Just days after SXSW was cancelled over fears of the Coronavirus spread in the United States, the United States biggest and most important weekend music festival Coachella is facing a similar fate.
According to Billboard, promoter Goldenvoice is in talks to move the festival (as well as its country-themed sister festival Stagecoach) to the weekends of October 9th and 16th date in hopes of avoiding outright cancellation. Stagecoach would be moved to the weekend of October 23rd. The organizers of the festival should have an answer about the fate of the festivals within 48 hours.
There are fears that like SXSW, which was cancelled by Austin city officials, Coachella will face a similar fate by being cancelled by Riverside County officials, who could pull the festival’s permits. Yesterday it was reported that there had been new cases of Coronavirus in the massive Southern California county, but specifically that three of them had been reported in Coachella Valley.
As Billboard points out, moving a festival of this magnitude is a massive undertaking, with hundreds of moving parts such as the performers, employees of the festivals, vendors and contract workers. Much of the festival’s ability to move to October will hinge on the ability to get the biggest acts, like headliners Frank Ocean and the reunited Rage Against The Machine.
The festival likely set October as postponement date due to the harsh summer weather of the Coachella Valley, where temperatures routinely – while past attendees of past Coachella Festivals will attest to the high temperatures in April, it gets significantly hottter in the summer months. The average high in Coachella in March is around 87 degrees Farenheit, while May reaches an average high of 95, June through August averaging a high of well over 100 degrees and September being just over 100 degrees on average. October’s average high of 91 degrees is closer to that of April – along with hopes that the Coronavirus epidemic will have passed, that makes it a logical point in time to move the festival.
Festivals such as Desert Daze have held their festivals just north of Coachella in the similarly-scorching Joshua Tree area during the month of October. It should be noted that festival has since moved to Lake Perris near the city of Riverside.