Every spring, hundreds of thousands of people flock to the Coachella valley to bask in the sun, enjoy the music and take in the atmosphere of the famous music festival the region has become synonymous with. This year, it looks like the valley may be empty due to the coronavirus scare that has already taken so many music related events.
The pending decision to postpone the concert came on the heels of new cases of the coronavirus being reported in the Coachella valley. Yesterday, three new cases, including one that was locally acquired, brought the area’s total illnesses to six. A state of emergency was declared by Riverside County Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser on Sunday.
There has been talk of canceling the concert if the disease continued to spread. Last Tuesday a petition emerged urging local authorities to cancel. By Monday, the petition had garnered 12,000 signatures.
According to officials, the postponement of the concert is not official; we should have word within 48 hours. However, organizers are working on putting it off to an October date. The festival was originally scheduled to take place April 10-12 (the first weekend was already sold out) and April 17-19. Now officials with promoter Goldenvoice are considering moving it to the weekends of October 9 and 16.
Goldenvoice is also behind Stagecoach, another festival that takes place in the Coachella Valley. Stagecoach was scheduled to take place April 24-26 but promoters are hoping to move it to October 23.
The moving of the festivals will be a huge undertaking. There are hundreds of vendors, employees and musical acts involved. The biggest deciding factor will weigh on whether the talent will be available for the October dates.
Headliners for Coachella are Travis Scott, Rage Against the Machine and Frank Ocean. Stagecoach headliners include Carrie Underwood, Thomas Rhett and Eric Church. If they are not available for the fall dates, the promoters will have to decide whether they want to move forward with the festivals or cancel them altogether.
The cancellation (or postponement) of Coachella and Stagecoach follow what seems to be countless other concerts, events and festivals that have also been called off. Most recently, the music industry was blown away by the news that South by Southwest would not be taking place this year. Several artists have cancelled tour dates. Sporting events are also being canceled as officials are wondering whether the summer Olympics will still be happening.
Coachella brings hundreds of millions of dollars into local economies and losing it will definitely be a blow to the community. Many had been hoping the festival would continue and a counter-petition was launched in response to petitioners and authorities moving for it to be canceled. The counter-petition’s description read, “Let’s not cancel Coachella, if you want it canceled, just sell your ticket.”
The fate of Coachella lays in the hands of its organizers, the community and the music talent that’s involved. We can only wait to see what the next 48 hours will reveal.
Photo credit: NBCPalmSprings.com