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Coachella Files A Cease And Desist Against Floatchella, A Small New England Music Fest

Floatchella 2020 (Photo: Mystic Knotworks)
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MYSTIC, CT (CelebrityAccess) — A small town music festival in rural Connecticut has been forced to change its name after coming too close to the branding of festival behemoth Coachella.

Few people would ever mistake the festival formerly known as Floatchella in Mystic, Connecticut, for the real thing. The festival, which debuted in 2020,  features local bands and DJs performing on a dock with the audience enjoying the show from paddle craft, such as small boats or paddleboards, floating in Mystic’s protected inner harbor.

Organized by the Mystic Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Mystic Merchants Association, the inaugural edition of the event in 2020 drew about 300 paddle craft with more music fans watching from the nearby shore.

While the event is free, organizers sell a variety of merch with the Floatchella brand to help subsidize the event and other activities of the local business organizations.

However, that didn’t seem to matter to AEG Presents, the company behind the Coachella Festival, who sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Mystic Chamber of Commerce, demanding they stop using the Floatchella name and dispose of any merch bearing the logo.

“The Chamber was surprised that our non-profit in the southeast corner of Connecticut garnered the attention of AEG Worldwide for a Coachella naming situation. The event was never mistaken as having any association to Coachella for the 1,500 people who attended the last 2 years. We will lose some money form the merchandise we need to dispose of, but we will weather the storm and the event will live on as Floatfest, Music on the Mystic River,” Bruce Flax, President of the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce told CelebrityAccess.

While it may seem like an overreaction on the part of AEG over a festival that would never be mistaken for Coachella, companies must take steps to protect trademarks. By failing to assert their rights against an alleged infringement, a trademark owner may face a weakening of the trademark’s legal protections in future cases through a loss of distinctiveness of the brand.

A spokesperson for AEG Presents did not respond to a request for comment.

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