A judge ruled that Soul’d Out Productions’ lawsuit against Coachella’s parent company, AEG-owned Goldenvoice, can proceed. The lawsuit deals with Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival’s radius clause, which limits when artists can perform before and after the festival.
The case roots back to 2018, when Oregon-based Soul’d Out Productions accused the festival of alleged antitrust violations. According to court documents from Amplify obtained in June 2018, any act signed on to perform at Coachella cannot perform at any North American music festival between Dec. 15 and May 1. In that same time frame, artists cannot play certain concerts in Southern California. There are also limitations on tour stops, festival appearance announcements and performance announcements in many western states within a certain radius of the festival.
Coachella usually takes place two weekends in April. It takes place in Indio, California, which is more than 1,000 miles south of Portland, Oregon, the location of Soul’d Out Festival. Organizers for the event failed to book SZA and Daniel Caesar, among other artists, allegedly due to the clause. Chance the Rapper also had to cancel a separate appearance.
At the time, Goldenvoice released a statement defending their practices, stating, “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. With over 100,000 fans attending each of its two weekends, Coachella is a premier festival destination attracting visitors from across the region and around the world. 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.”
The original lawsuit was dismissed in April 2019, and Goldenvoice was still permitted to continue its radius clause. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that decision in May. The court released their decision, saying, “Soul’d Out is seeking to vindicate its own rights – namely its alleged right to enter into contracts with artists free from AEG’s wrongful interference. No plaintiff is better suited to assert the tort claims alleged here, and there is therefore no prudential reason to deny Soul’d Out standing.”
A lawyer representing Soul’d Out, said in a statement, “We expect that, after complete discovery, a jury will find that Coachella’s radius clause is unreasonable, and that AEG’s use and abuse of that clause to hurt local music festivals was unlawful.”