Coachella owner Goldenvoice has reached a settlement to end a lawsuit the AEG unit filed against Live Nation over a concert in Southern California that used “Coachella” in its name.
Goldenvoice sued last year over a New Year’s Eve event called “Coachella Day One 22,” and quickly won a court order barring Live Nation’s Ticketmaster from selling tickets under that name. The event went down as planned under the rebranded “Day One 22.”
Live Nation, which did not promote the event and only sold tickets online, repeatedly argued that Goldenvoice’s real target should have been the Native American tribe that hosted Day One. But a federal judge ruled in March the case could move forward, setting the stage for a potential trial between the two concert giants.
But in a court filing on Wednesday, attorneys for both companies said that they had signed a “binding term sheet agreement to settle this matter” and would move to voluntarily dismiss the case by the end of the week. Court records did not include any terms of the agreement, including whether any money exchanged hands, and neither side immediately return a request for comment.
Goldenvoice, a unit of AEG, has hosted the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California, since 1999. The yearly event is one of the biggest festivals in America, drawing a lineup of A-list artists and roughly 750,000 guests over two weekends each April.
Just down the road is an unaffiliated venue called Coachella Crossroads, operated by a Native American tribe called the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians. Though the two sides reached an informal agreement in 2018 that the tribe would not host music events, last year Twenty-Nine Palms announced “Coachella Day One 22,” a New Year’s Eve concert featuring performances by Lil Wayne, E-40 and Getter.
Goldenvoice sued in December to block the event, arguing that its trademark rights to the “Coachella” name had been infringed. But rather than targeting Twenty-Nine Palms itself, it sued Live Nation – claiming the rival was liable for so-called contributory trademark infringement for its role in advertising and selling tickets to the event on TicketMaster. Goldenvoice avoided Twenty-Nine Palms because tribes are typically shielded from such lawsuits by sovereign immunity.
After the event was held under the new name, Live Nation moved to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that the case was “at its core” a dispute between Goldenvoice and Twenty-Nine Palms over “the name of its ancestral land.” Filing the case instead against a ticket vendor, Live Nation said, was a “transparent attempt to end-run the protections afforded to the Tribe by longstanding federal law.”
But in March, U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner rejected that argument. He said the tribe’s interests would be adequately protected even if it doesn’t participate in the case – and he called some of Live Nation’s arguments to the contrary “exaggerated and simply untrue.”
Before last week’s settlement, a trial had been set for November to decide if Live Nation was liable.