The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and country music festival Stagecoach will not take place this year due to county and state restrictions, Billboard can confirm.
The popular outdoor events, which were earlier postponed until October because of the coronavirus pandemic, “have been canceled for 2020,” reads a statement from Riverside County.
“I am concerned as indications grow that COVID-19 could worsen in the fall,” said Riverside Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser in the release issued Wednesday (June 10). Given the “projected circumstances and potential,” he continued, “I would not be comfortable moving forward. “These decisions are not taken lightly with the knowledge that many people will be impacted. My first priority is the health of the community.”
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Kaiser cited California Gov. Gavin Newsom‘s four-step outline for re-opening the state as the reasoning behind the decision, noting music festivals are not permitted to reopen until an effective treatment for the virus is widely available.
“These decisions are not taken lightly with the knowledge that many people will be impacted,” Kaiser says in the statement. “My first priority is the health of the community.”
Coachella was previously scheduled to take place April 10-12 and April 17-19 with headliners Travis Scott, Frank Ocean and Rage Against the Machine. Due to the pandemic, it was then pushed back to the weekends of Oct. 9-11 and Oct. 16-18 and Stagecoach was moved to Oct. 23-25.
“After consulting with our public health officer and local leaders from the City of Indio and Goldenvoice, and with continued importance on public health,” noted Chair V. Manuel Perez, Fourth District Supervisor, “it was decided that postponing the concert series was appropriate and necessary.”
Next year dates for the festivals have yet to be announced, but sources tell Billboard officials at promoter Goldenvoice are determining whether to slate the two-weekend, 125,000-capacity Coachella at likely a limited-capacity return in April 2021 or stage a higher-capacity comeback in October 2021. The company is holding off on making a decision until they get more clarity on the pandemic’s long-term trajectory.
This will be the first year since 2000 that Coachella has not occurred. The festival previously took a gap year break after its 1999 debut and its 2001 return.
On Monday, Goldenvoice parent AEG announced it would be laying off 15% of its workforce, furloughing over 100 employees across several divisions and instituting 20-50% pay cuts due to the ongoing COVID-19 downturn that has devastated the live events industry. “It is clear now that live events with fans will not resume for many months and likely not until sometime in 2021,” AEG chief executive Dan Beckerman wrote in a note to employees in advance of the layoffs.