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Coachella Restricts Artists From Playing Most North American Festivals for Half the Year (Report)

Coachella’s radius clause — which prevents participating artists from performing within a certain geographic radius for a certain amount of time — is more severe than originally reported, according to documents from the festival’s ongoing battle with an Oregon promoter disclosed by Amplify.

While a five-state ban had been previously reported (apparently inaccurately), documents now reveal that artists playing the Coachella festival, which takes place in April, are not allowed to perform at any festival in North America from Dec. 15 to May 1 — with several exceptions. The site says the original complaint in the case incorrectly stated that the clause only extended to five Western states — California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, and Arizona.

A rep for AEG, which owns Coachella founder Goldenvoice, did not immediately respond to Variety’s request for comment.

An amended civil complaint filed by promoters of Oregon’s Soul’D Out Festival included a May 15 email between lawyers detailing newly disclosed provisions of Coachella’s radius clause, which includes a rigid set of rules for the festival, which launched in 1999 and takes place annually over two weekends in April.

In addition to the Dec. 15-May 1 ban, they bar artists from performing at any “hard-ticket” concerts in Southern California during that same time period; announcing appearances for the other 45 states in North America until after the Coachella lineup is announced in January, with exceptions made for Austin’s South by Southwest, Ultra Miami, and the AEG-backed New Orleans Jazzfest; and publicizing tour stops in California, Arizona, Washington, and Oregon before the Coachella lineup is announced in January, with an exception made for Las Vegas casinos.

Lawyers for Coachella said in a court filing “the entire purpose of the radius clause is to protect AEG from competitors unfairly free-riding on its creative choices in selecting its artist lineup,” adding, “As more festivals proliferate, maintaining a unique festival lineup is crucial for Coachella to remain competitive.” They also said they opposed the release of the radius clause letter, claiming it was given to Soul’d Out’s lawyers as part of a negotiation for a possible settlement. On Friday, attorneys for AEG’s Goldenvoice submitted a 48-motion to dismiss.

In response to the initial lawsuit, which was filed in April just days before Coachella’s first weekend, an AEG rep said:

In response, an AEG rep said: “Radius clauses are common in the concert business where promoters take great risk and spend huge sums to produce marquee festivals, tours and other shows. The producers of Coachella will vigorously defend against this lawsuit, which calls into question a long-standing industry practice that is crucial to our ability to continue offering fans the unrivaled experience for which Coachella has become known.”

The suit was filed because Soul’d Out attempted to book three acts also performing at Coachella — Tank and the Bangas, SZA, and Daniel Caesar — but were prevented by the radius clause.

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