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Coachella’s radius clause details leaks in ongoing legal battle

An ongoing legal battle with a Portland-based music event has forced Coachella  organizers to reveal the radius clause they impose on artists playing the Southern California mega-festival.

The complaint in the plaintiff’s civil case against Anschutz Entertainment Group Inc. originally claimed the unfair radius clause extended to five Western states — California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Arizona. The complaint, filed by promoters behind the Soul’D Out Festival, was actually incorrect and has since been amended. Artists playing Coachella are not allowed to perform at any festival in North America for a 5-and-a-half month period, from Dec. 15 to May 1.

Coachella’s strict set of non-compete rules was released to Soul’d Out Festival’s lawyers in a series of emails (read it here) that has since gone public. Below is a list of provisions included in Coachella’s radius clause:

  • Artist playing Coachella are barred from performing any festival in North America from December 15 to May 1.
  • Artists are also barred from playing any hard ticket concerts in Southern California during that same time period.
  • Artists can’t “advertise, publicize or leak” performances at competing festivals in California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington or Arizona or headliner concerts in SoCal that take place after May 1 until after May 7.
  • Artists can’t announce festival appearances for the other 45 states in North America until after the Coachella lineup is announced in January, with exceptions made for Austin’s South by Southwest,  Ultra Miami and the AEG-backed New Orleans Jazzfest.
  • Artists must also wait for the January announcement before publicizing tour stops in California, Arizona, Washington and Oregon, with an exception made for Las Vegas casinos, but not Las Vegas festivals.

In response, AEG’s lawyers issued a statement saying they opposed the release of the radius clause letter, saying it was given to lawyers for Soul’d Out Music Festival founders, Nicholas Harris and Haytham Abdulhadi, as part of a confidential effort to negotiate a settlement.

“Rather than confer with AEG about the propriety of including this information in an amended complaint, or whether the text of the radius clause is confidential,” the plantiffs “made the unilateral decision to include this information in a public filing as the basis for its claims against AEG. This is improper and reflects bad faith,” wrote AEG Presents attorney, Casey Nokes, in a lengthy filing to Chief U.S. District of Oregon Judge, Michael W. Mosman.

Lawyers representing AEG are now asking the judge in the lawsuit to dismiss the case on the grounds that the plaintiffs, Harris and Abdulhadi, lack antitrust standing: Since Soul’d Out Festival isn’t party to the radius clause agreements, they cannot challenge AEG/Anschutz/Goldenvoice/Coachella’s enforceability.

The case is still ongoing and expected to go to trail as the dispute is now past the settlement phase.

H/T: Amplify