Ruling on a dispute between Live Nation and AEG/Goldenvoice over a New Year’s Eve festival on tribal land in the city of Coachella, a judge has declared that Live Nation can continue selling tickets for the Dec. 31 show, knocking down a request from Goldenvoice for a restraining order halting sales.
The event had originally been marketed as “Coachella Day One 22,” but tickets are now being sold on Live Nation’s and Ticketmaster’s sites with the shortened name of “DayOne22.” It’s set to take place at an outdoor venue called Coachella Crossroads, owned by the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians in Coachella, which was not named as a plaintiff in any of Goldenvoice’s filings against Live Nation.
The one-day concert, which has general admission tickets starting at $99, features a mixture of hip-hop and EDM acts and currently advertises Lil Wayne, E-40, Getter and DJ Diesel on the bill.
Judge R. Gary Klausner made the ruling denying the restraining order and allowing tickets sales to continue on Monday. Earlier, a restraining order had been granted in response to Goldenvoice’s original Dec. 12 complaint about the billing of the festival, which led to the official shortening of the event name. But the plaintiffs had subsequently asked to have the order modified to keep Live Nation from selling tickets at all until the tribe “no longer infringes on the Coachella marks in promoting the event.”
The legalities are complicated by the tribe claiming sovereign immunity status and thus not being named as defendants in the suit. The judge ruled that Live Nation/Ticketmaster is not responsible for the tribe’s actions in promoting the show, regardless of whether it continues to use the term “Coachella.”
In his ruling, Klausner noted that the plaintiffs had “ask(ed) the court to prevent Live Nation from selling tickets to Twenty-Nine Palms’ December 31 event, irrespective of the way that Live Nation promotes the event on Ticketmaster.com.” But, he noted, it is “no surprise” that the tribe had not stopped any “allegedly infringing behavior” since it was not itself part of the lawsuit or restraining order.
Klausner’s ruling “is a win for the Tribe, the community and our ticketing partners at Live Nation,” said Darrell Mike, chairman of the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians, in a statement. “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.”
Although Coachella, where the NYE concert site sits, is a legally incorporated city, Goldenvoice has aggressively and often successfully asserted its rights to a “Coachella” trademark as it relates to merchandising and live concerts. The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, usually referred to by most attendees and press as just “Coachella,” takes place each April in the city of Indio in the Coachella Valley.
In its original complaint, Goldenvoice had asked the court to award it damages for infringement as well as unfair competition, charging that the defendants are “intentionally trading on the goodwill of” the Coachella name by promoting “a directly competitive live music event,” as well as copying the look of the original festival’s imaging.
Goldenvoice’s suit said that what was then billed as Coachella Day One 22 was being touted as “part festival, part carnival, and part circus” and advertised such features as LED installations, interactive environments, aerial artists, live painters and more — all echoing the original Coachella festival’s mixture of live music and art. Goldenvoice claimed all of this created “a likelihood of consumer confusion and false association” between the unrelated events.
The Hamden Journal has reached out to Live Nation and Goldenvoice for comment on the judge’s latest ruling.