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Major US festivals reschedule as Coachella cancels

In a repeat of 2020, Coachella and Stagecoach have been forced to call off their April festivals, as a number of other events push back to the autumn

By IQ on 01 Feb 2021

Childish Gambino closes Coachella 2019

Childish Gambino closes Coachella 2019

image © Coachella/Goldenvoice

Goldenvoice’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and Stagecoach Festival will no longer take place this April after being issued with a cancellation order by local authorities.

Cameron Kaiser, public health officer for Riverside County, California, tweeted late on Friday (29 January) that neither festival – scheduled for 9–11/16–18 April and 23–25 April, respectively – would be allowed to go ahead in light of the deteriorating coronavirus situation in the state, which passed 40,000 deaths from Covid-19 the following day.

It is the third time the festivals, which take place on the same site in Indio, in the Coachella Valley, have been called off since March 2020, when they were originally rescheduled for October, and then again to April 2021.

Aside from Glastonbury Festival in the UK, Coachella is the biggest international music festival to have cancelled its 2021 event, casting a pall over the summer festival season. It is unclear whether Coachella and Stagecoach, a country music event, will again attempt to reschedule for autumn or aim for a 2022 return.

Goldenvoice owner AEG has already pushed back one festival, the seven-day New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, to later this year: Jazz Fest, which normally begins on the last weekend in April will instead take place from 8 to 17 October.

“If Covid-19 were detected at the festivals, the scope and number of attendees would make it infeasible … to track those who may be placed at risk”

“It’s taking longer than we want, but we’ll all have our celebration when the time comes,” says festival producer Quint Davis. “Your health, along with the health of our musicians, food and crafts vendors, and all of the folks that work to make the magic happen, remains the priority as we plan the return of Jazz Fest.”

Also making the move from summer to the autumn months are a pair of Live Nation events, Bonnaroo (2–5 September) and New York festival Governors Ball (24–26 September), neither of which have announced a 2021 line-up, and Chicago’s Pitchfork Music Festival, which has applied for an event permit for the weekend of 10–12 September, as opposed to its normal July dates.

The decision to cancel Coachella and Stagecoach was taken over concerns that both festivals could have been super-spreader events for the coronavirus, according to the order linked by Kaiser. “If Covid-19 were detected at the festivals, the scope and number of attendees and the nature of the venue would make it infeasible, if not impossible, to track those who may be placed at risk,” it reads.

Anthony Fauci, America’s top infectious disease specialist, predicted last month that indoor shows could return “some time” in autumn, depending on the pace of the US vaccine programme.


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