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Report: Coachella Postponed To 2021
Update Thursday (June 11) at 6:09 p.m. EST: In a press release, Goldenvoice officially announced the rescheduling of the 2021 installments of Coachella and its country music festival counterpart, Stagecoach, stating, "Under the continuing health guidance of the County of Riverside, Coachella and Stagecoach 2020 will not take place this October as previously rescheduled. This is not the future that any of us hoped to confront, but our main focus remains the well-being of our fans, staff, artists, desert partners and everyone involved in the festival." The press release states Coachella is scheduled to now take place across two weekends next April, with the first weekend happening April 9–11, followed by weekend two on April 16–18; Stagecoach will take place the following weekend, April 23–25. According to the announcement, all festivals will feature new lineups and all 2020 passes will be honored for 2021. 2020 ticket-holders will receive an email about refunds or ticket rollovers Monday (June 15).
Update: On Wednesday (June 10), the 2020 editions of Coachella and Stagecoach, both of which are Goldenvoice festival properties, were officially canceled "due to county and state restrictions" related to the coronavirus pandemic, Billboard reports. "I am concerned as indications grow that COVID-19 could worsen in the fall," Riverside Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser wrote in an official statement from Riverside County where both festivals take place. "In addition, events like Coachella and Stagecoach would fall under [California] 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."
After being rescheduled from April to October, this year's installment of Coachella has been postponed once again to 2021, largely due to major financial problems caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
According to Billboard, which broke the news Tuesday (June 9), officials at Goldenvoice, the organizers behind Coachella, are determining whether the festival will return next April, potentially in a limited capacity, or as a higher-capacity event in October 2021; the three-day festival typically attracts 125,000 people per day across two weekends.
At the time of this writing, Coachella has not made an official announcement about the postponement.
The cancelation follows a major wave of cost-cutting initiatives at AEG, the global concert promoter and parent company of Goldenvoice. On Monday (June 8), AEG laid off 15 percent of its workforce, furloughed more than 100 employees and instituted significant pay cuts, which collectively mark the "deepest staff cuts in the company's history," as noted by Billboard.
"It is clear now that live events with fans will not resume for many months and likely not until sometime in 2021," Dan Beckerman, a chief executive at AEG, wrote in a note to employees ahead of the layoffs, according to Billboard. He also said every employee worldwide "will be impacted in one form or another" by the staff cuts, calling the decision "agonizing" but "necessary" for the company's long-term success.
According to Billboard, approximately 40 percent of Coachella ticket-buyers requested refunds for this year's festival. AEG officials believe they can produce the festival next April at 60 percent capacity, but they will not commit to rescheduling the 2021 event until they know more about the pandemic's trajectory.
The festival's postponement and the company's staff cuts come as the coronavirus pandemic has virtually shut down the global concert business following strict stay-at-home orders and closures of nonessential businesses worldwide that have caused many live music venues and events companies to shut their doors—some permanently.
Rumors surrounding Coachella's 2020 postponement first surfaced in early March, just when the COVID-19 pandemic began to severely impact the music industry. Since then, businesses and several U.S. states have begun to open their doors nationwide. The live music industry has since implemented novel ideas, such as drive-in concerts, virtual festivals, and socially distanced events, but large-scale festivals and gatherings are not likely to return this year.
AEG could potentially begin to reintroduce concerts across its many venues around the world as early as the fourth quarter of 2020 or early 2021, Billboard reports, which will help the company rehire its furloughed employees once it locks in a timetable and solidifies an approach.
"It is our responsibility as a management team to protect our company and make sure that we are positioned for long-term success, and we are focused on this critical objective," Beckerman wrote in the note to staff, according to Billboard. "The world is slowly re-opening, and our industry will re-open later and more slowly than most. As a result, our organization and workforce have to adapt and evolve to meet the demands, challenges and economic circumstances we are likely to face when we emerge from this crisis."