Coachella, Stagecoach Ordered Canceled For April

Coachella 2019
Courtesy of Coachella
– Coachella 2019
Coachella Valley Music + Arts Festival and Stagecoach: California’s Country Music Festival, which were both scheduled to take place in April, have been ordered canceled by Riverside County’s public health officer.

Dr. Cameron Kaiser issued an order today that both of the Goldenvoice/AEG Presents megafestivals were canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“This Order is issued based on concerns of a fall resurgence of COVID-19 both within the County of Riverside and worldwide, scientific evidence regarding the most effective approach to slow transmission of communicable diseases generally and COVID-19 specifically, and best practices as currently known and available to protect the public from the risk of spread of or exposure to COVID-19,” Cameron wrote in the order. “This Order is intended to reduce the likelihood of exposure to COVID-19, thereby slowing the spread of COVID-19 in communities worldwide. If COVID-19 were detected at these 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.”

The news is an undeniable blow to the concert industry, which utilizes large festivals as anchors around which tours are normally plotted. The cancellations are not entirely unexpected, however, as Goldenvoice’s statement from its 2020 cancellation left some ambiguity, reading: “A year without Coachella and Stagecoach is hard for us to comprehend, but we have every intention of returning in 2021. As of now, Coachella weekend one is April 9 – 11, 2021 and weekend two is April 16 – 18, 2021. Stagecoach is set for April 23 – 25, 2021. We look forward to sharing our new lineups and more information. We can’t wait to be together in the desert again when it is safe.” 

Coachella scrubbed all mentions of the April dates from its official websites and social media some time before the announcement of the cancellation and no lineup information regarding either 2021 fest was made available. The 2020 edition of Coachella was to feature Frank Ocean, Rage Against The Machine and Travis Scott. Stagecoach was to feature Thomas Rhett, Carrie Underwood, and Eric Church.
No new date for Coachella or Stagecoach was announced by Goldenvoice or AEG Presents at publication time. 

Dr. Kaiser was also the one who officially announced the festival’s 2020 cancellation in June, stating that he “would not be comfortable” allowing the festival to move forward. Coachella’s initial postponement in March 2020 was a signal moment in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., coming after Ultra Music Festival and SXSW both effectively canceled days before showtime. After Coachella announced its postponement to October, many other mega festivals, notably, Bonnaroo and Electric Daisy Carnival, followed suit.

Coachella is not the first major festival to nix its plans in early 2021 though, as Ultra, New Orleans Jazz Fest, Fortress Festival and Glastonbury have all announced either postponements or complete cancellations for the year.