Nearly 24 hours after the Riverside County public health officer announced that Coachella and Stagecoach Festivals will not be taking place in October, promoter Goldenvoice confirmed that the two festivals have been rescheduled for April of 2021, as always, at the Empire Polo Grounds in Indio, Calif.
However, the announcement notes the uncertainly surrounding the return to mass gatherings amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, saying that “as of now,” the two-weekend Coachella festival will take place April 9-11 and April 16-18, while the country-themed Stagecoach is set for April 23-25. The two festivals, originally scheduled for April of this year, were moved to October in March, after the pandemic took hold in North America.
No information on lineups was included in Thursday’s announcement. Coachella 2020’s full lineup was announced early in January, with headliners Travis Scott, Frank Ocean and Rage Against the Machine; that lineup carried over to October but its status is unclear at the time of this article’s publication. Reps for Goldenvoice did not immediately respond to Variety‘s request for further comment.
“Under the continuing health guidance of the County of Riverside, Coachella and Stagecoach 2020 will not take place this October as previously rescheduled,” the statement reads. “This is not the future that any of us hoped to confront, but our main focus remains the well-being of our fans, staff, artists, desert partners and everyone involved in the festival.
“A year without Coachella and Stagecoach is hard for us to comprehend, but we have every intention of returning in 2021,” it continues. “As of now, Coachella weekend one will take place April 9 – 11, 2021 and weekend two will be April 16 – 18, 2021. Stagecoach is set for April 23 – 25, 2021. We look forward to sharing our new lineups and more information. We can’t wait to be together in the desert again when it is safe. All 2020 passes will be honored in 2021. Current pass holders will be sent an email by the end of the day on Monday, June 15 with further instructions to request a refund or to roll over to next year.”
Sources tell Variety that Goldenvoice realized that this October would be unfeasible for the festivals many weeks ago, and the delay in the announcement was due to consideration over whether it would return in April 2021 with a diminished audience, or October of next year with a full audience. Thursday’s announcement signals that those options are still under consideration. California Governor Gavin Newsom said two months ago that large mass gatherings are not likely to resume until sometime next year at the soonest.
Coachella, the biggest music festival in the U.S., regularly sells out its 125,000 per day tickets immediately and nets between $75 million and $100 million each year. Sources say that 40% of this year’s ticketholders have requested refunds, and Goldenvoice is said to be still considering whether to hold the festival in April at 60% capacity.
And while the U.S. and much of the world is slowly “reopening,” what exactly that will mean for the future of the concert industry remains to be seen. Governors and mayors regularly say that concerts and major sporting events are among the last public gatherings that will return to pre-Covid status, and the immediate future is so vague that Recording Academy chief Harvey Mason jr. told Variety on Tuesday that the organizers of the Grammy Awards, scheduled for Jan. 31, 2021 at the 20,000-capacity Staples Center in Los Angeles, are actively planning for three show scenarios: one with a full audience, one with a reduced audience, and one with no audience.