The festival cancellation announcements just keep rolling in. Next on the list is California’s favorite, Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. The Indio Valley mega-festival had originally postponed the event until October in the hopes that the COVID-19 pandemic would ease up. As COVID continues to unfold and cases continue to surge in the US, however, that’s not looking like a possibility anymore.
The first tip-off came recently when insider sources said that Coachella organizers were asking artists to play in 2021 instead of their dual weekends in October. Now Billboard has reported that AEG is moving forward with a “mix of layoffs, furloughs and salary reductions” beginning as early as July 1. The layoffs will affect those working AEG Presents and its signature dance music events, Coachella, Firefly Music Festival, and more.
“We did not come to today’s decisions lightly. During the last few months we kept our company intact to ensure that those of you who would be the most affected would have the best safety net we could provide,” said AEG Presents chairman and chief executive Jay Marciano in a follow up letter to staff. “While it’s small solace, I see this as a testament to the culture that exists at AEG and the important role you have played in building this environment.”
Riverside County Public Health Officer, Dr. Cameron Kaiser, told the Los Angeles Times that Coachella and Stagecoach would not be held in Indio, California, this October as originally planned.
“I am concerned as indications grow that COVID-19 could worsen in the fall,” Kaiser told the LA Times. “In addition, events like Coachella and Stagecoach would fall under 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.”
Coachella is reportedly planning for spring 2021, although its return may have to limit their capacity. There has already been some talk about Coachella cutting back on the usual 125,000 attendee limit, which while it might not be ideal, the cutback makes the probability of the event returning next year much more likely.