With the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic raging on and an ever-increasing number of high-profile events being called off in response, AEG Presents and Goldenvoice are attempting to strike a balance between an outright cancellation and proceeding as planned by postponing Coachella until October.
It’s worth noting that the postponement, which would delay Coachella’s first weekend until October 9th, hasn’t yet been finalized; sources speaking to Digital Music News on Monday evening have indicated that a final decision will be announced in the near future. Separately, multiple reports are also pointing to a similar, six-month push though a formal statement has not been issued.
These same sources noted that the potential change in date was sought proactively by those in charge of Coachella, mainly because of worries that Riverside County health officials will call the event off on their own accord, as the City of Austin did with SXSW last week. To be sure, Dr. Cameron Kaiser recently delivered a press conference on behalf of Riverside County, and in it, he struck something of a noncommittal tone.
Earlier today, Riverside County declared a public health emergency after its coronavirus diagnoses jumped to six. The Southern California county is home to approximately 2.4 million people.
While shifting a major festival six months sounds logical enough, actually executing that postponement could prove to be tricky. For starters, headliners and performers have their own tour schedules, and may simply be unavailable in October. Additionally, Coachella may be forced to relax its notoriously strict radius clauses that prevent an artist from performing at competing festivals and venues around their Coachella performance.
Fans may also be unavailable in October, and simply demand refunds.
Stagecoach, a country music festival, is also being targeted for an October move. If the effort to push it and Coachella back proves ineffective—contractors, artists, city officials, fans, and others will have to be on board—the aforementioned sources stated that both it and Stagecoach are likely to be canceled.
Today, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, visited Wuhan, where the first COVID-19 cases appeared, and Italy’s prime minister expanded a just-announced lockdown to cover the entire country.
Until April 3rd, Italians will be unable to leave their current locations or enter other cities for reasons unrelated to health or work.
Stateside, the stock market dropped substantially as COVID-19 fears mounted and Saudi Arabia signaled that it will engage in an oil price war with Russia. In a press conference, President Trump and White House officials discussed possible financial relief for businesses and employees who’ve been impacted by the widespread public concerns over COVID-19.