An Oregon music festival is suing Coachella, along with producers AEG Presents and Goldenvoice, claiming that the California festival’s radius clause, which place a limit on where artists can play before and after its event, constitutes an illegal monopoly, according to reports in Law360 and other sites. The two-weekend Coachella festival starts on Friday.
Soul’d Out Productions filed the antitrust lawsuit on Monday; radius clauses are common in the concert industry. The Soul’d Out festival — which is held across five venues in Portland, Oregon, more than 1,000 miles north of Coachella — attempted to book SZA, Daniel Caesar and Tank and the Bangas for the conference but the acts declined, citing the radius clause; Soul’d Out said its requests for an exception were denied.
“By means of this clause, Defendants prohibit artists who seek to perform at Coachella from performing at any other festival or themed event within a distance that extends over 1,300 miles, and for a period of nearly five months surrounding Coachella,” the complaint reads. “Such a clause has a substantial chilling effect on the market for music venues within the territory covered by the Radius Clause.”
Soul’d Out claims the territorial restrictions has “an anticompetitive effect on the consumer, music venues and festivals on the West Coast” because Coachella sells out almost immediately every year.
“Because Defendants have substantial market power, they are able to coerce artists into agreeing to these unlawful restrictions on trade,” the complaint continues. “As a result, those artists have lost the benefits of performing at competitive venues or festivals that exist on the West Coast.”
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.”