas and Lollapalooza in Chicago.

It is also too soon to tell if the Coachella-anchored tours by various artists will also be postponed or go on as scheduled. One Coachella performer, singer Lauren Daigle, is scheduled to perform here April 21 at Pechanga Arena San Diego.

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The biggest impact on the concert industry so far has been felt in China and Hong Kong, where more than 20,000 music events scheduled to take place between January and March were canceled or postponed. The estimated resulting ticketing and box-office losses thus far total 2 billion yuan, or $286 million, according to the China Association of Performing Arts, as reported by Billboard magazine.


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