Coachella & Stagecoach Drop Vaccination, Testing & Masking Requirements

Festivalgoers during the 2019 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival on April 21, 2019 in Indio, California.
Rich Fury/Getty Images for Coachella
– Festivalgoers during the 2019 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival on April 21, 2019 in Indio, California.
The festival will return in April 2022.

With hours to go until the state of California’s new COVID-19 guidance takes effect, including lifting restrictions on “mega events,” Coachella and Stagecoach organizers have updated their health and safety rules to drop vaccination, testing and masking requirements at the April festivals. Although face masks aren’t required as far as COVID goes, both events’ websites note that “face coverings are recommended to protect against desert dust.” 

After being forced to call off its 2020 edition multiple times, as well as the 2021 festival, because of COVID, Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival is set to once again take over the Empire Polo Club in Indio, Calif., April 15-17 and April 22-24, 2022. Topped by Harry Styles, Billie Eilish and Ye, the lineup also boasts Swedish House Mafia, Lil Baby, Flume, Megan Thee Stallion, Daniel Caesar, Doja Cat, Joji, Phoebe Bridgers, Disclosure, Jamie xx, Run The Jewels, Karol G, 21 Savage, Danny Elfman, Big Sean, Grupo Firme and more. Plus, the mega festival will also feature 88Rising’s Head In The Clouds Forever both weekends.
Stagecoach – aka California’s Country Music Festival – will be held April 29 through May 1 at the Empire Polo Club, featuring performances from  Thomas Rhett, Carrie Underwood, Luke Combs, The Black Crowes, Brothers Osborne, Maren Morris, Midland, Lee Brice and more. 
The update to the COVID-19 safety precautions comes four months after producer Goldenvoice loosened its vaccination requirements, allowing festivalgoers entry to Coachella and Stagecoach grounds with a negative COVID test within 72 hours of entry or proof of vaccination, according to statements posted on both event websites Oct. 12.
Stagecoach posted a tweet Feb. 15 to share the news about the lack of restrictions, “in accordance with local guidelines,” while Coachella simply updated the “Health & Safety, Rules” section of its website.  
Both festivals’ websites include this note: “However, the event shall be presented in accordance with applicable public health conditions as of the date of the event and which may change at any time as determined by federal, state or local government agencies or instrumentalities, artists or the promoter; such requirements may include, without limitation, changes to capacity, attendance procedures and entry requirements, such as proof of vaccination and/or negative COVID-19 test, and other protective measures such as requiring attendees to wear face coverings. If any ticket holder does not comply with any laws, mandates, health orders or directives, promoter or event terms, conditions or rules, then the promoter or event operator may refuse admission to the event or require the ticket holder to leave the venue and such ticket holder will not be entitled to a refund.” 
The websites also include a disclaimer saying that attendees “assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19 and confirm that they will adhere to local quarantine mandates and the CDC quarantine requirements.” 
The state of California’s universal indoor masking requirement that was reinstated on Dec. 15 in response to the Omicron variant expired on Feb. 15 as scheduled, with an announcement on the California Department of Public Health’s website noting, “The current hospital census is still over capacity, but the dramatic surge in cases and hospitalizations due to the highly infectious Omicron variant over the last two months has declined significantly.” 
Masks are still required for all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, in high-risk indoor settings including public transit, K-12 schools, health settings and homeless shelters. Masks are required for unvaccinated individuals in indoor public settings and businesses including retail, restaurants, theaters and family entertainment centers.   
As part of the changes taking effect Feb. 16 for the state of California’s “Beyond the Blueprint for Industry and Business Sectors” guidance, “mega events” are now considered indoor events with more than 1,000 attendees or outdoor events with more than 10,000 attendees. Vaccine verification or negative testing is required for indoor mega events and recommended for outdoor mega events, according to the California Department of Public Health. There are no restrictions on capacity limitations and no physical distancing restrictions for attendees, customers and guests.  
The California Department of Public Health’s website includes additional recommendations for sponsors of mega events such as encouraging “everyone to get vaccinated and boosted, when eligible” and encouraging “all attendees to consider better fit and filtration for masks [Surgical masks or higher-level respirators (e.g., N95s, KN95s, KF94s) with good fit are recommended over cloth masks].”

Coachella has long been the highest grossing festival in North America.  Reports submitted to Pollstar for Coachella saw the festival sell 250,000 tickets in 2017 and gross more than $114.59 million.