Business News Legal Live Business

Coachella promoter sues over rival Coachella festival in Coachella

By | Published on Wednesday 15 December 2021


AEG-owned Goldenvoice has again gone legal in a bid to defend the trademark of its Coachella festival, though this time the defendant in the litigation is AEG’s main rival, Live Nation.

In this particular legal spat, the alleged trademark infringement relates to a festival that actually has Coachella in its name. Though, it’s probably worth noting, it is a festival taking place in, well, Coachella.

Earlier this year, Goldenvoice sued the organisers of a series of events called Carchella, which are basically car exhibitions with some hip hop thrown in for good measure, fronted by US radio presenter DJ Envy.

Noting that Coachella had included a car exhibition on a few occasions in the past, Goldenvoice said that the Carchella events were causing “confusion, mistake and deception”, because people might assume an official connection between the car shows and the famous music festival.

Shortly after that lawsuit had been filed – and once Goldenvoice had got itself a temporary restraining order – DJ Envy agreed to rebrand his events as the Drive Your Dreams Car Show. So that was that sorted. And a Miami edition of the Drive Your Dreams Car Show happened last weekend.

The next festival subject to some Goldenvoice trademark litigation is called Coachella Day One 22. It’s basically a small festival taking place on New Years Eve featuring Lil Wayne, Diesel, E-40 and Getter, which runs into day one of 2022, hence the name.

Given this is a music-centric event which actually has Coachella in its name, you might thing that Goldenvoice has a much stronger case for arguing that this festival will cause consumer confusion, with many assuming it’s a New Years party organised by the Coachella festival. And they’d probably be right to argue that at least some consumer confusion is likely.

However, organisers of Coachella Day One 22 will presumably counter that this event is taking place in the Californian city of Coachella at a venue called Coachella Crossroads, which is basically an entertainment space that sits alongside the Spotlight 29 Casino, one of three casinos based on the edge of Coachella that actually sit on Indian reservations. With all that Coachella-ness, why shouldn’t they include Coachella in the event’s name?

The event is actually being organised by the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians, which owns and runs the casino. However, the leadership of the Native American tribe are shielded from legal action due to sovereign immunity. AEG is seemingly going after its rival Live Nation instead because it has an involvement in the New Years festival and is selling tickets to the show via its Ticketmaster platform.

According to Variety, Goldenvoice says that it has sent two cease and desist letters to Live Nation since October, but the promoter and its partners continue to publicise the Coachella Day One 22 festival. This means, the lawsuit alleges, that Live Nation is liable for contributory trademark infringement and unfair competition. To that end, the AEG subsidiary would like some lovely damages.

Live Nation is yet to respond.