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Coachella Fest Organizers Win Restraining Order Against Similarly-Named Event

An aerial image of the Coachella festival grounds in Indio. There are tents and art structures on the field and thousands of people.
Festival atmosphere at the 2019 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival - Weekend 2 on April 21, 2019 in Indio.
(Presley Ann
/
Getty Images North America)
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There can only be one Coachella in the Coachella Valley, but it doesn’t take place in Coachella.

Confused? Good.

A U.S. District judge has decided, temporarily, in favor of Coachella Valley Arts and Music Festival, LLC and Goldenvoice, LLC in a lawsuit against the organizers of a similarly-named event slated for New Year’s Eve.

The event in question, planned at the Coachella Crossroads venue, was originally titled “Coachella Day One 22.”

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The decision grants a temporary restraining order in favor of the plaintiffs against Live Nation Entertainment and Blue Host, the companies selling tickets for the concert and hosting the event’s website, respectively. Live Nation will now have to cease selling tickets on Ticketmaster and Blue Host will have to stop promoting the concert online.

Coachella Fest Not In Coachella?

For those without local context, this trademark infringement suit may seem pretty straightforward. The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, almost always just referred to as “Coachella,” has sui generis name recognition.

But even cursory digging — or a question asked of someone who has spent any amount of time living in the Coachella Valley (holds up a massive LED sign pointing at self) — will reveal that “Coachella” does not, in fact, take place in the city of Coachella. It takes place in the city of Indio.

The event formerly known as “Coachella Day One 22” does, in fact, take place in the city of Coachella. Additionally, it is produced by the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians. The federally-recognized tribe has a rich and lengthy history in the region.

The Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival is produced by Goldenvoice, which is owned by AEG, the largest music and sports entertainment company in the world, and the owner of the freshly re-named Crypto.com arena in downtown L.A.

What The Lawsuit Says

According to Goldenvoice, the naming of the competing event will likely lead to confusion among consumers.

“Intentionally trading on the goodwill of Plaintiffs’ well-known COACHELLA festival, the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians, operating as Coachella Crossroads, LLC…is attempting to operate a directly competitive live music event,” reads the lawsuit.

The suit goes on to provide side-by-side promotional materials for both events, pointing out allegedly intentional similarities meant to obfuscate the identity of Coachella Day One 22.

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“Twenty-Nine Palms has even copied Plaintiffs’ advertising, promotional and marketing materials, including incorporating similar color schemes along with design elements (e.g., a Ferris wheel, and silhouettes of palm trees and the mountains surrounding the Coachella Valley),” continues the lawsuit.

Goldenvoice and Coachella Crossroads have not yet responded to our requests for comment.

Posters for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and the Coachella Crossroads festival sit side by side. The left poster shows a ferris wheel peeking out from behind mountains and palm trees while the right poster shows a band of musicians performing in front of a ferris wheel.
Images from the lawsuit. Left, a poster for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Right, a poster for Coachella Crossroads.

CoachellaCrossroads.com was still live and advertising the event and ticketmaster was still selling tickets for the event, now titled “Day One 22,” at the time of this publication. The concert is set to be headlined by Lil Wayne and Diesel (AKA Shaquille O’Neal).

Phoenix Tsao contributed to this report.

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