COACHELLA (CelebrityAccess) – What a tangled web we weave when at first, we try to trademark a valley name in the state of California. Earlier this month, concert promoter Goldenvoice (owned by AEG) which owns the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (aka “Coachella”), filed numerous restraining orders and a copyright infringement lawsuit against Live Nation (LN) and website hosting company, Bluehost over a planned New Year’s Eve (NYE) event being hosted by the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians. The NYE event in question is dubbed “Day One 22” (fka Coachella Day One 22) and expected to take place at the tribe’s Coachella Crossroads venue at Spotlight 29 Casino in Coachella.
In the filing, Goldenvoice alleged LN and Twenty-Nine Palms were “intentionally trading on the goodwill” of the annual Coachella festival, which could cause “consumer confusion and false association” with the festival slated to happen in April 2022. Goldenvoice scored the most points in Round one when Judge R. Gary Klausner awarded them with an order against the event, resulting in Coachella being removed from the festival name. However, it did not stop LN or the tribe from hosting the festival as originally planned.
Live Nation took the points lead in Round 2 when Goldenvoice’s second request to cease all ticket sales until the tribe “no longer infringes on the Coachella marks in promoting the event” was denied Monday by Judge Klausner. Rolling Stone reports Judge Klausner rejected the second request due to the naming of the event coming from the tribe, who are not named in the suit. The Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians have claimed sovereign immunity status and cannot be named as defendants in the filing. Variety reports that due to this, the Judge ruled that Live Nation/Ticketmaster is not responsible for the tribe’s actions in promoting the show. Judge Klausner made note however, that it is “not a surprise” that the tribe hasn’t stopped any “infringing behavior” since it was not itself a part of any litigation.
Twenty-Nine Palms Chairman, Darrell Mike had this to say to Rolling Stone. “As a community and nation who reside in Coachella, California, we are equally thrilled that our outdoor venue, Coachella Crossroads, will be able to continue operation under its given name. The strong-arming of Goldenvoice and its parent company AEG to take reign over a name of a region and businesses who choose to identify with it is disrespectful to small and large business operations, those under their employ and the indigenous people who live within the valley.” He also stated that, “This suit is a direct attack on us and the region. The event is developed as a thank you at no cost to the community and an attempt to bring people together safely to celebrate what we hope will be a prosperous 2022. AEG and Goldenvoice have taken “ownership” of a name via trademark rights to an area they fully believe they “founded”, even though their festival does not take place in Coachella, but rather, in Indio, California.”
Mike also insinuated that the event voluntarily removing “Coachella” from its name, in large part was due to vendors “being threatened” with “being ousted” from operating at any future Goldenvoice/AEG events in the area, which Mike continued could put “local families at risk and could cripple the community economically.”
The tribe has applied for trademark application of Coachella Crossroads twice, with the first time being denied over confusion with the Coachella festival and being opposed by Goldenvoice. They were approved after submitting a second time without opposition, as Goldenvoice was assured that the venue would only be used for local community events. In the latest action, Goldenvoice alleges that isn’t the case as Coachella Crossroads recently hosted an event by Toby Keith in May. Not to mention, Lil’ Wayne, DJ Diesel (Shaq), E-40 and Getter are scheduled to appear at Day One 22.
All the legal headaches may all be for naught in the wake of the current COVID-19 Omicron variant surge and numerous NYE cancellations. Perhaps we should refer to the legalities with a name – “As the Coachella Turns” or “These are the Days of our Coachella Valley.” At press time, the event is still scheduled to begin this Friday at 8pm PST. My prediction? Goldenvoice – 0 … Live Nation – 0 and Omicron taking the win with a TKO.