The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is moving from October 2021 to April of 2022, two industry sources with knowledge of the situation tell Variety. It is expected that the country-music themed Stagecoach festival, which takes place the weekend after Coachella’s two weekends, will move as well.
Reps for Goldenvoice, the event’s promoter, and AEG Presents, its parent company, either declined or did not respond to Variety’s requests for comment.
The move, if it is officially confirmed, marks the fourth time the dates for Coachella, which takes place over two weekends at the Empire Polo Ground in Indio, Calif., have been rescheduled: first from April to October 2020, then to April 2021, and then October, although the October dates were not officially confirmed by promoters and there have been no dates posted on the festival’s official website for several months.
The sources said the reason for the latest postponement is ongoing uncertainty over the COVID-19 pandemic, even though many promoters and live-entertainment companies are planning for at least a partial resumption of touring in the late summer and fall. However, Coachella regularly sells out its 125,000 per day tickets immediately, and the sheer logistics of more than 100,000 people traveling to and gathering at a single location create immeasurable possibilities for disease transmission.
While the October dates are still seven months away, preparations for the festival would begin in earnest soon, and without acts on normal tours — the Weeknd’s “After Hours” tour is the first major one on the books, and it’s scheduled to begin next January — the challenges of putting together an event on the scale of Coachella is much more daunting.
However, a Coachella rescheduling does not mean that other festivals scheduled for the fall will not take place: Many states have significantly less-stringent COVID protocols than California, and venues in Texas and Florida have robust concert schedules for the spring. Multiple festivals across the country are moving full-speed ahead with plans for the fall, industry sources tell Variety.
“There’s a big difference between having two weekend of Coachella in California and throwing a country festival in Florida,” one source tells Variety.
In its earnings call last month, Live Nation, the world’s largest live-entertainment company, said it is expecting outdoor and smaller concerts in the U.S. to return in the late summer. In the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement that “nightclubs and large events” can reopen by June 21 prompted Live Nation to announce rescheduled dates for three major festivals, selling some 170,000 tickets in four days. However, Glastonbury, the U.K’s largest festival, officially cancelled its 2021 edition earlier this year.
The pandemic’s effect on the live-entertainment business has been devastating. The global live events industry lost more than $30 billion in 2020 due to the global pandemic, including $9.7 billion at the box office, according to the year-end report by live-entertainment industry trade publication Pollstar.