Independent Oregon-Based Festival Sues AEG, Coachella For Monopolistic Practices

Christopher Polk / Getty Images
– Coachella
April 13, 2013, Indio, Calif.

Soul’d Out Productions, the independent producer behind Soul’d Out Festival in Portland, Ore., has filed a lawsuit against Coachella promoter AEG and its affiliated companies for allegedly using anticompetitive practices to benefit the music festival in Indio, Calif. 

The suit also names Goldenvoice and AEG, alleging they “use their significant leverage” to benefit Coachella Valley Music & Arts festival through anticompetitive business practices in violation of federal antitrust laws in Oregon and California. The suit specifically points to the radius clause in contracts that artists agree to when playing Coachella, which allegedly prohibits them from playing another festival or themed event in California, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona and Washington for a period of almost five months.  
The suit alleges that the restrictions have an anticompetitive effect. It cites a 2012 independent study that found that radius clauses diminish “the ability of smaller firms affected by the contracts to attract enough popular bands to fill their schedule, perhaps leading to a shutdown,” according to the suit.
Soul’d Out Productions, located more than 1,000 miles from Coachella, claims it is harmed by radius clauses as artists are unwilling to play because of alleged threats made by the defendants.
“Numerous artists have declined to perform at the Soul’d Out Music Festival and have cited the unlawful Radius Clause in their contracts with Coachella as the sole reason that they cannot do so,” the suit said.
Soul’d Out Fest takes place April 18-22 in various venues around Portland, Ore.  
The suit addresses an incident when Soul’d Out festival booked funk and soul group Tank And The Bangas to play its festival. The band confirmed they would play Soul’d Out in September 2017 but pulled out of the festival in January citing the contact they signed with Coachella as the reason for the withdrawal. 
A similar incident happened with SZA, who allegedly declined to play Soul’d Out because of a radius clause in her Coachella contract.  
Nicholas Harris, co-owner and co-founder of Soul’d Out Productions and Soul’d Out Festival said in a statment, “We seek no less than to operate in a fair and open environment. But as our industry has become more consolidated, it is subjected to more and more corporate tactics that penalize the public.  Music, and the culture that births it, is not a commodity to be exploited. It is meant to inspire and enrich our lives, and our goal remains to bring the best quality performances to the listening audiences of Portland, Oregon and the Pacific NW.”
The suit seeks to stop AEG, Goldenvoice and Coachella from enforcing contracts that contain radius clauses, in addition to damages and attorneys’ fees. 
The suit arrives a week after a New York Times expose alleged the Department of Justice was investigating Live Nation for antitrust violations. 
Goldenvoice did not responds to Pollstar’s requests for comment at press time.