Goldenvoice’s Coachella Music Festival has grown to become one of the music industry’s most successful, anticipated and branded live music events in the world. As such, it may not be surprising that the company is fiercely protective of its good name. Yesterday (Jan. 28), Coachella’s organizers filed a suit in U.S. district court against underground Los Angeles-based event Hoodchella, alleging trademark and service mark infringement, false designation of origin, dilution, unfair competition and, most vividly, “cybersquatting,” a term used in this case over the fest’s registration of the hoodchella.com domain name.
Hoodchella, run by Kamil Al-Ahdali — the primary target of the suit — started last year as a one-day festival on April 11, in the middle of Coachella’s first weekend, featuring a slew of DJs and other artists, including some members of the former Odd Future collective, and select food vendors. Recently, its web site announced that Hoodchella would expand to three days this year, running April 8-10, a week prior to Coachella’s first weekend. That growth, it seems, is what caught Coachella’s attention. Coachells is seeking both injunctive relief to put an immediate stop to the festival, as well as damages.
Essentially, all Coachella wants is for Hoodchella to change its name, obviously inspired by the Indio money maker, explicitly writing in court papers that it has no problem with another festival occurring per se, but that Al-Ahdali (and the rest of Hoodchella’s unnamed organizers) ignored repeated requests by the Coachella team to change the name of their event.
The lawsuit is fairly straightforward, with Coachella seeking at least $100,000 — in addition to the injunction, attorneys’ fees, the surrender of Hoodchella’s domain name and other damages.
The filing also brings to light some mildly intriguing info: Goldenvoice — a subsidiary of AEG Live — “invested over $680,000 last year alone in media and related content to promote Coachella,” and online media impressions from ads “exceeded 60 million impressions” in the month surrounding the festival’s two weekends.
For Hoodchella’s part, its official Twitter page is promoting a change.org petition created by Chasity Londyn which reads in part, “we are not in anyway [sic] associated with coachella [sic] and we have never been associated with golden voice, AEG, or Coachella. It’s clear that our fan base knows we are two completely different establishments being that we already gained a fan base from our past underground art and music shows.” The petition has amassed 100 signatures towards its goal of 200 since the petition began circulating yesterday.
Hoodchella and Goldenvoice did not immediately respond to a request for comment.