Coachella Valley Musc and Arts Festival, which is produced by Goldenvoice alongside its parent company, AEG, won’t be taking place this fall after all, according to a new report shared by Billboard on Tuesday.
The major pop music festival which takes place just outside of the Palm Springs area of southern California over two weekends in April every spring was pushed back to October upon the arrival of COVID-19 back in March, making it one of the first large-scale festivals affected by the coronavirus crisis. The postponed Coachella dates of October 9th–11th and October 16th–18th now appear to be in jeopardy after AEG announced massive staff cuts earlier this week, with 45,000 full-time employees reportedly furloughed or laid off and another 300,000—400,000 part-time and freelance employees let go.
According to the new report, event organizers are still weighing the risk factors to determine if Coachella could return at a limited capacity next April or possibly even October 2021 at full capacity. Sources at AEG also informed Billboard that Coachella could return at 60% attendance capacity by next April, although there’s been no official decision made as of publication time. Last month, it was reported that Coachella organizers were already in the process of asking artists scheduled to perform at the 2020 event to consider coming back for 2021 instead.
In terms of touring and AEG’s non-festival events, executives remain optimistic that smaller concerts might be able to return by the end of the year in some form. The report states that smaller shows in clubs, theaters, and event arenas could return sometime this fall or in the first quarter of 2021. Both AEG and competitor Live Nation were quick to immediately cancel all active tours and upcoming shows across the country for the month of March when it became clear COVID-19 was a legitimate public health threat back on March 12th.
“It is clear now that live events with fans will not resume for many months and likely not until sometime in 2021,” AEG CEO Dan Beckerman wrote to employees in a memo. “When we are able to reopen, it will take time until we see our fans, partners and sponsors fully return. This means that our revenues will continue to be significantly impacted for an extended period.”
Beckerman continued, “The world is slowly re-opening, and our industry will re-open later and more slowly than most. As a result, our organization and workforce have to adapt and evolve to meet the demands, challenges and economic circumstances we are likely to face when we emerge from this crisis.”
Although some states are beginning to reopen their venues, event producers continue to rely on streaming-based festivals and drive-in-only performances while traditional tours and the concert industry at large continues its indefinite hiatus.